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Ancient Towns of Xitang

Xitang is an ancient town in the north of Jiashan County. It has a peaceful and beautiful entironment, with flat terrain and netted rivers. It features huge area and a large number of bridges, lanes, and ceilinged corridors. What's more, other than the noisy commercial places of interest, Xitang offers pure scenery of a little town, making the tourists feel quiet and cozy.

Ceilinged corridors are the most special scene in Xitang construction. It was originally built to make convenience for the residents trading on boats by the side of the rivers. Each shop has a ceiling over the stone-plank road in front of its own house, and the ceilings connect with one another to form corridors, the longest of which is 1,300 meters, like a silk belt winding along the river. The ceilinged corridors are the main places at the Chaonanli and Beizhalan Street. Riding a bicycle along the ceilinged corridors, one will have a special sentiment. Standing under the ceilings, looking at the white walls at the other bank, looking at the masts and the green ripples, boats and the shadows of the bridges, one will revel in the beauty of the scenery.

The residential buildings were mostly built in the Ming and Qing dynasties. There are a total of 122 lanes, long and short, wide and narrow. Five of them are longer than 100 meters. Among all the lanes, Shipi Lane is the most famous. It is situated at the west side of Zhongfu Hall in the West Street, with a total length of 68 meters. The lane is about 1 meter at the widest but the narrowest point is only 80 centimeters. It is paved with 166 stone planks which are only 3 centimeters thick, which is really hard to be chisel from the granite. That is why it is called Shipi (the skin of the stone) Lane. Walking through the long quiet lane with stained tall walls is just like traveling through the town's long history in a spatio-temporal tunnel.

Xitang is a little town with an area of less than 2 sq. km. Nine rivers that run through the town divide it into eight parts, with 15 bridges of various shapes and structure connecting the parts, which becomes the enchanting sight attracting visitors far and near. Among the bridges, the oldest is the Sleeping Dragon Bridge built in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). 

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