Memories of Old Streets | 老街有故事

[来源:策策连载] 2021-07-27 11:04:32


The Story of Peach BlossomSpring by Tao Yuanming in the JinDynasty described a “paradise”, aplace of fertile fields and beautiful ponds which is far away from the worldly life. Men and women, old and young all enjoy their life there. In fact, in Hunan, there really is such a fairyland in Changde. It is said that the “land of the peach blossom” is located in Taoyuan County of Changde, Hunan Province. It is backed by mountains with verdant pine trees and bamboos and there are many ancient buildings, as well as many great poems inscribed on stone tablets left by great poets since the Tang Dynasty, such as Meng Haoran, Liu Yuxi, Li Bai, Wang Changling, etc. It is a beautiful town with beautiful scenery, people and stories.


In Hunan, there are many ancient streets with stories like Taoyuan, to name just a few, the Yuelu Academy which enjoys thousands of years of history,the former residence of Jia Yi, Yueyang Tower and the mysterious Ancient Town of Fenghuang. The story of Hunan lies in the bricks and tiles of its streets, walls and pavilions.


Yuelu Academy

On Yuelu Mountain, there is a veritable Millennium Academy— Yuelu Academy. About 1,000 years ago, Zhudong, Prefecture Chief of Tanzhou, established the Yuelu Academy on the basis of the school run by the monks in Lushan Temple. Since then, it has become a gathering place for talents from far and near. As the saying “The Kingdom of Chu, unique home of the talents; The Yuelu Academy, the very cradle of all” goes, in the past thousand years, many famous teachers and excellent students have taught and studied here, such as Wei Yuan, Zhu Xi, Zeng Guofan, Zuo Zongtang, etc. Generations and generations of young talents have grown up to be the backbones of the world.



Today, Yuelu Academy is in the center of the university town of Changsha, and the Millennium Academy continues to radiate its own energy.


Today, in this ancient courtyard, you can hear masters’ teaching and sharing, browse the collection of the thousands of books and experience the cultural heritage beyond time.


Xiaopeng: I heard that visiting Yuelu Academy can bring you the luck of those excellent students one thousand years ago. No more worries for exams now!


Jia Yi’s Former Residence

In the crowded Old Taiping Street lies an old house, which is surrounded by bustling food stalls like barbeques and rice noodles restaurants etc., with the noisy crowds and incessant criesof vendors. However, inside the residence, there is a particularly quiet courtyard where the owner of the house used to drink and chat with his friend. This house owner was Jia Yi, a famous politicalcommentator and writer in the Western Han Dynasty.



Jia Yi was known as a great talent when he was young. However, after he entered the political arena, he encountered many obstacles and was demoted to the position of the mentor for the Prince of Changsha. During the four-year stay in Changsha, though depressed and unsatisfied, Jia Yi found his position and pleasure. Gradually he was deeply integrated with the local customs and culture of Changsha city, thus became known as Jia Changsha. He devoted himself to literature and wrote the book Funiao Fu (Rhaposody of the Owl), which had a profound influence on the later Hunan culture and was regarded as one of the sources of the rational thinking style in Hunan culture. After a hundred years of vicissitudes, the tablet inscription on the two stone tablets in front of Jia Yi’s former residence became eroded and unrecognizable, but this old house hidden in the busy city will continue to silently witness and inherit the past, present, and future of Changsha.


Yueyang Tower

Everyone has learned Fan Zhongyan’s prose Note on Yueyang Tower in middle school. Ten years later, maybe few could still recitethe whole piece. However, When you step on Yueyang Tower on the west gate of Yueyang city, you could sincerely understand the verses of the prose “It looks as if it were holding in its mouth the distant mountains and gulping down the Yangtze River. Boundless and marvellous.” Yueyang Tower, Yellow Crane Tower and Tengwang Pavilion are called “Three Famous Pavilions in South China” and are renowned at home and abroad .



The Ancient Town of Fenghuang

Border Town written by famous writer Shen Congwen impressed the readers with the small town inwestern Hunan and the beautiful girl, Cuicui. He describes a quiet and beautiful town called Chadong, where is surrounded by mountains and rivers, with green stone slabs streets and black-awning boats drifting slowly on the river. For many people, Fenghuang is just the border town in the real world. There are also walls made of red sandstones, ancient stilted buildings and old streets crisscrossed with stone slabs. Standing on the Rainbow Bridge, you can see black-awning boats slowly passing by and a panoramic picturesque scenery on both sides of the Tuojiang River. Mr. Shen Congwen’s quaint former residence just sits quietly in this elegant ancient town, waiting for visitors to explore. In this town, it seems time can stand still. The moment you step into this town, you will feel that you are travelling back to the primitive and mysterious city in western Hunan 400 years ago. Thus, you will understand why it is the border town in many people’s dreams.



Xiaowang: Here you may not be able to see the beauty Cuicui in the novel, but you absolutely will meet a lot of girls even more adorable than Cuicui.