Rural tourism brings new life to ancient village in Hunan Province
Published: Mar 22, 2023 11:30 PM
As the mist settles over the UNESCO World Heritage site of Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province, the settlements nestled deep in the mountains awaken to the aroma of cooking in the early hours of the morning.

As one arrives at Shiyanping village in Yongding district of Zhangjiajie City, they can see the sight of vibrant blooming canola and a block of stilted houses constructed in the typical wooden building style of the Tujia ethnic group.

In the village, traditional ­Tujia culture continues to thrive with its distinct stilted homes and other characteristics that have existed in the region for centuries. 

However, urbanization has posed a threat to both the original Tujia culture and the preservation of traditional homes in Shiyanping village.

Many years ago, people were unaware of the cultural value of the Tujia houses, and sought to convert their ancestral shelters into more attractive villas rather than keeping the traditional style.

In 2013, the ancient architecture complex was recognized as one of the nation's major historical and cultural sites. 

The notion that "people should protect national cultural artifacts" is even incorporated into the first article of the village's rules and regulations.

Li Ying, Party chief of Shiyanping village, said that professional teams have been organized under the principle of "repairing the old as the old" to preserve and restore historic homes and roads.

"In recent years, the village's unique building complex, as well as other Tujia cultural activities, have attracted a steady stream of tourists," Li said. 

Li said that the village received more than 100,000 visits and achieved an income of about 5 million yuan ($727,600) from tourism in 2022.