Chinese Doors of Ancient Walled Cities.

Doors, shutters, inner courtyards, Menshen or door gods, all these features of ancient Chinese architecture denote security and protection. Once safely inside the inner courtyard of a wooden Tang dynasty house, a sense of calm and peace descends: you feel perfectly secure and removed from the world.Chinese doors make a fascinating study in themselves. The ancient cities of Dali and Lijiang in Yunnan Province and Langzhong in Sichuan Province afford the traveller with an enormous array of wonderful doors to study and photograph.

Many are richly carved an ornate but today I have chosen a few modest examples.

People Watching in Lijiang, Yunnan

Posing for photographs is big time all over China. No one wants to look casual or natural. As local tourism takes off, Chinese like to record portraits of themselves in the most beautiful settings. People arrange themselves in intriguing ways- perfect backdrops, graceful gestures, romantic clothes.¬† Young women flock to the ancient town of Lijiang, Yunnan on the weekend: beauticians and costume hire shops can be found along the narrow lanes, part of the weekend fun for the girls. The ‘dress ups’ often evoke another era.

Girl on Bridge, Lijiang, Yunnan
Girl on Bridge, Lijiang, Yunnan.
Girl on bridge2, Lijiang, Yunnan
Girl on bridge 2, Lijiang, Yunnan
Girl on Bridge 3, Lijiang, Yunnan
Girl on Bridge 3, Lijiang, Yunnan

Playing Eye Spy was a pleasant pass time in such a beautiful town, which is the theme of this week’s Daily Post photography challenge, and¬† appropriate for Ailsa’s travel theme,¬† ‘Self‘ too.

Ornate

These images were taken in a new Buddhist temple found on the windswept plains above Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China. Sometimes a Buddhist temples can be ornate, at other times, just plain scary.

ornate and scary
ornate and scary

The ancient city of Lijiang is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a beautiful place to visit. The centre of the old Naxi people, today the place thrives on local tourism. Like other UNESCO sites in China, it is a pedestrianised city: all traffic must remain outside the city walls. Yunnan province is full of surprises.

1-natIn ancient times, the Old Town used to be the center of silk embroidery in the southwest of China and the most important place of the Ancient Southern Silk Road, also called the Ancient Tea and Horse Road or Ancient Tea Route.. The Ancient Silk Road started from Burma, crossed Lijiang, Tibet, journeyed through Iran, the Fertile Crescent and ultimately to the Mediterranean Sea.

A Door in an Ancient City, China

Doors in China are the most important feature of a house. The front door lets in good energy and welcomes family and friends, but also keeps away demons and intruders. Inviting but guarded. Solid and protective.

Another door in Dali, Yunnan, China.
A door in Dali, Yunnan, China.
Doo, Lijiang. Just for the texture.
Door, Lijiang, China. Just for the texture.
A door in Dali, Yunnan, China
Another door in Dali, Yunnan, China
Door, Lijiang, China
Door, Lijiang, China

I adore a good door! Some great doors in China may be found in Dali and Lijiang, Yunnan Province. Both are ancient walled cities and free of traffic, the latter being a Unesco world heritage site.

Travel Theme: Noise

We’re back in Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China. At night, the bars light up, with each bar employing a band or singer. The noise can be overwhelming, but the locals love to party. ¬†I preferred wandering the streets of this ancient Chinese city in the day time, when the cobblestoned streets were quiet and empty.

You can find some more noisy shots at Ailsa’s travel photography site.¬†¬†And I recommend my brother’s take on this theme too. Take a look at Mick’s Cogs.

Lijiang by night.
Lijiang by night.

Travel Themes: Merchandise

Scarves and wraps re essential at night.
Scarves and wraps re essential at night.

Merchandise in the old towns of Dali and Lijiang, in Yunann Province, China,  is colourful and tempting. Lijiang is a Unesco World Heritage site with an altitude of 2,500 meteres above sea level. It can get cold at night, even in summer. Both towns are popular with young Chinese travellers, particularly on the weekends, when they come to party and shop. The cobblestoned streets are closed to traffic, making the evening promenade a pleasant experience.  An appealing travel challenge from Ailsa this week.

All the tea in China.
All the tea in China.
A basket of combs for sale!
A basket of combs for sale!
Young girls shop for strawberries.
Young women shop for strawberries.