Shuhe is also one of the first settlements of Naxi ancestors.
It is not only a very important town in the Tea-horse Road that leads to Tibet, but also a famous cobbler town.
The cobblers here are as skillful as those in Italy.
The leather products that they make are the best seller in Tea-horse Road.
Because of trading activities along this road, the Naxi people gradually gave up the nomadic life and settled for farming and later started to do business.
Shuhe was built along the mountainside and faces the river.
There are two rivers on each side of it that go through the whole, village. Channels were dug so that the water would pass by each house.
Rivers, channels and roads make a dense web and link the town in a tight structure just like a honeycomb.
People use stones in the nearby mountains to make the walls of their houses. Compared to those in the ancient old town, the houses here are even more natural.
Right in the middle of Shuhe, there is a square market, which is called Shuhe Square Market.
Observing closely, you will find that the one in the old town was built totally according to this one. Walking in Shuhe, you will have the feeling that this ancient town of Shuhe is the model of the Old Town while the Old Town is tension and development of Shuhe.
Shuhe is also called Town of Springs. About one hundred meters north of the Shuhe Square Market, there is the waterhead of the streams here. It is “Jiuding Dragon Pool”.
The water is clean and transparent; the fountains spurt out day and night. The Naxi hold the spring as holy. Beside it, people built a Longquan Temple (Dragon Spring Temple) to enshrine and worship the founder of cobbler handicraft.
Shuhe is a small village a couple miles to the north of Lijiang, in Yunnan province.
It has similar old architecture as Lijiang with similar places to buy Naxi woven cloth and products from local artisans.
A major advantage over Lijiang is that it is relatively unknown so the streets are much less crowded and food and lodging is cheaper. In addition to woven goods, there are stores selling wood carvings, Naxi style pottery and silver filigree jewelry. There was an elderly artist whose paintings were all done with the edge of his thumb producing quite astonishing images.
Shuhe Ancient Town, also named Longquan Village (which literally means dragon spring village), is located in the north of Lijiang Ancient City.
In Naxi language, Shuhe means “a village at the foot of a peak”. As the earliest habitation for Naxi ancestors, Shuhe Ancient Town is regarded as a living specimen of the Naxi ancestors’ transition from an agriculture civilization to a commercial culture.
Similar to Lijiang Ancient City, Shuhe Ancient Town is surrounded by a murmuring river and interlaced with smooth flagging.
It is a compact village hidden in the forest, and it lies near mountains and rivers. It is a more peaceful, smaller version of Lijiang Ancient City.
Qinglong Bridge has a history of more than 400 years; it is the landmark building in Shuhe Ancient Town.
The entire bridge was built with stones, and is 25 meters (82 ft) long, 4.5 meters (15 ft) wide and 4 meters (13 ft) high. In early spring, the old bridge is decorated by verdant willows, which form a famous scenic spot in Shuhe.
Sifang Street, a market in the center of Shuhe village, covers an area of about 250 square meters (2,691 sq. ft). It is very lively during market days. Visitors can buy many leather products at the market. Surrounding the market are shops, all of which have archaic wooden facades.
Travelers can buy various handicrafts here, such as unique ornaments and costumes reflecting ethnic styles.
Along the street about 100 meters (328 ft.) away is the fountainhead of a river surrounding the ancient town, a deep pool named Long Pool (Dragon Pool). From Long Pool, the overflowing water winds through the village and the bubbling sounds can be heard miles away.
The locals regard this as a sacred spring, and built Beiquan Temple (North Spring Temple) here as a place to pray. Master leatherworking is enshrined in Sansheng Palace, which is the most unique part of the temple.
About 4 kilometers northwest from Lijiang Ancient City.
How to get there
1. Daily shuttle buses depart from Lijiang Ancient City to Shuhe Ancient Town, a great convenience for travelers.
2. Visitor also can take a taxi there, which takes about 20 minutes, or they can bike, which takes about 1.5 hours.
Best time to there:
The peak period for visiting Shuhe Ancient Town is from May to October. Actually, Shuhe is worth visiting during any season, so if you do not want to experience a crowded scene, avoiding that period might be a good option.