Tangmo village is spellbinding black-white arcadia

Tangmo village Photo: Internet 

After a two-hour bumpy ride, I was mesmerized with the sight of the black-tiled and white-walled dwellings in Tangmo village, which is now located in Huizhou district, Huangshan city, central China's Anhui province.

The ancient village was originally built in the Tang dynasty and rose to its florescence in the Ming and Qing dynasties. The residences of the ancient village are typical Hui-style buildings, which feature black tiles and white walls, are surrounded by high courtyard walls shaped like horse heads for fireproofing, and decorated with exquisite carvings made of wood, brick and stone.

Strolling in the village is like wandering in a traditional Chinese landscape painting expo. Crisscrossing the mazy houses in the village, which reflects the geomantic omen, creates a strong feeling of tranquility and leisure.

A winding brook named Tangan River flows through the village, with 10 stone-made bridges with different features and styles crossing the brook. The most famous bridge is the Gaoyang Bridge, which was constructed under Yongzheng emperor's reign in the Qing dynasty. The Gaoyang Bridge is one of the very few gallery bridges that are well-preserved in Huizhou district. Along the brook, local people have built a number of river dikes, which are used to raise the water level for better utilization of the water.

Another highlight of the village is the narrow Water Street, the main street of the village paved along the Tangan River. On both sides of the street lie groups of old Hui-style folk houses, with some modified as home-run inns. I came across a home-run hotel, which did not surprise me until I strode through its unremarkable black gate. Inside the hotel, a square Chinese-style courtyard planted with green trees connects the black gate with a two-storey stone-wood pavilion rebuilt for lodging. The lobby of the hotel is decorated with carvings made of wood and stone and sets of wooden Chinese-style tables and chairs. I was told by a local guide that the inn is accredited by a French tourism agency.

A hotel in Tangmo village Photo: Ding Yi/Sino-US.com

In 2009, the tourism departments of China and France launched an international village tourism program in the village, in which several old dwellings were rebuilt as guest rooms which are fitted with modern living facilities with the exterior structures well protected to maintain Hui-style architectural features.

There are several ancestral halls set up to commemorate the ancestors in the village. The construction scale of each ancestral hall is different to distinguish the family's social status and economic position. In an ancestral hall, the threshold measures about half of a meter, which the local guide said was designed to show the family's lofty status in the village.

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