During my recent trip to Silk Road,China, I purchased a stack of UNESCO postcard of China, about 30 pieces in a booklet.
The above is one of the postcard.
The two traditional villages of Xidi and Hongcun preserve to a remarkable extent the appearance of non-urban settlements of a type that largely disappeared or was transformed during the last century. Their street plan, their architecture and decoration, and the integration of houses with comprehensive water systems are unique surviving examples.
Construction of Xidi Village began during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). So far, it has a history of over 900 years. The village is famed as being the 'Ming and Qing Dynasty Local Residence Museum'. The three carving styles including those on stones, bricks and wood are the most renowned.
Hongcun Village (10km northeast of Yixian County) enjoys the reputation of 'a village in the beautiful Chinese picture' because of its location at high altitude and being shrouded by clouds and mist. Hongcun Village is built in the shape of an ox. The locals liken Leigang Hill as the 'head', two huge trees on the hill as the 'horns', the residences in the village as the 'body', a winding stream as the 'intestines', a crescent pond as the 'stomach' and the four bridges as the 'four feet'. It has about 137 Ming and Qing style residences.