Of the villages surrounding Guangzhou, quite a few are predominantly home to a single ethnic group or surname, with their dominant cultural themes reflected in the architecture and overall layout of the area. Among these, Julong Village (聚龙村) is likely Guangzhou's best example of such a traditional town. Despite the massive changes brought on by economic development in surrounding areas, there are still just over 100 people who reside in Julong Village (same as it's been for the past 120 years), and the village contains some of the best-preserved late Qing Dynasty architecture around, making it Guangzhou's premier historical and cultural preservation district. Although Julong is technically located within the city limits of Guangzhou, once you enter this village the hustle and bustle of the city will instantly disappear.
Julong Village's history
In 1889, during the Qing Dynasty, three elderly men from Guangdong's Tai Mountain came to Guangzhou's wetlands to build houses (the area is close to the Pearl River, which made developing transportation and business convenient and easy). As the men started building their houses, one of them noticed that a strange red-hued water was coming up from the area in which they were digging. The men nicknamed this water longchuxue (龙出血), or "Dragon's Blood", and the village was eventually renamed Julong, which means "Dragon Gathering".
Julong's unique architecture and arrangement
Walking around Julong's alleyways, you'll immediately notice that the ancient dwellings have a very unique layout: the village was designed to resemble a well. There are three streets that run east to west and eight that run north to south. The streets are paved with stones and all the buildings were built facing south. Some old architectural features around town worth taking a closer look at are the communal well and the various woodcarvings, murals and Manchurian-style stained glass windows.
Must see sights in Julong
Of the 19 traditional residential buildings in Julong Village, buildings 16-19 are protected cultural sites in Guangzhou and are in fantastic condition (great for "traditional China" photo shoots). The buildings were built with stone, wood, and brick, and the roofing is made up of detailed grey clay molding. You'll also notice that some of the buildings' designs have Western elements, as the original founders had such preferences. Inside the buildings, you'll see ornate carvings of flowers and delicate stained glass windows that are also well worth photographing.
What to do in Julong
Julong Village has a stone beam bridge, Yuling Bridge (毓灵桥), that connects the Chongkouyong river (冲口涌) to the mouth of the Pearl River. Take a stroll over this bridge while experiencing some beautiful scenery. Long ago, the only way to reach this area of Guangzhou if you were an outsider was by boat, and to this day the area is still used as the ending point for dragon boat races due to its lucky aura. The two coasts of Chongkouyong act as a link amongst the Pearl River's Fangcun Bar Street (芳村酒吧街), and Minghui Park (明辉园).
What to eat in JulongView In Map
There are a bunch of restaurants near Julong worth checking out. On Fangcun Dadao Dong (芳村大道东) you'll find Zhou Wangzhuang (粥旺庄), a porridge and snacks restaurant, as well as Huawan Hotel (华苑饭店), Jinling Gardens Kitchen (金浚园食府) and more. All of these restaurants are known for their authentic Cantonese cooking and great prices. Zhou Wangzhuang is particularly popular, and comes highly recommended for their stewed dace fish balls (汤鲮鱼球), large pork buns (大包), fish and lotus porridge (鱼蓉粥), roast duck (烧鹅) and more. The restaurant is right on the river and is perfect for an afternoon of snacking and relaxing. And if you're still hungry after that meal, head over to Yonghong Home-Cooked Villa (永红土家菜农庄) to try their fish head and grass carp (大头鱼和草鱼), known to be the most fresh, sweet, tender fish in all of China.
Add: Fangcun Dachongkou, Liwan District, Guangzhou
Getting there: Take bus No. 825 to Tianxin Lukou (田心路口站)
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Keywords: Guangzhou Julong village Guangzhou ancient villages
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