Bridges in Fenghuang Ancient Town

Oct Thu 2023
Among many famous historical cities in China, Fenghuang Ancient Town occupies an important position. It is comparable to Pingyao Ancient Town in Shanxi and Lijiang Ancient Town in Yunnan, endowed with the reputation of “Pingyao in the north and Fenghuang in the south”. There are ancient bridges in every ancient city and there is no exception for Fenghuang Ancient Town.

Hong Bridge

Located in the core area of the ancient town, Hong Bridge boasts a history of more than 600 years. Hong Bridge was built in the early years of Hongwu Period of the Ming Dynasty. According to legend, there was an evil dragon hidden under the Longtan Lake. From time to time, it made waves and harmed the people. The authorities ordered the repair of the bridge to suppress the dragon. At that time, in order to punish the dragon, the people who built the bridge hung a sword in each of the three holes of the bridge. Hong Bridge is a stone arch bridge with two storeys. The pavilion on the bridge was destroyed and restored in 2000 according to the original picture.

Plank Bridge

The Plank Bridge is the earliest bridge in Fenghuang Ancient Town. It was first built in the Tang Dynasty with more than 40 stone piers, which were often washed away by floods. It was rebuilt in the 43rd year of Emperor Kangxi’s reign of the Qing Dynasty (1704). During the period of the Republic of China, wooden boards were added to the stone piers, and they were washed away from time to time. In 1950, the government of Fenghuang County reinforced the Plank Bridge. The missing stone piers were replaced with large ones, which were then strung together with iron chains and covered with wooden boards to form the current appearance.
As a matter of fact, this is also the ancient “rock jumping”. It is not only a road but also a bridge on the Tuojiang River. Given that the stone piers are made of pieces of rocks, it looks as if people are jumping while walking on the bridge, so it is called “rock jumping”. As a unique way of life in Xiangxi, it was once the main passage accessible to Fenghuang Ancient Town. Shen Congwen, Huang Yongyu and other literary and artistic masters came to stage in the world from the rock jumping on the Tuojiang River.

Tingbu Bridge

Several tens of meters away from the Plank Bridge, two groups of rocks arranged in parallel make up a new scene. The stone piers are made of the red sandstone, which is common in Xiangxi, with each finely polished to square. It is the most popular landscape in Fenghuang Ancient Town. Each group consists of 66 stone piers. The new landscape was built by the county government in 2000 to promote tourism industry. The Plank Bridge in near distance is the real cultural relic.

Nanhua Bridge

If other bridges are the beautiful wings of Fenghuang Ancient Town, then Nanhua Bridge is the trunk supporting the wings. The other bridges on the Tuojiang River are built for ferrying people, while only Nanhua Bridge is for ferrying vehicles. It is a highway bridge and the busiest bridge in Fenghuang Ancient Town, connecting the traffic artery of Nanhua Gate and the north riverbank, far away from Hong Bridge.

In April 2011, Huang Yongyu, a famous Chinese painter, donated 11 million yuan to personally design and build four landscape bridges, namely “Wind, Rain, Snow and Fog” on the Tuojiang River in Fenghuang Ancient Town. The Snow Bridge is the most beautiful among the four bridges and one of the landmarks of Fenghuang Ancient Town. The Snow Bridge is adjacent to the north gate of the ancient town. It is not only a bridge passage, but also a viewing platform.

Wind Bridge

The Wind Bridge is characterized by two small memorial archways on both sides with a waterwheel and a small dock nearby. From here to get on the boat, you can reach the Fog Bridge in front. The Wind Bridge was designed and donated by Huang Yongyu to build in the style of antique architecture. It is very elegant and novel. There are seats on both sides of the bridge for pedestrians to take shelter from the wind and rain. Upstream from the bridge stands Wanming Pagoda.

Jiuqu Huilang Bridge

Jiuqu Huilang Bridge lies quietly on the river, with low railings on both sides for visitors to sit down and rest. At night, you will feel particularly pleased when bathing in the cool evening breeze and watching the hazy shadows of the lights on the river with the water flowing slowly under the bridge.

Among the scenery of Fenghuang Ancient Town, the bridges on the Tuojiang River make up a wonderful landscape. The bridges on the Tuojiang River constitute a song, an unforgettable song always echoing in our hearts.

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