• Registration Year

    1997

  • Registered Sector

    Old Town of Lijiang

  • Historical Function

    Administrative centre.

  • Administrative Status

    County town of Lijiang Naxi autonomous county.

Location and site

Lijiang is in the southwest of China in Yunnan Province, which borders both Tibet and Vietnam. The city lies on a plateau 2600 metres above sea level, beneath three mountains that follow the meandering Yangtze River.

Urban Morphology

Lijiang lies on the banks of the Yangtze River, and can be reached through numerous strategic mountain passes. The town is located in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Its altitude is 2600 metres, and it extends across a plain that is sheltered by the Xiangshan, Jinhong and Shizi mountains, which protect the town from sudden cold spells. The northern part of the historic town centre includes commercial areas that grew up along the main street, Sifangjie, the commercial hub of the whole province of Yunnan. In the eastern part of the city, which was largely destroyed, were the government offices dating back to the fourteenth century, and it was the Mu residential quarter.

The religious buildings lie 8 km to the north of the old city in the ancient Baisha quarter. They are particularly remarkable for their murals, painted at the beginning of the thirteenth century, offering precious insights into the lives of the Naxi people. The cultural richness of this minority people is also evident from the artistic sophistication of the houses. The half-timbered structures constitute a unique architectural style, while integrating certain elements of traditional Chinese architecture. Their wooden frames are built to withstand seismic tremors --- the most recent earthquake took place in February 1996. Every house is connected to a remarkable network of waterways supplied by the mountain springs. As there are so many canals and channels, there are also many bridges, which is why Lijiang is known as the "City of Bridges."

Registration Criteria

Lijiang is a town of exceptional antiquity in a spectacular landscape. It represents a harmonious blend of different cultural traditions which have given rise to a cityscape of remarkable quality. (Criteria ii, iv & v)

Historical Reference

  • The Lijiang Region has been inhabited since paleolithic times. It became a county during the Han dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD).
  • The city of Lijiang did not emerge until the thirteenth century when the Mu dynasty, which was in control of the region, decided to transfer its capital here. It was known at the time as Dayechang. Fortifications were begun at the foot of the Shizi Mountains, ramparts built and a trench dug around the city.
  • Lijiang was the administrative centre from 1250 onwards. Each succeeding emperor appointed Mu prefects as its hereditary rulers. The growth and enhancement of the town centre can be attributed to the Mu dynasty, which lasted until the eighteenth century.
  • When imperial representatives took over the administration of Lijiang in 1723, they built numerous prefectural offices, barracks and educational institutions, raising the town's status to county town of Lijiang. It maintained its administrative role throughout the period of the Republic and up to the present day.
  • Owing to its geographical position, Lijiang acts not only as an administrative centre but also as a centre of commercial and cultural exchange. Many ethnic groups such as the Tibetan, the Han, the Bai and the Naxi people have contributed to the town's prosperity and established a peaceful coexistence there.
Mr. Zheng Yi
Mayor of Lijiang
Lijiang Municipal People’s Government
Old Town District Fuhui Road
Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China
674100
Tel:
+86 888 5175330
Fax:
+86 888 5122722
Email:
alice6967@yahoo.com.cn
Mr. Jiang Li
Interpretor
Foreign Affairs Office

Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China
Tel:

Fax:

Email:
alice6967@yahoo.com.cn
Mr. Liwei Zhang
Lijiang Foreign Affairs Office
Fuhui Road
Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China
674 100
Tel:
+86.888 512-2722
Fax:
+86.888 512-2722
Email:
garry611@sina.com
Mr. Shiyong He
Director
Lijiang Ancient City Management and Preservation Committee
Old Town District 63, Jishan Lane Xinyi Street
Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China
Tel:
+86.888 510-1974
Fax:

Email:
garry611@sina.com
Lijiang - Лицзянь1