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Yao Nationality Village of Nangang: town lost in time

 
If you want to escape the crowds in the hyper-active and multi-faceted metropolis Guangzhou, Yao Nationality Village of Nangang(Nangang Yao Village, Nangang Thousand-Year Yao Village,南岗千年瑶寨), the biggest, most ancient and distinctive Yao village on earth, will quench your thirst for nature and exotic ethnic culture.
 
 
nangang ancient village of nangang
 When you make it here, you will feel time has slowed down. Buffaloes are gazing at the meadows and dogs are chasing after each other merrily, while chickens are hunting for worms in the rice paddies. The crystal-clear spring is channeled by bamboo tubes into each household, just like one thousand years ago. During winter, villagers will gather around a fireplace and engage in small talks. Yao girls will occupy themselves with needlework. A month is needed to finish a handbag and a year is necessary time to accomplish a piece of dress.


Hailing from Liannan County, Qingyuan city, Yao Nationality Village of Nangang epitomizes the architectural style, folk customs and traditions of Yao people. Clusters of folk residences of Ming and Qing dynasties are embedded into the wooded slope, towering above the spectacular rice terraces extending all the way to the horizon. Seen from afar, this magnificent complex evokes a sense of grandeur and will remind you of the monumental landmark of Tibet: Potala Palace.
 
 
nangang ancient village of nangang
 


Upon your arrival, locals will greet you with firecracker display, rice wine and songs. You can jog or stroll along this castle of Yao people to gain insight of what life was like1400 years ago. A number of 368 folk residences remain intact here continue to dominate the skyline silently. These grey-tiled and brick architecture compounds lost in time breathe full of beauty. Elevated at 600m, the ever-flowing and swirling mists and clouds will lend it with an air of mystique and aerial charm.
 
 
nangang ancient village of nangang
 


During Sui and Tang dynasties, in order to escape wars, Yao people sought refuge here. They built houses along high hills in an elaborate way. The following centuries saw its continuous expansion and during Ming Dynasty(1368-1644), it boasted 600 households with over 5000 villagers.
 
 
nangang ancient village of nangang
 


The best place to take a panoramic view is in front of Yao king’ s mansion. Standing there, you can overlook Lianzhou, Wuzhou and Yongzhou of Guangdong, Guangxi and Hunan province respectively. In the middle of this village sits a spacious square, where locals gather to discuss important issues or host various activities.
 
nangang yao village
 
 
 

Paiyao people: attires and festivals

 
 
Nangang Yao Village is inhabited by Paiyao, a branch of Yao Nationality. Giant red plate-shaped headgears perched with colorful feathers are the signature decorations of Paiyao men. When unfolded, they can extend for several meters long. Paiyao women clarify their marriage status by wrapping up heads with embroidered scarves.
 
 
yao nationality village nangang
 


The whole year of Paiyao people is filled with festivals, big or small. The fifteenth day of the twelfth lunar month will see Paiyao New Year Festival kick off. During this period, each family will prepare special festival delicacies such as rice wine, smoked pork and glutinous rice cakes. On the New Year Eve, this village will be haunted by the thundering voice of firecracker display, drum beat and bullhorn performance. Encircling along the banquet tables, Paiyao will eat and sing till day breaks. In the second or fourth day of the first lunar month, Paiyao will host their own Valentine’s Day. A young man will carry a musical instrument to chase after the girl he likes, if the girl does not like him, she will cover her face with an umbrella or a handkerchief. If she likes him, and she will accept his gentle beat. In the 16th day of the tenth lunar month, Paiyao will celebrate Shua Ge Tang, which is devoted to Pangu, the creator of the universe. It involves dazzling Yao ethnic singing and dancing, stately ancestral worship ceremony and a parade. Single youths seize this chance to make new friends.
 
 
yao nationality village nangang
 

Travel Guide

 
 Bonfire party in Liannan Town(连南镇). In this Bonfire party, you can drink guest-greeting wine, practice Yao love songs, wear Yao costumes and study Yao Long Drum Dance. Fee: 30¥ Time: 19:30 or 21:30 pm
 
 
yao nationality village nangang
 
nangang yao ancient village guandong
 


Weather: it has four distinctive seasons. In July and August, when big cities in south China are at the mercy of scorching sun, this place with temperature peaked at 28.5℃ serves as an ideal summer resort. Winter here is not freezing cold and snows will not last for 6 days.
 
 
nangang yao ancient village guandong
 


Get In: Gungzhou to Lianzhou city: 250km Long distance Bus: Time: since 8:30 am Fee: 80¥ Time Needed: Three hours.               In 10:30、13:30、15:30, fast speed buses are available
 
Lianzhou to Nangang Yao Village: 30km                you can rent a car or take a bus
 
 
nangang yao ancient village guandong
 


Accommodation: stay in Yao villager’s home or hotels in downtown Lianzhou County (price: 40¥-300¥)
 
 
yao nationality village nangang
 


Where and what to eat: in downtown Lianzhou county or the Gongshe Dining House of Nangang Yao Village, you can savor typical Yao delicacies, such as chicken, rice wine, marinated meat, sweet potato, tea and mushroom. With only 20¥ to 30¥, you can enjoy a decent lunch here. Avoid dining along the restaurants along bus station of Lianzhou.
 
 
yao nationality village nangang
 


What to buy: honey, mushroom and black rice
 
 
yao nationality village nangang
 
 
 
Author: Sophia              Posted on May 6, 2013
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