A haven of culture, history and natural beauty

Shanghai Daily reviews three of the most classic Jiande travel routes which highlights the beauty and vibrancy of the place.

Jiande is a place where travelers, tourists, and even the most cynical in life, can lose themselves in the rich cultural, historical and natural splendors of the county-level city in Zhejiang Province, which lies 108 kilometers southwest of Hangzhou.

Once upon a time in ancient times, Jiande, was called Yanzhou Prefecture (Yen-tcheou-fou), and Meicheng, a local town with a history of over 1,800 years, was where the seat of government was located until 1959.

The city is at the confluence of Xin’an River, Fuchun River and Lanjiang River, the upstream, midstream and a tributary of Qiantang River. It gained much importance as a hub of water transportation for the exchange of commodities between the ancient Huizhou area in Anhui Province and cities like Shanghai, Hangzhou and Jinhua in Zhejiang Province.

In 1957, construction of a brand-new water conservancy project, the Xin’anjiang Hydropower Station, was started in Jiande on Xin’an River. It is the first such hydropower station independently designed and built in China and provides electricity for the east China regions.

Present-day Jiande has since developed from a small fishing town to a city with a population of over 100,000 and forests, which cover 76 percent of the city. The Xin’an River has become one of the best summer escapes with a constant temperature at 17 degrees Celsius all year round.

Shanghai Daily reviews three of the most classic Jiande travel routes, which highlight the beauty, and vibrancy of the place.

The cultural tour: Daci Cliff and Xinye Ancient Village

大慈岩和新叶古村

Daci Cliff sits 24 kilometers south of downtown Jiande with an elevation of 586 meters. The main peak is known for its resemblance of a standing Buddha when visitors look at it from a certain angle, where the vegetation, caves and extruding granite rocks form the deity’s facial features.

The scenic spot is also notable for the “hanging temple” – Daciyan Temple, which is built into a cliff with half of the building suspended in the air.

The Great Buddha’s Hall built inside a cave enshrines Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, which is worshipped in China for his powerful vows to instruct all beings from pain and distress. You can take a cable car to the hall directly or climb up the hill in autumn. Either is recommended for a trail paved with golden ginko tree leaves.

If Daci Cliff offers the perils and peculiarity of the mountain, then Xinye Ancient Village is a place where you enjoy a pastoral landscape of local life unchanged for several hundreds of years.

The family of Ye came to the village during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) and their descendants settled and thrived in this secluded place. Most of the residents here are still surnamed Ye.

The place is a “living museum” of folk houses with history dated back to the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. The layout of the village follows the basic guidelines in the Chinese fengshui theory.

The numerous ancestral halls and the exquisite architectural woodcarvings record the lives of past glory. A tall fengshui pagoda, which is also used when for praying good luck in examinations, reminds people of the great Chinese tradition in rural areas “to read when it’s rainy and to cultivate when it’s sunny.”

Daci Cliff

Xinye Ancient Town

The natural tour: “Set Sail for Seven Li” scenic area

七里扬帆景区

The scenic area is within the Fuchun River National Forest Park and is believed to be the most beautiful section of the river.

The trail starts from Shiwu pass in Meicheng and ends at the present-day hydropower station stretching a total length of 23 kilometers. The river flows past three gorges: Wulong, Zixu and the Hulu Gorge, where you see rapids running in a narrow river course flanked by towering cliffs.

The region is also related to a renowned Chinese ink-wash painting master, Huang Gongwang (1269-1354), and his most acclaimed work “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains” produced in his latter years. The piece depicts vividly the landscape along Fuchun River.

If you are lucky enough you will be able to see the first half of the piece known as the “Remaining Mountain” in Zhejiang Museum in Hangzhou, as it is not regularly displayed in exhibitions. The other half, however, and the longer section, is kept in Taipei’s Palace Museum, as it was torn apart in an accident and later handed down to different owners.

The local government has also built an 18-kilometer “green lane” where you can enjoy the essence of Huang Gongwang’s landscape painting, by riding or walking along the picturesque Funchun River while breathing in the fresh air rare in city life.

The sporty tour: Lion Cliff, Aviation Town

狮子岩和航空小镇

If you are a sports or active fan then Jiande is also a perfect location to visit.

The Lion Cliff scenic area offers a standard track for rock climbing “via ferrata,” which means one can easily cling to the rock on permanent protective facilities, such as a steel cable, iron rungs and pegs. It is therefore suitable for inexperienced climbers aged from 7 to 70.

The cliff has three routes with different lengths and challenge levels: the 60-meter route for children, 220-meter route for adults and the 320-meter route for advanced climbers. There is also a glass-viewing platform built on the cliff if you prefer not to walk on rocks directly.

It is maybe hard for some to imagine Jiande has its own airport in an “Aviation Town” in Shouchang ancient town. In September this year, three flyover routes have been opened to the public, which allows you to overlook Xin’an River, Fuchun River and the Qiandao Lake at an altitude below 600 meters. Flights usually last between 10 to 30 minutes depending on the routes you choose.

Apart from that, there is also a racing theme park inside the town. The 28-hectare theme park is divided into a kart racing area, an area to experience drifting in racing and an area dedicated to off-road vehicles.


Skydiving at Aviation Town

A glass viewing platform in Lion Cliff scenic area

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