Overview:Daxu Ancient Town is situated at the east bank of the Li River, 23 km (14.3 miles) southeast of Guilin City. Having a history of more than 1000 years, the town originally formed in the early Northern Song Dynasty (960-1126) and was the leader of four renowned ancient towns in Guangxi Province as early as 600 years ago.
Located 23 kilometers southeast of Guilin, the ancient town of Daxu (Big Market) has remained little changed for centuries. Built on the banks of the Li River, the town was a very important shipping port for goods from across China. The town was originally founded during the Qin Dynasty (221-207BCE) and had become the richest towns in Guangxi Province by the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). The city reached its pinnacle of affluence during the Ming Dynasty and remained a wealthy town until the 1930’s, when shipping was moved from the rivers, to the railroads.
The layout and design of Daxu and its architecture is unique. Because the town was a major shipping and commercial center, the residences were also places of business. The main cobbled street of Daxu is two kilometers long and is lined with shop fronts. The residential area of each building was located behind the retail area. Most of the buildings now date back to the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties. The main street is paved with huge bluestone bricks that have been worn smooth by hundreds of years of traffic. Underneath the stones is the main water system. Rain water flows under the street, hidden from view. One of the main features of the town is the Wanshou (Longevity) Bridge. Built in the Ming Dynasty, it is a single arch stone bridge that offers breathtaking views of the Li River, and the Millstone Mountain located on the other side.
Although no longer a major shipping port, the town’s culture and appearance is much as it has been for centuries. It is the people living in the town that really make this a special place. They go about their daily routines in a simple fashion that is so endearing. Taking the time to explore the towns back roads is well worth its while. You never know what surprise you will find waiting for you.