Xitang Town

Xitang Ancient Water Town, about one and half hours' drive from Shanghai, is a beautiful town that seems like a completely different world from the hustle and bustle of Shanghai. Cobbled streets, old buildings, bridges arching over canals, rowing boats lingering on the river, locals singing folk songs, this is Xitang, a charming, ancient water town. Mornings in Xitang bring fresh air and light fog; during the evening, the setting sun casts a rosy glow on the old tiled roofs. It truly is a world away.

Something that makes Xitang so special is the number of bridges. There are 104 in total, built in varying styles spanning the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Some looks like rainbows over the river and others like long flutes. Life for Xitang locals is calm and easy, full of comfort and peace, no difference from the lifestyle of their ancestors thousands of years ago.

The elderly play with their grandchildren on the bridges and in the lanes, and women wash vegetables and clothes in the rivers running beside their houses. If you need a break from the stresses of Shanghai, there's really no better place to chill out and experience the quieter side of Chinese life.


Ancient lanes

Ancient time-worn streets crisscross xitang town. In total, there are about 122 small lanes in Xitang Town, all of which were paved with stone slats. Line along these lanes are these hundreds-years-old houses which still home to the locals. Of all the 122 lanes, the shipi lane is the best preserved. It is situated at the west side of zhongfu hall in the west street, with a total length of 68 meters.

The lane is about 1 meter at the widest but the narrowest point is only 80 centimeters. It is paved with 166 stone planks which are only 3 centimeters thick, which is really hard to be chisel from the granite. That is why it is called shipi (the skin of the stone) lane. Walking through these long quiet lanes with stained tall walls is just like traveling through the town's long history in a spatio-temporal tunnel.

Xiyuan Garden

In the garden, trees, grass, flowers, towers, bridges, lakes, waterfalls are harmoniously integrated.

Xue's House

Xue's House is a typical wooden building of the rich merchant of that region in the later Qing dynasty.

Wangxian Bridge

The bridge was built in the Song dynasty more than a thousand years ago. The name of bridge is associated with an interesting legend that one Taoist once stood on the bridge to watch immortal spirits. Wangxian means to watch immortal spirits in English.

Tips & articles

Xitang Ancient Town of Zhejiang Xitang is ancient town with a feel all of its own, the main difference between Xitang and other old towns is that it still maintains its original architecture and natural beauty. Knowing among domestic tourists as the 'living ...Read More
Not far from the hustle and bustle of Shanghai is a beautiful town that seems like a completely different world. Cobbled streets, old buildings, bridges arching over canals, rowing boats lingering on the river, locals singing folk songs - this is Xitang, a ...Read More
Alleys snaking around residential complexes are another distinctive of this ancient town. The most famous alley is called "Stone-Paved Lane." It is 68 meters long and only a meter wide, paved with 216 slabs of stone. But "Stone-Paved Lane" isn't the narrowest ...Read More

forum discussion

Recent posts

by Mace 2011-05-23
Wuzhen Water Town Wuzhen has a rich and amazing history; it is a typical ancient township south of the Yangtze River delta in Tongxiang city of Zhejiang province. This small town is like a small shining pearl with the fertile bed of the Yangtze River Delta. Like many of the small townships in South China it has a feel and style all of its own. There is a lot ...
by Laurie 2011-05-20
Competitors of Miss Tourism Internatioanal, dressed up in Qipao, enjoy the beatuiful scenery in Xitang, an old town in East China's Zhejiang Province.
by Seraphina 2011-05-20
The streets of Xitang are dotted with bars, restaurants and cafes all decorated specially for the Christmas season; Santas smile from shop windows and glistening firs stand proudly on sidewalks. People participate in a Christmas Eve mass at the Shanghai Xujiahui Cathedral. Only a small corner of this ancient water town in Zhejiang province remains untouched ...