Lijiang Ancient Town

Lijiang is really two towns, two distinct parts divided by Lion Hill - the New Town, which came into being 43 years ago, and the Old Town, an 865-year-old architectural gem, although it looks like a huge inkstone, hence its name Dayan or Big Inkstone.
 
Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis and founder of the Mongol dynasty in China, came this way in 1253 on his conquest of Yunnan and established an administrative office which 23 years later became the Lijiang Military and Civil Protectorate . Thereafter the name "Lijiang" began to be used.
 
Dayan is the center of the Naxi people, the capital of the Lijiang Naxi Autonomous County, and a place of utter contentment, where birds chirp from their cages hanging from the eaves of the houses and gurgling branches wind their ways through the streets and lanes in every part of the Old Town.
 
With Sifang Street at the core, the entire city spreads out in all direction, and is crisscrossed by a labyrinth of flagged streets and alleyways. Most of the dwellings, scattered at the foot of a mountain or by the rivers which flow through every nook and corner of the city, are brick-and-tile structures with carved doors and painted windows. Traffic across the rivers is facilitated by a large number of tiny stone bridges.