Lijiang

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Lijiang (Chinese: 丽江) is a prefecture-level city in the northwest of Yunnan province.

Lijiang is located in the northwestern portion of Yunnan and borders Sichuan. It is in a region where the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau converge. Owing to its low latitude and high elevation, the city centre of Lijiang experiences a mild subtropical highland climate.

The world-famous Old Town of Lijiang is located in Lijiang City. It is a UNESCO Heritage Site.

The town has a history going back more than 800 years and was once a confluence for trade along the old tea horse road. The Lijiang old town is famous for its orderly system of waterways and bridges. The old town of Lijiang differs from other ancient Chinese cities in architecture, history and the culture of its traditional residents the Nakhi people, therefore people there are called 胖金哥 and 胖金妹 (pàng jīn gē, pàng jīn mèi, male and female respectively). The town was ruled by the Mu Family during the portions of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, a period of nearly 500 years.

Overlooking Lijiang Old Town is Lion Hill and at its summit is the Wangu Pavilion, which is a wooden building that stands 33 m (108 ft) tall and boasts 10,000 dragon carvings. The pavilion is constructed on 16 columns each of 22 m (72 ft) in height. The pavilion is a masterpiece of Qing Dynasty architecture that has been extensively restored following the designation of Lijiang Old Town as a UNESCO Heritage Site.

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Some tens of miles north of Lijiang is the Baishui Terrace (白水台 Baishuitai, literally “White Water Terrace”), an area where spring water flows over a sinter terrace, leaving behind travertine. Lijiang is also close to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙雪山).

A few miles north of Lijiang is the village of Baisha, famous for the Baisha Fresco and the Naxi Hand-made Embroidery Institute.The Fresco was built in the Ming Dynasty 600 years ago, the Naxi Hand-made Embroidery Institute was built 800 years ago, it is the headquarters of the Naxi embroideries and also, a school for the Naxi embroiderers. There are many Naxi embroidery masters, teachers, students and local farmers there. Their embroidery arts can be found there.

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