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Top 10 ancient cities: China's best kept secret


16:12, August 23, 2012

(Photo from

No. 10: Bing'an Ancient Town, Guizhou

Located next to the Chishui River, Bing'an used to be an important gateway between Sichuan and Guizhou during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. Excluding the newly constructed suspension bridge, the town was only accessible by boat. This heritage of inconvenient transportation has preserved the town's traditional culture and structures.

It was difficult to locate an area of flat land to build residents' houses because the town was founded in a mountainous region. However, locals quickly adapted existing technologies, such as stilted houses with wooden frames, to satisfy basic military and economic needs. If viewed from across the river on the highway, a large number of three-to-five storey houses supported by hundreds of logs can be seen. There are four stone gates on each side of the town, making Bing'an more a solid castle than a town.

The new suspension bridge spans the Chishui River. Standing in the middle part of the bridge, you may get a panoramic view of Bing'an town and the lofty mountains around. It is the best location to take photos.

Along the bluestone slabs covered with moss, the old buildings shaded by woods take you back in time to ancient China. Recording the history of the town, the old houses, walls and eaves look like faded pictures.

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