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Guizhou makes NY Times list of places to visit

from:内蒙古英文网2016-01-22 14:38

Guizhou makes NY Times list of places to visit

Dong people dance in the front of their drum tower in a village at the foot of Mount Fanjing in Jiangkou county, Southwest China's Guizhou province. [File photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

On the afternoon of the last day of Chinese New Year, which this year falls on Feb 7, Yang Yuanju and her family make offerings to their ancestors at the 19-storey pagoda-shaped drum tower in the center of their village.

As a symbol of ethnic Dong nationality culture, drum towers, or gulou, can be found in every Dong village, be it home to dozens or hundreds of households, and are often the most magnificent landmarks, overlooking all other houses even though people don't live in them

Nobody can tell when the first gulou was built because the Dong don't have written records, but legend says wherever there is Dong village there is a gulou, originally a building to place drums that were struck by the village chief to call together people when there were threats of invasion or important issues to discuss.

Guizhou makes NY Times list of places to visit

A Dong woman prays in front of a bonfire lit near their gulou, Jan 13, 2016. [Photo by Yang Jie/chinadaily.com.cn]

Most gulou are more than 20 meters high and built by skillful craftsmen without a blueprint and with wooden materials donated by residents in each village, held together without a single nail.

Yang, 42, runs a restaurant with her husband in a 62-household Dong village at the foot of Mount Fanjing in Jiangkou county, Guizhou province. She says fellow villagers practice Dong dances and songs and rehearse Dong drama at the square surrounding the gulou.

Yang's village has a 40-member Dong dance troupe after it became an ecotourism destination for its unique ethnic culture and picturesque views in recent years.

Guizhou makes NY Times list of places to visit

Lanterns are lit at the gate of a Dong village at the foot of Mount Fanjing, on Jan 13, 2016. [Photo by Yang Jie/chinadaily.com.cn]

The southwestern province of Guizhou has for the first time this year earned a place in the New York Times list of top "52 places to go" around the world for its "unhurried pace" and "authentic feel". Guizhou, the least accessible region in China, was praised as having "authentic Chinese hill tribes without mass tourism — yet".

"We don't receive many foreigners," recalled Yang of her rare contact with foreign customers. "I remember once there was a blond and blue-eyed foreign guy eating in my restaurant. He couldn't use chopsticks, so I had to give him a plastic fork that was found in an instant noodle package because we didn't prepare knives or forks".

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