Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nan She Village

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk down a street in China during the Qing dynasty! Well you can't because it was a long time ago, but!! you can go to Nan She Village. In a district of Dongguan called Chashan you can find the village of Nan she. It is a perfectly preserved village that has survived the test of time, through the Ming and Qing dynasty it has been relatively unchanged. In the past it was known as a major cultural center for south-eastern China now it is a quiet town but no less important. It has now been placed under protection by Chinese authority as one of China's many cultural relics. The whole village is not much larger than 5-10 square blocks enclosed by an ancient wall, but it packs a lot history and culture into a small area. The current residents spend most of their time sitting around talking or walking up and down the beautiful streets. Most of the young people are usually off in modern China getting an education or working in one of the many huge industrial factories that are not far from the village. In fact the village seems to be surrounded on all sides by heavy industry for miles.

Getting to the village was pretty easy for us, we took bus 47 out of town to the last stop and hopped on the number 4 bus for another 15 minutes. In total it costs 6 Kuai (app. 1 dollar) to get there. The bus doesn’t take you right to the village so you might have to ask around a bit when you arrive, but you will eventually make it there with some help from the locals. We met a business man from Taiwan who insisted that we let his driver take us to the village, but we just got lucky. Don't count on the friendly foreign business men who speak perfect English to be there or you will be disappointed. We finally made it to the village and had a chat with some on the old locals that were hanging out in front of the city wall. Walking into the village we were instantly struck by the beauty and symmetry of the layout. All the streets and drainage systems have been perfectly planned and unchanged which makes the city a perfect example of life in during the Qing and Ming dynasties. Nan she is actually one of the few places with a working drainage system from the Qing dynasty. We took our time absorbing the beauty, being stuck in downtown Dongguan can wear you thin after a while. Seeing beauty like this again was exactly what I needed. This village is a must see for anyone who is in this area of Guang dong province.


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