The Phoenix is famous for its ancient and romantic beauty of ancient wooden buildings over thousands of years along the banks of Tuo Jiang River. And moreover, the old town in western Hunan Province is now surrounded by mountains and countless mystical stories about the Miao people.
Ignoring the wonderful scene that appeared in the Avatar movie at Zhangjiajie, I boarded the train and drove straight to the Phoenix for curiosity. Not because of the forts along the river (if you travel to many places in China, especially in Jiangnan, you will see the towns are almost the same), I came there to see if this is indeed the mecca of ancient medicine. In martial arts and antiquities, the Hunan strip spreading over Yunnan is known for its many tribes and sects who were very good at using poison. Indeed when stepping down sincerely watching the glittering river of green color, I remembered the beautiful figures of female character in the Chinese novels and films.
Tuo Jiang River is the lifeblood of the ancient town, which is also home to many ancient vestiges. Phoenix was originally an ancient citadel located on one side of the river. Later, when the city expanded, the opposite became a street of crowded shops, bars. "Backstage" made stone bridges, reliefs, statues ... on the other side become beautiful shooting locations. The river becomes a prominent tourist highlight for the town.
Smoke in the ancient town
The Phoenix is a living museum of culture, architecture with a life of more than one thousand three hundred years. The fossil deposits, the long court, the hospital, the temple ... along the wall are preserved quite well from the Ming Dynasty. Being the most important citadel in the southern border region, the Phoenix experienced much historical turmoil, ethnic conflicts and became a culturally mixed citadel of the Han and Miao.
One of the features of this town is the "phoenix" style of architecture, reflected in the way buildings, houses and large bridges were built. Hongqiao Bridge in the center of town is a symbol of this style. Hong Qiao is a bridge built in 1615 as a two storeyed building across the Da River. The bridge remains intact from the Ming dynasty with engraved patterns. Roofed roof tiles are yin-yang thick, curved roof tip as proud as the phoenix. This type of architecture today prevails in the town. Newly built homes, even apartments, favor this type of roof.
However, if you want to look closely at the phoenix can visit the residence of some artists and writers here. Along with Hongqiao, these are the two ticket attractions in the town. Other attractions included from the lineage of the great clans have now become museums or galleries.
The beautiful town of Phoenix was described like a watercolor painting, which is slowly, quietly and fragile. The ancient house of a writer in Phoenix town is separated by a skylight. This capital was the governor Guizhou Qing Dynasty, the writer's ancestor. The two-storey long court, the phoenix roof, windows carved flowers lovely and ancient. Over the years, the evergreens were clinging to the doorways, tiled roofs, quietly dropping down.
When I arrived, it was early morning, the leaves were yellow, the orchids were beautifully dreamy. The fog is very fog-matched with the ancient look of the Phoenix. Step into the the house to see the large ink paintings, the calligraphy paintings displayed in the house, I felt like I was crossing a different time. But the splendid performance at the next destination pulled me to the present.
This famous gallery is located in the Van Tho Power Station. Located at the foot of the Hong Qiao, Van Tho palace is quite elaborately and as a cultural space for people. Stepping through the door is a high-rise theater. Opposite is a big auditorium . I was fascinated by the vain battle and lusheng with wooden drums. It is the folk dance of this region, combining the culture of the Han and the Miao people. Also, I decided to go to the Miao village with the desire to hear the lusheng again.
Road to Shanjiang Miao Village
In the center of the town, you can meet a lot of Miao women who sell souvenirs or rent clothes for tourists to take pictures. This image is reminiscent of Sapa because Miao people here and the Hmong are of the same root. Other, the ancient Chinese distinguish the Hmong race in two groups: the group identified with the Chinese and the wild group living alone in the forest. At first I did not understand this concept, just thinking that it’s a way to distinguish the tribes. However, after experiencing the hiking trip, climbing down the rapids to a boat ride on a large lake to get to the Miao village, I have learned a little more.
It took 30-40 minutes to go from the town to the village and I came to an old village. Here begins the boat ride through the green Chiyou Lake, gliding across the hills and mountains rolling to the Tiaoyue. In the past, this was where the Miao people living. Inside the cave is a wellspring with a large waterfall, the scene is very dreamy. It is where the girls and boys in the Miao village dating on the moonlit nights in the spring and autumn. The dance that invited Miao's partner is also called Tiaoyue (meaning dancing the moon), which is similar to the Hmong dances at the Khau Vai love market. Today the dance is no longer performed in Tiaoyue Cave anymore because the villagers have moved deep into the mountain.
And I continued to follow the cliffs about 60 cm wide, clinging to the cliff to a tunnel. From the bottom of the tunnel, there is only light at the top. When I was climbing up, I heard the sound of encouragement and new vocals. To the top, I was surprised that it was the singing of the Miao baby, the young voice that echoed and so delicately made people enjoy the long journey. Later on, I realized that it was almost a factor of the Miao. They crossed the falls, climbed the cave and sang very happy.
On the top of the mountain is Miao market, while their house is deep inside the lake. I continued on the boat for about 20 minutes to arrive. From the bottom of the lake looking up, the stilted houses lurking between the cliffs and woods. Although there are some brick houses, the wild look is still bold. At this point, the instructor told us not to take pictures. As soon as he pointed out just a few species of herbs for curing bite snakes, scorpions sting ... also do not hesitate to tell real stories about the poisonous insects raising or the use of incantation in the Miao village.
Anyone of us also felt nervous until the Miao girls appeared. Their costumes are very eye-catching. They wear a very large silver ring, wrap around a long skirt embroidered with colorful flowers, striped belt in many colors in the wind blowing very eye-catching. They also wear many small silver rings and in every step, the rings’ sound make other people feel very ear-catching. In the town we also can see the same image, but in the middle of the mountain, the ethnic girls look more splendid and sparkling. It is perhaps the original beauty, just as wild and proud as the phoenix is preparing to fly to the sky.
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