Tunxi Ancient Street is situated in the center of Tunxi District, the location of Huangshan City Government
Tunxi is an ancient city with a long history. Early in the Qin and Han dynasties (more than 2200 years ago) a prefecture was set up. During the period of the Three Kingdoms, Mao Gan, a general of the state of Wu, once quartered his army in Tunxi. As for that the name Tunxi came into existence. Tunxi, a beautiful mountain city, is situated by the side of Xin'an River. It is surrounded by green mountain with delighted of forests and graceful region of rivers and lakes, giving you poetic flavour. Of all ages many writers, poets, painters and photographers, reluctant to leave, have done many a piece of excellent works in praise of the mountain city. Tunxi is a city newly-opened to tourist. It has area of 120 square kilometers and a population of 100000. There are many place of historical interest and men of letters here. Pave with slab stone, the one-mile winding, and fascinating ancient street in the urban district is an ancient and bustling street well preserved in China. Shops on both sides of the street are built perfect order and antique style. As its buildings are after the fashion of the Song Dynasty, Tunxi is also called "Song City". There are the Linjiang Park, Huangshan Park, Jiangxin Zhou Golden-Fish Park and other scenic spots in the city proper.27 kilometers to the east of the city, the town of Shexian (the old seat of Huizhou Prefecture) was set up in the Qin Dynasty (about 2300 years ago). Since the Song Dynasty it has gradually become the "Home of Culture". Xin'an paint school, Xin'an medicine, Anhui engraving, brick and wood carving of Anhui school, Anhui Opera, Anhui cuisine and Anhui businessmen, to some degree, all had their place in China's history, hence the saying "It's not a town without Anhui stores". Place of historic interest include the Memorial Archway of Xuguo of the Ming Dynasty, Taibai Pavilion, Taiping Bridge, the East and south Watchtowers of the Song Dynasty, Pagoda of Changqing Temple, and Xinzhou Stonetower. After a bus drive of 33 kilometers, you can get to the beautiful Qiyun Mountain--the sacred Place of Taoism in China. Xu Xiake, a well-known traveller in the Ming Dynasty, had this remark:"the most mysterious scene in the Qiyun Mountain is the flying-down waterfall." Qianlong, emperor of the Qing Dynasty, described it as "None are equal to the mountain which is the greatest in South Anhui." The located products include the famous tea such as "Tunlu", "Qihong", "Houkui", "Huangshan Maofeng", and Huizhou's inkstick, Shexian's inkslab (two of the "four treasures of the study" in China), and lacquer-ware, bamboo weaving, and etc. With pleasant weather, Tunxi is suitable for tourism all the year round. It is an ideal scenic spot and the only way to the marvellous Huangshan Mountain as well.
At the foot of the Mt. Huangshan, in the bend of Xin'an River, lies the beautiful mountain town called "Tunxi ". The "Tunxi Ancient Street" can be found in this old city.
The street starts in the west at Zhenhai Bridge, a stone arch bridge built during the Ming Dynasty, and ends in the east at the "Memorial Archway." Its total length is about 1.5km and the sides of the street are laid with slab stones.
There are hundreds of old but well preserved rows of shops, evoking a bygone era in buildings that are simple and elegant.
It is a commercial street that is only for pedestrians. The merchants from the Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, and Fujian provinces jostle each other in a crowd that resembles the picture "The Spring Festival along the River".
An ancient Western-European architect once visited the old street and said that he had found "The Eastern Ancient Rome."
First built over 700 years ago, during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the street is flanked by some buildings from this period. More noticeable are the buildings from the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911), during which time the "Tunxi Ancient Street" became a distribution center for goods and materials to Huizhou.
The shops, workshops and residences have continued to maintain the characteristics and operational layout of ancient stores such as "shop in the front and workshop or house in the back".
Most of the buildings are only three stories high, stone-based and brick-laid. They are decorated with small green tiles, wood carvings in the Hui style, ancient shop signs, and red-lacquered with double eaves on the roofs. They are simple and elegant, magnificent and clean.
The pavement is 5 to 8 meters wide, laid with large red flagstones. Whether you are wandering along the old bridge, visiting the fish beside the river, finding shoots of bamboo on the slope, or standing under a tree and listening to the birds whistle, it is easy to rest and attain mental tranquility by getting back to the nature.
Shops and stalls sell an interesting mix of antiques and knick-knacks including ink stones, brushes, local teas, Mao badges and advertising posters from the 30s. There are also many small food vendors and some excellent dumpling restaurants.
The shop names in the ancient street have a lot of culture meanings, which shows that the merchants in Huizhou are scholar-merchants. Many of these shops carry more than a hundred years of history, such as "Tongderen" (Medicine Shop), "Tonghe" (Steelyard Store), and "Chengdexin" (Sauce and Pickle Shop).
These stores continue to use the same methods of production, display, and operation as they did in ancient times.
Like many growing Chinese cities, there are two vaguely distinct parts to TUNXI : an older town, down along the north bank of the Xin'an River ; and a newer quarter focused around the train and bus stations a kilometre or so to the northeast along Huang Shan Lu. If you haven't the time to explore more widely, there are two old houses to check out in the backstreets south of Huang Shan Lu, though you'll need a map to find them - pick one up at arrival points. Both houses belonged to the Ming-dynasty Cheng family , and are classic examples of the indigenous Huizhou style , of which you'll find plenty more at Shexian or Yixian. Neither building is well marked, and the more easterly house - that of the mathematician Cheng Dawei - is in a sorry state of repair, but their plan, of two floors of galleried rooms based around a courtyard, proved so popular that it became the benchmark of urban domestic architecture in central and eastern China.