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Discovering The Old Town, the Old Traditions, and the Old Architecture of the Modern City of Lijiang, China
July 8, 2000

In China, and in many places all over the world, cities are growing and becoming more and more modern. But, if you look carefully, often you can discover the older parts of a city where you will find things that take you back in time. Come with us as we discover the Old Town of Lijiang, China and the traditions and culture of the original Naxi people.

In the middle of the ugly pavement of the busy city of Lijiang, we saw an interesting vision in the distance... "What's that?" I thought, squinting to get a better view. Ahead of us, in between two modern, gray buildings, was a large wooden water wheel, spinning with clear spring water. Behind this water wheel, we discovered beautiful old buildings and narrow cobblestone streets with red lanterns hanging above. "That must be the Old Town!" I exclaimed. "That's the part of Lijiang everyone loves!"

As we walked into Lijiang's Old Town, we felt a bit like we were entering a theme park. All of a sudden, the fast pace and noise of the modern Chinese city disappeared and we were surrounded by and charming homes, beautiful canals, and little shops and restaurants. Early in the morning, we discovered a lively market in the center of town. The local women were selling yummy Naxi breads and old men were walking around showing people the hunting birds standing on their arms!


modern - characteristic of the present or recent times
charming - attractive, cute
canal - a waterway

In between all the tourist shops and restaurants, we discovered that the local Naxi people living in the Old Town still live the way they did many years ago. People were washing their clothes and vegetables in the canals, and drinking tea and playing cards on the cobblestone streets.

Visitors like myself are so lucky to be able to come to a place like Lijiang where one can discover the old parts of the city where the original Naxi culture and architecture stills exists. Next time you are in a big city, look for the old part of town and you may discover something very different from the modern and busy streets of the rest of the city.


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