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Nayun Ancient Town-the Charming Dai Town

People always say: If you want to appreciate the culture of Center-China’s aristocracy, your destination should be Chinese ancient capital---Beijing. However, if your interest is in the culture of Dai minority’s aristocracy, then Nayun Ancient Town is definitely where you should be. A travel to Nayun ancient Town will provide you with a direct contact with the culture of Dai minority’s aristocracy

Nayun Ancient Town, the last remaining ancient city of Dai Minority in China, is located in Menglian Dai, Lahu and Va Autonomous County(孟连傣族拉祜族佤族自治县), Simao City, Yunnan province. Built in 1289, Nayun Ancient Town has been one of the political, economic, cultural and religious centers in Southern Yunnan since Yuan Dynasty,which established its significant role in Yunnan’s history. It was also the place where the hierarchy of Menglian Dai minority was set. However, due to the inconvenience of transportation, Nayun Ancient Town is well-preserved for its unique features. In 2001, it was titled as “the historical and cultural city of Dai Minority”.

Nayun Ancient Town has a history of more than 700 years. With Menglian Xuanfu Sishu (孟连宣抚司署) being its center, it was surrounded by three cities and two villages ----the Upper, Center and Lower city(上城,中城,下城), Mangfanggang village(芒方岗), Mangfangmao village (芒方冒). In the times of hereditary headmen(土司时期), there is a rigid hierarchy of power in Nayun Ancient Town: Only headman and his servants can live in the Upper City; the Center City is home to superior officials and their families, while, inferior officials are only allowed to live in the Lower City.

Menglian Xuanfu Sishu (孟连宣抚司署)
Note: Xuanfu Si(宣抚司) is a kind of local administrative institution in China.
Xuanfu Sishu(宣抚司署) also known as Hehan(贺罕) in Dai language(literally means “Golden palace”) played a decisive role in feudal headmen system of Dai minority.

Menglian Xuanfu Sishu, dates back to 660 years ago with an area of 10248 square kilometers. According to historical records, there were about 28 headmen of Dai minority ruling from there. Menglian Xuanfu Sishu enjoys many reputations: the only building group combining Dai minority’s architectural style with Han nationality’s, the best-preserved government office in feudal headman system of Dai.

Menglian Golden Pagoda (孟连大金塔) 
Menglian Golden Pagoda by Nanlei River(南垒) in Menglian County is the biggest pagoda with gold decorations in China. The Pagoda complex is made up by nine pagodas: eight attached pagodas (10.3 meters tall) surrounding the main pagoda (28 meters tall). In the basement of the pagoda, there is a hall with a Buddha enshrined and on the wall of the pagoda was carved Han Chinese-style dragon and crane motifs which are quite marvelous.
 The Buddhist temple in the Center City (中城佛寺)
Constructed in 1910, the Buddhist temple in the Center City is one of the largest historical Buddhist temples in Menglian County. The exquisite frescos painted in liquid gold and pictures decorated with gold are its treasures.
The Buddhist temple in the Upper City (上城佛寺)
The Buddhist temple in the Upper City, which lies on the Golden Mountain(金山), is a fundamental element of Nayun Ancient Town. Constructed in 1868, the temple covers an area of 5000 square meters. In ancient times, it was for headmen’s exclusive use, so it enjoyed a high prestige at that time. Now, it serves as the exhibition hall and repository of the essences of Dai culture, folk arts and architecture styles.
Resort for Headmen(勐外土司避暑山寨)
In 1492 AD, the seventh headman of Menglian Dao Paoyue(刀派约) retired on account of poor health, and he chose Mengwai to be his retreat. Since then, many headmen have taken summer holidays there now and then. That’s how Mengwai Summer Resort for Headmen got its name. This history blessed Mengwai with rich culture of feudal hierarchy system. Besides, due to its geographical features, Mengwai(勐外) was considered as “the Source of Water” which makes Mengwai’s water culture abundant and unique.

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