Lijiang Tourist Attractions

Black Dragon Pool
At the foot of Elephant Mountain in the north of the city, is the famous Black Dragon Pool, part of the Jade Spring Park. As you walk on the Square Street along the bank of the Jade River, the Black Dragon Pool lies one km ahead. The water bubbles out of cracks in rocks and fills a huge mountainside pool (40,000 sqm) lined with trees and flowers and ancient Chinese architecture.

Lijiang Black Dragon Pool Park (the Dragon King Temple) sits between the north of Elephant Hill and the Black Dragon Pool. Built in 1737 during the Qing Dynasty, the Black Dragon Pool was named after the Dragon King Temple believed to be the residence of the Black Dragon King.

The ancient buildings in the area reflect Ming and Qing architecture. Prominent among the classical structures: the rectangular-shaped Dragon King Temple with rooms on each wing, the opera stage and the Deyue Tower.

Baisha Murals
10 km north of Lijiang Ancient Town is the village of Baisha. Known as the earliest political and spiritual center of the Naxi ethnic minority, the village is the birthplace of the Tusi (clan chief) of Mu (a clan).

During the Ming and early Qing dynasties, art and architecture flourished in the area. Some old buildings still remain, among them Dabaoji Hall that houses 558 murals, and Glazed Hall, where the earliest mural (circa 1417) is on display.

The Baisha Murals combine four distinct streams of art: Naxi, Tibetan, Bai and Han. They represent vivid depictions of ancient tales drawn from Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Several scenes from legend along with 100 figures from Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism are captured in a single painting. There are portraits of religious teachers and common people, farmers and even criminals. The murals are a unique gift of history, not to be missed.

Dongba Culture Museum
The Dongba Culture Museum (at the north of Black Dragon Pool) has a collection of 10,000 antiques of great historical value, including 2,500 Dongba relics.

Landscaped by the mountain and the waters of the Jade Spring, the arched Naxi Courtyard at the museum displays the many facets of traditional architecture, from ancient caves to nest structures, wigwams, wood cribs, and modern Naxi buildings. Exhibiting rooms house relics that reflect Naxi wit and intelligence. Unique too is the re-enactment of Dongba religious rituals, such as “sacrifice to heaven” and “sacrifice to wind”.

The museum exhibits every fascinating expression of Dongba culture: paintings and calligraphy, Tanakh paintings and religious instruments, ancient tools and household items.

Keen to share the history and traditions of the Naxi people, the Dongba Culture Museum has held exhibitions in foreign countries, such as Switzerland and Canada.

Dry Sea
23 km from Lijiang Ancient Town, at the eastern foot of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (altitude: 3,100m) is a plateau with an erstwhile highland lake. When the water drained out in 1940s, the area turned into a huge meadow and was named ‘Dry Sea’. Surrounded by mountains on three sides, the ‘Dry Sea’ is 5 km in length and 2 km in width. From here, the 13 peaks of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain are clearly visible, especially the highest that resembles an unfolded fan.

In spring and in summer, the meadow takes on the appearance of a vast garden of blossoming flowers. Ethnic villages, resorts and golf courses have mushroomed in the area, raising tourist traffic to unprecedented levels.

The Iron Chain Bridge of Stone Drum Town
The Iron Chain Bridge, built during the Qing Dynasty, spans across the Chongjiang River at the point where it passes through Stone Drum Town. In bygone centuries, horses would cross the bridge carrying tea and other commercial goods to inland provinces and Tibet. The bridge – also called Tiehong Bridge –resembles a rainbow arching over waves.

Iron chains on either side hold together the wooden boards of the bridge as they sway in the breeze. For visitors, it represents a 17 m walk into history.

Old Town
Lijiang Old Town is among the four most famous medieval towns in China. Built in the Song era, at the end of the 13th century, the old town has no city walls – unusual for towns of that era. 2,400 meters above sea level, the town covers an area of 3.8 sq km and is home to 6,200 Naxi families, most of them artisans who keep alive traditional handicrafts. Bronze, fur, textile and wine manufacture sustain the economy of the old town.

The town leans against the foot of the mountain and runs along the Jade River, across which there are 354 bridges.

The roads of the town are paved with red stones. These get neither muddy in the rain nor dusty in the sun. Many of the stones are engraved with characters and pictures.

The Square Street lies in the middle of the town and the mill wheel is symbolic of the connection between the old town and the new city.

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