Dali Old City

On August 12, 2011, in Ancient Houses & Courtyards, Dali, More Cities, by Jack Li

Dali Old City is called Yeyu for short; the altenate name is Zi City. The present Dali Old City was bulit in the 15th year of Hongwu Emperor’s region in Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1382). Dali Old City has a cover of twelve miles; the city wall is 8.34 meters tall and 6.66 meters thick. There built a gate in each direction and a gate tower stand above the gate; there are also turrets at four angles. At the preliminary stage of liberation, all city walls were torn down.

In 1982, the south gate was rebuilt and it was Guo Moruo who wrote the two words “Da Li”on the head of the gate. Going to the town through the south gate, you can see Fuxing Road that has a direct connection with the north gate. Nowadays, Fuxing Road has become a prosperous downtown street with various stores that sell marbles, folk art works, jewels and jades. Old houses along the street can still show styles and features in the past; you can see prosperous trees and flowers and hear the twitter of birds in the yard, as well as the murmuring of running water outside.

The scene of “three families have a well and one family has several pots of flowers” still exists today. Huguo Road trends from east to west, being called “foreigner’s street”. Numerous restaurants, cafes, tea houses and artcraft shops have been set up in the street and most of the signboards and advertisements were written in foreign languages. This special street has attracted a great number of foreigners with blond hair and blue eyes to linger around and find ancient charm of the eastern town.

The road of Dali Old City has kept the chessboard type structure since Ming Dynasty and it was called “nine streets and eighteen lanes”. The two city towers that stand facing each other in the north and south have been renovated.

There is a main street traverses in Dali Old City, arranged in a crisscross pattern with other streets and lanes. The uniform grey tiles and walls piled up by cobblestones show the primitive simplicity of Dali.


Jack Li
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