· Recently listed on UNESCO's World Cultural and Natural Heritage List, Huangshan Mountain is a testament to the beauty that only nature can create. It has served as the inspiration for artists, poets, dreamers, and romantics for thousands of years. See the intriguing pine formations and the seas and mists of clouds, while enjoying the sunrise and sunset from the mountain top of Huangshan.
· Hongcun Village is located in Yixian County, located near the southwestern slope of Huangshan Mountain. It is listed as one of China's top 10 charming villages, and together with Xidi Village it was added to UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage List in 2000. Morning mists, gray tiles, white walls, stone bridges, water lily ponds, and hills in the background, are all elements of traditional Chinese landscape paintings. Hongcun and Xidi Village have all of these features, and have both been named "a village in Chinese painting."
· Learn about the beautiful and rich history of Chinese porcelain production in Jingdezhen, a center of China's porcelain industry for over 2000 years.
We'll first pick you up from the airport or train station. Then we'll drive to Jingdezhen (about 200km away and a 3 hr car ride). Jingdezhen is the world renowned Porcelain Capital, listed with Foshan in Guangdong Province, Hankou in Hubei Province and Zhuxianzhen in Henan Province as the four porcelain towns in Chinese history. Jingdezhen was called Xinping and Changnan in the old times. It is now famous due to the porcelain made there. Historical records show that the making of porcelain in Jingdezhen dates back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC- 220 AD), which gives it a porcelain-making history of over 2000 years.
Ancient China porcelain makers seem to have had a unanimous preference for the color green from their palette. The porcelain made during different dynasties mainly varied in the intensity or tone or ambience of this color. Multicolored items have not been found yet. Porcelain kilns were set up during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1279). They imitated the color, tone and the humid-feeling quality of the original whitish-green porcelain and produced whitish-green porcelain of elegant quality and voluptuous veneer, achieving the climax of green porcelain craftsmanship.
Once we arrive, we will check into your hotel, where you will have the rest of the evening to relax and recover form your travels.
Following breakfast, we'll get started on your touring in Jingdezhen. Our first stop will be the Ceramic History Museum. The museum has a rich collection of over 5,000 articles. The items on display include ceramics from past dynasties, historical information about ceramics, precious collections of paintings and calligraphies, among which many are of excellent quality.
The beautiful antique architecture of the museum attracts tourists too. The antique architecture is in two parts: Ming Garden and Qing Garden. The 'Wangbo Residence' in Ming Garden is a house in the typical Hui style. The two gardens are composed of ancient kiln-workshops, ancient kilns, and ancient structures that were initially scattered throughout Jingdezhen City but have now been collected here by the government. You may watch the manufacturing process and appreciate the elaborate techniques. Also, you may try to experience the process.
Our next stop will be the city's Old Street. This street is composed of three parts, each of which fully reflects its prosperous past and its prominent position as a transportation center: Ming Street, Qing Street, and the Old Pier. From a distance, the buildings on the street look like tortoises' creeping toward the pier from the village. The old buildings flanking the sides of the street are, like the rest of the street, very well preserved and have survived through more than 600 years of political and other historical changes. These Ming Dynasty buildings are now listed in the major protected heritage areas of Jindezhen because of their architectural and historical value. They used to be a very prosperous commercial area during the Qing Dynasty.
Finally, not to be missed on Jingdezhen Old Street are several well-maintained residences, most of which were built during the Ming and Qing dynasties. These exquisitely designed and decorated residences were clearly the elite residences of their time and demonstrate the highest skills and architectural knowledge of Chinese artisans of their eras. Visiting these residences offers a unique view into the philosophical and artistic sensibilities of Chinese culture during their time.
Stay overnight in Jingdezhen.
Following breakfast, you will be taken to Yixian County, where we will visit the ancient villages of Hongcun and Xidi.
Hongcun is the main village where the Wang families live together. The Wang clan is a respectable family in the Central Plains of China. Enriched by green hills, two streams flow through the village from north and east, converging at Huiyuan Bridge. The village has two main streets and about 99 lanes. All the streets and alleys are paved with cobbles or black stones. The residences, lanes, and streets combine well with the hills and streams. Lying about 10 kilometers (6 miles) northeast of Yixian County, Hongcun Village enjoys the reputation of “a village in the beautiful Chinese picture.”
We’ll then head to the village of Xidi. Located at the foot of Mt. Huangshan, the city was built 900 years ago during the Song Dynasty. The village’s traditional architecture is well preserved. It has been proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The buildings and the street patterns reflect the socio-economic structure of an enduring period of Chinese history. Don’t miss the sizeable memorial archway that marks the village entrance.
We will then make the short drive to Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) of a height of 1873 meters (6145 feet). UNESCO listed Yellow Mountain as one of the World Natural Heritage sites in 1990. We will take the cable car from Yungu Station to the top of the mountain and help you check into your hotel at the peak. While on Yellow Mountain, we will see some curious sights, such as the Strange Pines in every corner of Yellow Mountain. You will be amazed by their vitality and strength. The uneven terrain prevents the pines from growing upright. Instead, they become crooked and even downward.
Another feature of Huangshan pines is that many trees grow branches on one side only. Some notable ones that we will see include the Guest-Greeting Pine (in front of the stone lion of the Jade Screen Pavilion in the Jade Screen Scenic Area), and the Guest-Goodbye Pine (to the right of the Jade Screen Pavilion.
We’ll also visit Yellow Mountain’s numerous peaks, such as Brush Pen and Begin-to-Believe Peak. In the evening you will have the pleasure of enjoying the spectacular sunset from the Cloud Dispelling Pavilion.
You will wake up early to catch the amazing sunrise. After breakfast, you will climb the Shixin Peak (Beginning to Believe Peak) to see the ancient pines, and rock formations covered in ice, and see the sea of clouds. Later, you will take a cable car down to the foot of Huangshan Mountain. We’ll head for Tunxi Ancient Street, which is back in Huangshan City.
The Street is 1.5 kilometers long and 7 meters wide. The shops on the Street are all made of brick and wood and have double floors. All these houses in Huizhou style overflow a rush of strong archaic charm. Among them, the Tongderen is a Chinese traditional medicine shop. It was established in the second year of the Tongzhi Perio,d of the Qing dynasty, with a history of over 120 years. The products of “Huizhou Four Carvings” (brick, wood, stone, and bamboo), Chinese painting in Anhui style, print, rubbing from a stone inscription, Goldstone seal cutting, Chinese pot gardening, and root carving can be found in this Street.
Before departing Huangshan, we’ll stop to enjoy some Huizhou (Muslim Chinese) style food. We’ll drop you off at the airport or train sation in the end.