Jianshui Ancient Old Town

Jianshui is a small (especially by Chinese standards) city, known for its traditional architecture and as the home of the third largest Confucian Temple in China. So we went to the Confucian Temple first and explored its huge grounds, including a pond which was more like a jungle of lotuses.  Locals use the grounds as a place to practice their taiqi and people often congregate to rehearse dances amid blooming lotus and weeping willows.

Then we came to the famous Zhu Family Garden, which was definitely well worth a visit. It was a stunning 19th century complex with 42 courtyards, 214 rooms and a lovely garden, where you can sit and have a drink in the evening which particularly atmospheric when the lanterns are lit. Staff members at the garden are required to wear Qing dynasty clothing and the ambience is, for some, so real that the place is often the setting for television period dramas. In the rear of the complex, away from the crowds, is a photographic exhibition of old Jianshui. The collection has dozens of black and white photos that are definitely worth a few minutes’ perusal.