Introduction to Ciqikou Ancient Town (磁器口古镇)
Situated on the bank of Jialing River, not far from its confluence with the mighty Yangtze River, Ciqikou is an ancient town and formerly known as Long Yin. It was named as Ciqikou because this town had supplied large amount of porcelain dating during Qing and Ming Dynasty.
With an area of 1.5 square km with a population of 18,000 people, Ciqikou ancient town is a miniature of Chongqing as well as one of the few ancient towns located near the city center of big cities in China – only 14 km away from downtown Chongqing.
Chongqing itself has undergone changes over the centuries, changes that have not been reflected in Ciqikou with the consequence that the village conveys an impression of what Chongqing would have been like in the distant past. This fact has been recognized by the State Council and in 1998 Ciqikou was listed as a protected cultural site.
History of Ciqikou
Ciqikou can be dated back to more than 1700 years. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911) it has a great reputation as its production of porcelain. Until now, over twenty old kiln sites have been discovered there. It is because of the importance of the porcelain industry that the name has been changed from Long Yin to Ciqikou which had being translated means Porcelain Village.
However, the village was also an important supply post for shipping on the river, a fact that explains why there are so many shops lining the twelve lanes paved with their large flag stones that form the main routes. Here you will find many outlets for craftwork, groceries and the like as well as a horologist, photography supplies, drugstore and a tempting supply of roasted nuts and seeds. As one would expect there are also many teashops and restaurants to cater for the many visitors who come to see something of a way of life that has existed here for so many centuries.
Things to Do in Ciqikou Ancient Town
The three highlights of the Ciqikou old town are the teahouses, the foods and the Shu Embroidery workshops.
Surprisingly, there are more than a hundred teahouses each with their own characteristics. The locals like to chat or meet friends in the teahouses. Therefore, the teahouses offer the opportunity for visitors to meet the locals and become acquainted with the unique folk opera like Sichuan Opera.
Ciqikou is also the real place for tasting local three famous dishes which include Maoxiewang (spicy duck blood), Qianzhangpi (bean curd sheets), and Yanju Peanuts (salted peanuts). All these are very highly recommended, you will not be disappointed and will soon come to realize why they are so popular.
Shu Embroidery in the Ciqikou old town is also famous. Shu embroidery, renowned for its superb workmanship, is one of the four famous embroidery styles of China. Don't forget get it when you travel in this old town.
It is often said that a visit to China is a cultural experience. This is never more true than when you visit a place such as Ciqikou where you will find the local residents dedicated to their traditional way of life, unaffected by modern influences to be found in the larger towns and cities. Above all, you will find a friendly welcome awaits you as the people of Ciqikou share their special way of life with you for the duration of your visit.
1. Recommended duration for a visit is about 3 hours.
2. It is not recommended to visit there during “May 1st” and “October 1st” these two golden vacation weeks. Because at that time, the hotel reservation and transportation will be in its climax, the price will be much higher than ordinary times.