Langzhong In Sichuan Province.
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Langzhong, a small city in the northern part of Sichuan Province and famous for its ancient architecture, plans to apply for the World Cultural Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The Sichuan provincial government planned to spend nearly 300 million yuan (US $ 37.5 million) to preserve its original flavour of the centuries-old town. Of the city’s 860,000 residents, more than 30,000 live in the ancient streets and lanes and about 10,000 of them will be resettled in order to better protect the Cultural relics in the area. All buildings not conforming to the original style of the ancient city will be demolished.
Surrounded by green mountains on one side and the Jialing River (the third longest tributary in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, totaling 1,119 kilometers with a drainage area of 159,300 square kilometers) on the other, Langzhong has been standing for more than 2,300 years. The mountains, river and the black tile roofs of the ancient structures form a natural Chinese atmosphere. Strolling along the narrow pebble lanes visitors might have the chance to experience the different architecture of the past dynasties. Langzhong boasts 92 ancient streets and lanes mainly in the construction style of the Tang and Song dynasties and more than 1,000 ancient houses in the construction style of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The area of its ancient streets, lanes and houses register 1.5 square kilometers. The layout of Langzhong’s ancient streets and lanes is in the shape of a chessboard. Streets and lanes link with each other, and all lead to the Jialing River. Most of the ancient houses face north, with the front part serving as shop and the rear part being a residence. Supported with a wooden pole, the shop’s eaves extend over two meters, sheltering pedestrians from rain and sun. In the town some ancient quadrangle dwellings of the rich have also been preserved, featuring small c9ourtyards, screens and rock works. Gingko, sago cycas and sweet-scented osmanthus trees are mostly seen. The hollowed-out window decorations are popular and are carved in the shape of flowers, birds, animals and paintings. In addition to their artistic taste, the decorations make the rooms brighter. Since the Warring States period (475-221 BC), rulers of different dynasties regarded Langzhong as an important strategic stronghold for governance of southwest China and established government offices there. During their stay in Langzhong, many princes, members of the royal families and government officials of different ancient dynasties were fascinated with its fengshuim or Chinese geomancy (the location of a house or home, supposed to have an influence on fortune of a family), and invited talented architects to build houses and palaces. Nowadays, Langzhong is valued as one of China’s four largest and best-preserved ancient cities together with Shexian in Anhui Province, Lijiang in Yunnan Province and Pingyao in Shanxi Province.