Nanyang Ancient Town

Nanyang Ancient Town is located in Weishan County with more than 2000 years of history. During the Ming and Qing Dynasty (1368-1911), this town was among the top four along the entire Canal route to visit. Traces of historical footprints can be found everywhere. Today, the town is famed as the top water-town north of Yangtze River and the top historical town on entire canal route.   

The Nanyang Old Town is embedded with loads of historical and cultural treasures. As the old saying goes, “One Nanyang, Half a canal’s history”, meaning 50% of the canal transportation history is highlighted in Nanyang. One reason is Nanyang hosted the only section of the entire canal that is not tilted. As of today, there are 30 or so historical landmarks within the town. They may appear plain in sight but its sculpture is detailed and beautiful, indicative of previous prosperity.  

On top of its historical charm, Nanyang is so close to accessing natural beauty. Thousands of acres of lotus farms, 10 thousand acres of reeds, clear lake water and wild geese, what a water park!  Including shuttle boats, store signs and stone bridges forming a tranquil landscape. 

This is a chance to peek into daily lives of small town on the canal.  Being half way of the entire canal length, Nanyang was a gathering place of merchants and visitors.  Do not miss the chance to see an old bank (qianzhuang) and a pancake roaster (Emp Qianlong Pancake).  Even though the entrance of the banks are on the street side, there is always a reception area facing boat ramp.  Those are reserved for large depositors to host meeting and rest.  You will also notice the movable ladders throughout the 2nd floor where lock boxes are stored.  Moving ladders secure the safety of cash as looters would not be abe to find pathways to the 2nd floor security box.  The roast pancake , the “Emperor Qianlong Pancake” was an all-time favorite of the emperor when he visited the town.

As expected, the houses on the bustling street are restored very closely to the original settings.   The restaurants quarter consists of 4 streets of eateries selling foods across the country.  In the days without airplanes, canal was our national super highway.  We can imagine locals will come to town to enjoy the flavor of China here quite sometime ago.

The old streets are lively and interesting, with local people selling an array of food products, and going about their days. Duck eggs are a typical souvenir. International tourists don’t come very often now to Nanyang Ancient Town, but during the Ming and Qing dynasties, many businesses thrived here, and the town attracted people from all over China, who opened stores, restaurants and hotels. It was developed and rich, as a stopping off point for ships and their traders, transporting cargo. The Qianlong Emperor, who reigned from 1735 until 1796, visited frequently.

To arrive, you can take a boat from the pier at Yutai, enjoying the pleasant waterside scenery and the gentle breeze. In the town, there are only electric cars – no petrol cars. The air is fresh, and people here live long lives.

The famous Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal slowly passes through the Weishan Lake, nourishing the island within the lake. It is said that there were residents on the island during the Warring States Period (475-221BC) and the village on the island is known as the Nanyang Old Village. Although it is located in Shandong, the blue bricks and tiles, small bridges and rivers and fishermen on the shore have often led people to mistake it with the Yangtze River. From ancient times, ships approaching Beijing were required to pass by this place. It can be challenging to travel to Nanyang Village due to the inconvenient transportation. However, the natives on this small island continue to preserve many of the traditional living habits.  

Location: Nanyang town, Weishan, Jining 济宁市微山县南阳镇

More info:

      • Tickets: 28 RMB
      • Hours: 6:00 AM to 7:00PM
      • Average time spent: 3 hours

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山东省文化和旅游厅 Shandong Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism

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