Ancient town escapes city's pace of life

09:25, November 11, 2010      

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Two men, dressed in traditional opera costumes, stand in front of a row

Yanchi town is a quiet place to experience history. Photos

With Beijing now fully enveloped in autumn, the weather is cooling off and the TV is going on. For some people though, the prospect of four months of hibernation does little to excite, which is where Yanchi town strikes a note.

The air is clean, the sky is crystal blue and visitors will feel like they have left the concrete jungle thousands of kilometers behind, when in fact they are only 70 km west of central Beijing.

The town, situated in Mentougou district, is a tourist resort in the making. Although the end goal is to bring in the crowds, as of yet, this destination is largely unknown.

After alighting from the bus, visitors will immediately notice the lush-green mountains that surround them. An untainted azure sky drifts overhead and everywhere hangs the rich smells of nature.

Nature is certainly the dominant force here, though clusters of farmyards that date back hundreds of years do something to prove man's strong will to cohabit.

One of the villages nearby, Weizishui, is a must-see. Nestled among mountains, the community is a postcard picture.

According to officials, Weizishui is home to a large number of ancient buildings, many of which remain intact.

"These village houses are living history," said Wang Guogang, director of the organization and publicity department in Yanchi town.

He said most ancient houses are still inhabited, largely as a result of restoration work that adopts authentic reconstruction techniques.
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