LAOJIE (OLD STREET), Tunxi, China
With its extensive waterway and transportation network, Tunxi (屯溪) has long been a trading centre in the Anhui region since ancient times. Today, it also serves as a good base for visiting the two UNESCO world heritage sites in Anhui, Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) and the Huizhou villages. Also known as Huangshan City (Yellow Mountain City), Tunxi is conveniently connected to the mountain trailheads and the cable car terminals at the mountain foot with frequent buses. At the heart of the old town is the well preserved historical main street simply called Laojie or Old Street (老街) which is about 1.27km long running in the east-west direction. Laojie reached its heyday in the Qing dynasty when it served as a commercial hub for businesses, especially tea trading. Today, Laojie has become a popular souvenir street, serving tourists heading to and from Huangshan. Timber buildings and restored Huizhou buildings with white washed walls flanked both sides of the pedestrian street. Vendors sell all kinds of souvenirs from the region, such as tea leaves, ink-stones, chili sauce, etc. At night, vivid lighting and vibrant retail activities lit up the old buildings of Laojie, enhancing the enchanting atmosphere of the pedestrian street.
The Laojie of Tunxi offered us an introduction to Huizhou (Anhui). For two nights the Youth Hostel at Laojie provided us a comfortable base to explore the unique architecture, food, and culture of the region.
Meishi Renjia (美食人家 ) is a popular restaurant near the entrance of Laojie. We tasted a number of local dishes including dumplings, handmade noodle with meat+bean sauce, bamboo shoot salad and stuffed lotus root with sweet sticky rice in osmanthus syrup.
In the midst of traditional Huizhou architecture, two buildings stood out with their western touches. One of the buildings was decorated with a communist star and the washes of old blue paint on other one revealed the building’s past glory and uniqueness.
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Read other posts on 2015 Anhui and Hangzhou
1. History, Scenery, Architecture, 5-day tour of Anhui and Hangzhou, China
2. Laojie (Old Street), Tunxi, China
3. Hongcun, Anhui, China
4. Xidi, Anhui, China
5. West Sea Canyon, Huangshan, Anhui, China
6. From Monkey Watching the Sea to Welcome Pine, Huangshan, Anhui, China
7. Xiangshan Campus, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China
8. Folk Art Museum, Xiangshan Campus, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China