Yan Family Compound in Xizhou Town, Dali
Chinese Name: 严家大院
Location: 1 Fuchunli, Sifang Street, Xizhou Old Town, Dali
Occupation: 2478 square meters
Dali Yan Family Compound in Xizhou Town travel guide introduces the main attractions, entrance tickets booking, The best time to visit, How to Get there, the highlights, facts, history, photos, weather, accommodation, visiting routes, travel tips, tour maps of Yan Family Compound in Dali.
Before Visit to Yan Family Compound:
Thirty-three kilometers from Xiaguan and by the side of Erhai Lake lies the town of Xizhou. Historically, it was a military fortress of the ancient Nanzhao Kingdom as well as the Nanzhao King’s temporary palace. Because of its favourable geographical situation, before 1949 the town used to be a commercial center that was home to more than 140 national capitalist families including the successful Yan, Dong, the Yin and Yang families. In recent years, streets and roads have been widened, new markets have been established, and a scene of prosperity prevails. In 1988, one of the Yang family’s compounds was opened to foreign visitors and was called “Xizhou Tianzhuang” (Countryside Villa at Xizhou) by the Tourist Bureau of Dali Prefecture.
About Yan Family Conpound:
Yan’s Compound in Xizhou is the most representative of Bai-style residences, about 13 kilometers (8.08 miles) from Dali City. The compound covers an area of about 3,066 square meters (0.76 acres), built around the 1920’s. As a whole, it is divided into four parts and each part is cleverly linked together. After visiting this impressive compound, one will ameliorate the admiration for its magnificence and the Bai people’s architectural gifts.
Xizhou traditional houses are built in typical Bai style, called “Sanfang Yizhaobi”, which is a courtyard rooms on three sides and a screen wall on the remaining side. Another Bai architectural design is called the “Sihe Wutianjing”, which is composed of one big courtyard with four smaller ones at the four corners of the main one. Xizhou Town is composed of more than 88 compounds of this kind. Some have several yards and some have yards within yards. These houses often have painted roofs and pillars, upturned eaves, and “dougong” systems (double bow-shaped brackets on columns supporting upturned eaves), which are unique to the Bai minority.
Upon entering, one’s eyes will fall upon the principal house with it’s screen wall and two wings. According to the tradition of Bai-style architecture, the screen wall should face east in order to make use of the early morning sun and reflect the light into the inner rooms. Additionally, the screen wall, adorned with elaborate caligraphy and paintings, is considered as a talisman; the Bai people believe it brings good blessing.
Walking inside, one will see the second and then the third parts, each of the parts is enclosed by four houses with four small rooms built between each of the houses.The final house of the compound embraces a modern, western architectural style.
This amazing lake lies next to the amazing historic sites in the Dali valley and the natural scenery and good hiking trails on Cangshan Mountain. The whole region is full of interesting and beautiful sites.
The magnificent Chongsheng Temple and the well-known Three Pagodas are the symbol of Dali.
Get to Yan Family Compound:
Take the bus of “Dali to Xizhou” and get off at its destination and from there you can walk to the Yan’s compound.
Attraction Travel Tips:
Performance of Three-Course Tea in Yan Family Compound:
“Three-course Tea” is a traditional regional tea ceremony consisting of three unique tea flavors, and is an experience not to be missed in Yan’s compound. The host begins by presenting a bitter tea which stands for the hardships in life. Then, a sweet tea of sesame and walnut symbolic of happiness in life. Finally, a bitter, sweet, and spicy tea symbolic of pondering life. Three- course tea connotes three stages of life.
Other Travel Tips:
Yan Family Compound will be closed by 18:00 so that visitors had better stop visiting before its close.