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Picture postcard scenery

Updated: Dec 12,2015 2:29 PM     China Daily

Chengcun’s black-and-white Hui-style houses covered in mist with the backdrop of green mountains.[Photo/China Daily]

When it comes to Wuyuan county in Jiangxi province, many think of bright yellow rape flowers on terraced fields in spring. However, the county shows its other side between early November and early December-the red leaves of the maple trees. The red leaves season this year started about 15 days later than usual and will last until mid-December due to warm weather.

The red leaves mean that from dawn till sundown photographers gather at villages like Chengcun and Daicun in Shicheng Scenic Area to capture beautiful pictures-red leaves, black and white Hui-style houses covered in mist with the backdrop of green mountains.

The two villages are surrounded by many ancient maple trees, with an average height of more than 35 meters. Patience and timing when taking pictures are important because the mansions could vanish in the foggy weather after a while.

A bridge consisting of six pavilions and five corridors.[Photo/China Daily]

It’s also delightful to stroll around the villages to see the daily lives of the people. They put piles of tea seeds in front of their houses to dry them in the sun before extracting camellia oil.

About 33 kilometers from Shicheng is Rainbow Bridge. It’s a covered bridge with a history of more than 800 years. The wooden bridge consists of six pavilions and five corridors, with a total length of 140 meters and width of more than 3 meters.

The stone bridge piers bear the marks of previous floods as the floods would carry wooden logs from mountain, which would hit the piers leaving their marks on them. Some village women can be seen on the riverbank washing clothes by beating them repeatedly with wooden sticks.

When the water ebbs, one can cross the river by stepping on square rocks arranged in a straight line. On the opposite bank is a large old rolling mill wheel for villagers to pound rice.

Many of Wuyuan’s ancient villages have camphor trees because locals believe their longevity represents vitality and their special odor can ward off evil spirits. They also make small teapots out of the wood for sale as souvenirs.

Wangkou village in Jiangwan township and its traditional Hui-style houses.[Photo/China Daily]

The most well-known tree is Yantian village’s 1,600-year-old camphor tree that takes more than a dozen people to encircle it.

In the villages, Hui-style mansions are arranged in rows. The houses are famous for their iconic high walls shaped like horse heads as a means of fireproofing, and black tiles and white walls. Such houses also have quadrate skylights that can drain water, reduce the heat of sunshine, and offer good ventilation.

Some villages in Wuyuan also boast of well-preserved ancient Hui-style houses. One of the most famous is Likeng village, about 30 kilometers from Rainbow Bridge.

The houses are decorated with delicate carvings of auspicious patterns on brick, wood or stone and they indicate the owner’s profession, social status and hobbies.

In the residence of Li Wenjin, an official from Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the carvings on the beams around the skylight show Li’s wealth.

The scenes in the carvings are about people with vivid expressions dressed in feudal officials’ costumes, and there is even a fat mouse sleeping under a desk.

This shows that the family was so rich that even the mouse was well fed.

The Declaration Pavilion in the village built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) is close to the ancient Tongji Arch Bridge which spans the stream in the village.

The pavilion is a place where villagers would get together to mediate civil disputes and criticize and punish those who violated the village rules.

Nowadays, it has becomes a place of rest for villagers and tourists.

Chengcun’s black-and-white Hui-style houses covered in mist with the backdrop of green mountains.[Photo/China Daily]

Meanwhile, autumn is also the harvest time for chrysanthemum in Wuyuan. At that time, villagers pick the flowers and dry them in a large oven rather than in the sun, to keep their original shape. Chrysanthemums are then packed separately in small bags, making them easy to carry. Teashops are ubiquitous in Wuyuan’s villages and shop owners put flower in a glass and add hot water to make a fragrant tea.

It takes about seven hours from Beijing to Wuyuan by train, thanks to the Hefei-Fuzhou High-speed Railway unveiled this summer. The route is dubbed the most beautiful high-speed line in the country because it connects the capital with picturesque destinations in southern China such as the Wuyi Mountains in Fujian province and the Huangshan Mountains in Anhui province.

A bridge consisting of six pavilions and five corridors.[Photo/China Daily]