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Dali old city of Yunnan Province

The old city Dali is also called Yucheng (Yu City). It locates at the foot of Cangshan Mountain in Yunnan Province, 300 kilometres northwest of Kunming, Dali City is the economic and cultural center of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture. The area is surrounded by mountains on the east, west, and south, and has the Erhai Lake in its center.

109534-00023 大理洱海湖畔

ID:109534-00023 The Erhai Lake   Picture Dong Rong


Present day Dali is a city that combines history with modern convenience. It is divided into two areas- the Ancient City and the New District (widely known as Xiaguan). The Ancient City is centered around the ancient city of Dali, first built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Ancient buildings, city walls and the old city moat are the sites most frequented by visitors. The famous Foreigner Street in the Ancient City attracts visitors with its handicrafts, and local culinary delicacies. Xiaguan, located to the south of the Ancient City, home to the government of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture. Here you will find 25 ethnic minorities, which have created a unique cultural heritage amidst the area's picturesque surroundings.

Dali City is the capital of Bai Autonomous Prefecture. So many Bai people live in Dali. They have the second largest population in Yunnan Province. Even in present days, they still keep ancient Bai people customs. So you can learn some cultures and customs here about them. Besides that, you can also taste some special foods and buy a few local handcrafts.

023-0752 白族服饰(云南大理)

ID:023-0752 Young girls of Bai people  Picture


109773-00687 大理崇圣寺三塔

ID:109773-00687 Three Pagodas (San Ta Si)   Picture Xiao Shenghe


Dali has an old town lying within fortified walls with impressive gates. It is pleasant to stroll the clean pedestrian streets. Outside the walls, many horses and horse carriages are available for a ride. Backpackers appreciate this town for the relaxing atmosphere and the food, not the least being the copious banana pancakes, a rarity in China. Outside of the old town, the most remarkable structure are the Three Pagodas (San Ta Si), erected in the 9th century. However, the main attractions might consist of the surroundings, including the 4000m high Cang Shan mountains, and the beautiful Erhai lake, where you can watch the old art of cormorant fishing.


Yunnan Dali Scenery
Dali has many beautiful types of scenery. Above all, the “wind” of Shangguan County, the “flower” of Xiaguan County, the “snow” of Cangshan Mountain and the “moon” of Erhai Lake are the best sights of Dali. All the four sights have their stories.

Wind: it’s said that a white fox loved a boy. So the fox became a beautiful girl to fall in love with the boy. A master in Luoquan Temple of Erhai Lake wanted to break their relationship, so he pushed the boy into Erhai Lake. With the help of Buddha, the girl took the six bottles of winds to save the boy. Due to the master’s prevention, she broke five bottles of winds and the winds spread widely especially to the Xiaguan County. From then on, Xiaguan County’s wind is always blowing strongly.

023-0732 云南大理古城

ID:023-0732 Dali old town    Picture


Flower: there is an old flower-tree named “Ten Miles Sweet” that was planted by fairy Lvdongbin. The Bai people couldn't bear the local officials pretending to appreciate the flower everyday, while their true purpose was to eat and drink without paying any money. So Bai people cut all the Shangguan flowers. But it’s surveyed that these flowers are lotus flower. You can see them everywhere in Dali.

Snow: a long time ago, many people got plague that some gods of plague brought in. In order to save the panicking people, a brother and a sister fought bravely with the gods of plague. At last, they won. And the sister became a god of snow on the top of Cangshan Mountain to suppress the god of plague. From then on, Cangshan Mountain was covered by abundant of snows forever. In fact, the reason is due to the high altitude and low temperature of Cangshan Mountain.

Cangshan Mountain
Moon: every year, in the evening of mid-autumn day, Bai people will take a boat to the middle of Erhai Lake to appreciate the moon. This custom also comes from a legend. A fairy princess admired the people’s life, so she married a fisherman near the Erhai Lake. In order to help fishermen prosper, the princess sank her magic mirror into the seabed to reflect all the fish to the fishermen clearly so that fishermen could capture more fish. From then on, the magic mirror became the moon.

023-0720 云南大理古城五华楼

ID:023-0720 Dali old town    Picture


Dali Entertainment
Not only Chinese people, but also foreign tourists are attracted by Dali in Yunnan province. They are so absorbed in the ancient customs and the historic culture that they even aspire to live in Dali for a long time. Gradually, there is a road which is full of western tourists inside of Dali City named “Yangren Street (Foreigner Street)”.


If you like shopping, Huguo Road is your best choice. This place gathers a variety of crafts and textiles made by local Bai people. Many antique shops will give you some extra surprises. I think these things are worth of seeing and buying as the souvenirs of your visit to here. Apart from that, there is a village named Zhou City around Butterfly Stream. If you have enough time, you can go and visit it. This place is famous for dyed cloths and seals.


As we know, ethnic minorities are always hospitable and good at dancing and singing, so tourists often have many chances to see their performance. If you like, you can join them and dance with them. As for many western tourists, they are accustomed to choose a better place to drink some beers and chat with friends comfortably, and the cafes and bars on Foreign Street is a perfect place to do so.


001-4916 云南大理江畔渔船

ID:001-4916 Beside Erhai Lake    Picture


023-0706 云南大理古城城楼

ID:023-0706 Dali old town    Picture


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(Article Resource:
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