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Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui - Xidi and Hongcun - Essay Example

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In the face of rapid modernization occurring in all parts of the world, it has become imperative to do our utmost to conserve our ancient civilizations and cultural heritage. Recognizing this, UNESCO has inscribed 911 properties from around the world, having outstanding universal cultural and/or natural heritage value, in The World Heritage List…
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Download file to see previous pages However, in the villages of Xidi and Hongcun the ancient and traditional Huizhou-style houses are still well preserved. The houses which belong to the period of the Ming and Qing dynasties are considered to be architectural marvels, specially in terms of the design, material and craft used, as also from the environmental and social context they represent (, 2010). The villages thus represent a style of human settlement that came into vogue during a feudal period that symbolized a prosperous trading economy. The buildings and the street patterns in the two villages signify the socio-economic structure of a well established and long-lasting period of Chinese history. With the Huizhou businessmen natives of the time, that is, during the period of the Ming and Qing dynasties, strongly supporting the economic development of their hometowns, the areas became culturally prosperous. The houses constructed during that period displayed much aesthetic elegance and uniqueness. A number of prominent village landscapes also came to be established. A unique feature of life and culture of these ancient villages in southern Anhui is that their progress occurred generally independent of agriculture. Thus, in terms of their awareness, lifestyle and taste, the people of these areas were generally of a higher level than the common peasants and other common citizens. Thus, a strong cultural environment was created. They laid great emphasis on education since it was their constant endeavor to maintain a close interaction with the literati and officials. The villagers respected Confucianism. The picture below (Fig. 2) depicts an ancient Xidi clan temple. Fig. 2. An ancient Xidi clan temple (Source:
Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui - Xidi and Hongcun

The ancient villages of Xidi and Hongcun located in the southern Anhui province of China are World Cultural Heritage Sites. They are marvelous examples of well preserved traditional non-urban settlements most of which have disappeared or transformed during the last century. They possess architectural complexes of much historical and artistic value. Heritage sites everywhere are prone to environmental degradation while the inhabitants of those areas could likely experience socioeconomic problems. The preservation of such heritage sites requires active participation by the local government, international funding agencies such as UNESCO and the World Bank, local communities and the visitors who throng the sites.
Another key issue related to tourism development is enhancement in tourism transportation which could lead to pollution caused by transportation (Jiang et al., 2010). A car is the mode of transport commonly used by tourists which has a high impact on the environment due to carbon dioxide emissions. An important issue related to social demography is the migration of villagers from Xidi and Hongcun to cities either as a result of the economic prosperity they have come to enjoy because of tourism or in the face of their inability to meet the competition from the same industry. Residents' perceptions and attitudes need to be periodically assessed, and conditions that encourage the local populace to continue to live and thrive in their hometowns should be created. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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