China Central Plains Tour
The middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River are the origins of the Chinese nation. The culture in this area is a national treasure and the local customs vividly demonstrate the traditional Chinese culture.
The customs in Shanxi, Henan, Shandong, Tianjin and Beijing evolved from the same roots and thus share many similarities. But there are also differences between regions. Visitors to these areas can discover the long history of traditional Chinese culture while learning about the Chinese descendants who live in various regions and seek a happy life in different ways.
Old City of Pinyao
Pingyao, located 90 kilometers to the southwest of Taiyuan, is one of the oldest cities of cultural interest in China. Its history dates back to 4,000 years ago. The present city walls were built in the third year of the Reign of Hong Wu of the Ming Dynasty (1370).
The city wall of Pingyao is square shaped, 6.4 kilometers long, 12 meters high, and 5 meters thick. On the outer wall there is a observation tower every 50 meters. On each of the four corners of the wall, there is a corner tower. On the south-eastern corner is the Kuixing Pavilion. The layout of the whole city is well designed like the shape of the turtle. Therefore, Pingyao city is . In Chilture, turtle carries the also known as the city of the Turtle meaning of longevity. The used here to refer to the long history of prosperity of the city.
Dingcun Folklore Museum
Dingcun Folklore Museum is thirty-five kilometers from Linfen. The museum houses 26 residential houses built during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The oldest house dates back to the Reign of Emperor Wan Li of the Ming Dynasty (1593 AD). The houses are typical Ming style with small courtyards and tall houses around. The roofs of the houses are decorated with animal shaped tiles or tiles carved with flower patterns. Each house is a piece of architectural art. They represent the traditional Han nationality life style and residential building design.
Guandi Temple, or Temple of the God of War, stands in the west of Xiezhou County, Yuncheng City. This imperial palace style building was built honoring Guan Yu, a celebrated general during the period of the Three Kingdoms (220 – 280 AD). Throughout China, there are numerous temples worshipping Guan Yu, but this one is the largest of the same kind in the country.
This temple was built in 589 in the Sui Dynasty (581 -618 AD) and rebuilt in the Qing Dynasty on the model of an imperial palace. The temple consists of the Northern Garden and the Southern Garden. The Northern Garden is composed of the front yard and the rear yard with halls and mansions, forming a unique architectural complex.
The Southern Garden was modeled on the place where Guan Yu and his two brothers – Liu Bei and Zhang Fei – vowed to establish life time brotherhood friendship.
The Folk Custom Museum of Shijiazhuang Village
Situated 20 kilometers to the southeast of Anqiu county, Shijiazhuang Village attracts Chinese and foreign tourists by its typical local customs of mid-Shandong Province. Visitors are invited to explore the customs and the idyllic life by living in farm houses, having farmers’ food and doing some farmwork with the villagers.
The Folk Custom Museum, set up in 1988 with a floor space of 1900 square meters, is a typical farm compound with houses around a courtyard. The museum consists of a series of rooms displaying folk arts and handicrafts, folk recreations, farm implements and household appliances, spinning and weaving wheels, village schools and local marriage customs.
Siheyuan is a compound with houses around a courtyard, a traditional residence of Beijing people, was first built up in the twelfth century when the Yuan Dynasty capital was buily up here . At present siheyuan is best preserved in lanes near Luoguxiang, west to the South jiaodaokou Street, Dongcheng District.
More and more tourists visit siheyuan in order to learn about jife of ordinary people in Beijing by talking to them. If they like, tourists can also learn making jiaozi and other kinds of wheaten food in Siheyuan.