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Anchang Ancient Town

(Source: travelchinaguide.com)

Anchang Ancient Town, in the northwest part of Keqiao District, Shaoxing City, Zhejiang Province, is a famous ancient town in Shaoxing. Like Zhouzhuang and Tongli, Anchang is a typical waterlogged town, more serene and picturesque than the others. The Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport is around 30 km away. The town can date back to North Song Dynasty (960-1127), though most residences were built in Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties. Shaoxing traditional customs are still observed.

The mile long slates paved old street makes this town an important commercial center and markets in history. The street is along the north bank of a river, parallel to residence on the south bank. Different kinds of small traditional workshops are found along the street, in which products are sold. Visitors can see how people cook traditional food on the spot.

There are seventeen stone bridges all presented in different styles. They all have their own stories. The better known bridges are Fulu Bridge, Wanan Bridge and Ruyi Bridge. Wanan stone arch bridge connects the east and west streets. Brides went across the three bridges to their weddings. Other bridges are all worth seeing.

The six neighbourhood attractions are Suikang Private Bank, Stone Sculpture Museum, Anchang Huangxingbu, Private Consultant Museum (Shiye Museum), China Bank Site and Town’s God Temple.

Shaoxing Private Consultant Museum, near the Xinan Bridge, exhibits the local “Private Consultant Culture”. Most consultants or solicitors came from Shaoxing and especially from Anchang in Qing Dynasty, so their residences are everywhere. Statues in the museum present how the court trial was made in Qing Dynasty and how these consultants made their living.

Suikang Private Bank and China Bank operated there. Suikang Private Bank, operated from 1850 to 1949 there, now keeps an old coins collection and the owner’s calligraphy and painting. The exhibits in the China Bank Site include a big counter, account books, lamps, abacus, wall clock and a telephone which are arranged as of old. There is also a vault inside the bank.

In the Sculpture Museum, about 200 pieces of stone sculptures are kept. Anchang Huangxingbu is the earliest cotton industry center in Shaoxing. In the Huangxingbu, twelve tapestries autographed by emperors, old clothes and old weaving machines are on display. Local wedding customs can also be seen in the museum.

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