Lijiang is a small town in Yunnan Province which has a history of almost 800 years. It is built at a spot where the Jade River divides into three sections. The Ancient Town of Lijiang was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1997 and the place houses a remarkable plethora of history, landscapes and culture. It is known for its quiet tranquility and of late it has become one of the most popular tourist spots in the country as well.
If you have opted for Chinese language programs or gap year jobs in Yunnan Province of China, you will get the opportunity to see some of the oldest places in the country. Yunnan has temperate climatic conditions which make it the ideal destination for all forms of study abroad and gap year programs. One can visit the province anytime of the year and there are no temperature extremities of the kind that are encountered in Beijing or Shanghai during summers.
Close to the capital city of Kunming is the small city of Lijiang which has attracted a lot of tourists visiting China. Lijiang City has an 800-year-old history; this town was built between 1127 and 1279 during the end of the reign of the Song Dynasty in South China. The period also coincided with the beginning of the reign of the Yuan Dynasty. Lijiang was the stopover of traders from Tibet who traded horses for tea in that region.
Lijiang was founded at the place where the Jade River parts into three rivers. The town was built in such a manner that the three rivers coursed through it and the complex water system that developed has been compared to the canal system of Venice. The river gets divided into streams which get further subdivided in such a manner that they flow through courtyards and side alleys of the houses. This water system has been hailed as an exclusive method for daily use of water as well as for water storage. Students studying architecture marvel at this 800year-old system.
Students learning Mandarin in Yunnan take time out of their study schedule, and visit Lijiang. The town offers them the history and complete oversight of the ancient Chinese culture which has remained preserved here. The town came to the world’s attention in 1996 because of an earthquake that had hit the region. But since then the residents have recovered and transformed the town into one of the most popular tourist spots in the country.
Studying abroad is not complete without a comprehensive cultural immersion program. This is why Lijiang becomes an important destination for all those who have opted for Chinese language programs. The old town of the city has been maintained, and, while visiting it, one goes back in time. There is a bonfire every evening at the Central Plaza where foreigners frequently gather. Another feature is the Mu Palace which was built by the Mu Clan when it ruled over the Naxi for 400 years. There is also the beautiful and scenic Black Dragon Pool from which one can take beautiful pictures of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. This mountain rises almost to a height of 5,600 meters.