Ciqikou Ancient Town in Chongqing
Ciqikou Ancient Town is located beside Chongqing city. It used to serve as a goods unloading dock. The town has more than a dozen streets and it is filled with ancient Ming Dynasty architectures. You can walk along ancient paths, taste local food and snacks, and chill in a teahouse to feel the ambience of old Chongqing. As the town is very close to the urban area, it is a popular attraction for urbanites' recreational activities.
English Name: Ciqikou Ancient Town in Chongqing
Chinese Name: 重庆磁器口古镇
Opening Hours: All day
Admission Fee: Free
Type: Historic Sites, Sights & Landmarks, Ancient Town
Best Time: March to May, September to November
Recommended Visiting Hours: 3 hours
Address: 14 km W of Chongqing, Chongqing 400030, China
Ciqikou Ancient Town
Ciqikou (Chinese: 磁器口; pinyin: Cíqìkǒu; literally: ‘Porcelain Port’) is an ancient town in the Shapingba District of Chongqing Municipality, People’s Republic of China. It was originally called Longyinzhen (simplified Chinese: 龙隐镇; traditional Chinese: 龍隱鎮; pinyin: Lóngyǐnzhèn) and was also known as Little Chongqing.
According to an old Chinese proverb: “One flagstone road, and one thousand years’ Ciqikou”. The name of the town can be traced back to porcelain production during the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing Dynasties. Formerly a busy port located at the lower reaches of the Jialing River, a thousand years after its foundation the town remains a symbol and microcosm of old Chongqing.
Introduction of Ciqikou Ancient Town
Ciqikou is located on the west bank of the Jialing River and covers an area of 1.18 km2 (0.46 sq mi). Three mountains, Mount Jingbi, Mount Fenghuang and Mount Ma’an lie in Ciqikou, whilst Fenghuang Quan and Qinshui Quan run across it. The geography of Ciqikou is considered to have perfect Fengshuiby the local people.
According to historical records, Ciqikou was first built during the reign of Emperor Zhenzong of Song (r. 998–1004). It gained prominence during the Ming Dynasty as a commercial port and market town, shipping goods both by land and water. Reaching its climax during the end of the Qing Dynasty, the town has been described poetically, in Ciqikou, as “one thousand people greet each other during day … ten thousand lamps flicker at night”.
Travelers to Chongqing and locals alike throng to Ciqikou’s steep and narrow pedestrian streets. Shops sell porcelain, other handicrafts, and gifts, while restaurants and tea shops give visitors a look at what many areas of Chongqing were like before the metropolis became the vast urban agglomeration it is today. A 1,500-year-old Buddhist temple straddles the mountain in the middle of the old town.
Ciqikou is the source of Baci culture. Many well-known people lived here during the Second Sino-Japanese War, including Guo Moruo, Xu Beihong, Feng Zikai, Fu Baoshi, Ba Jin, Bing Xin, etc. Ding Zhaozhong, a Chinese-born American scientist, studied here for many years during his childhood.
The ancient town abounds in customs, many of which have lasted till now. These include baibazi, xingbang, family’s ancestral temple, Pao Brother, temple fair, dragon dance, dragon boat race, friends of Sichuan opera, chuntai drama as well as pingshu and teahouse culture.
Chongqing is known for its wide variety of local food traditions, especially the ubiquitous, spicy “hotpot”. Ciqikou is 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.
- The compound of Zhong’s (pinyin: zhōng jiā yuàn)
This is compound is more than 120 years old. It was built by a late Qing Dynasty eunuch by the name of Zhong Yunting (钟云亭; Zhōng Yúntíng), who served on the staff of the notorious Empress Dowager Cixi of the Qing dynasty. Traditional Chinese architectural designs used in both the North and the South are featured in this heritage compound.
- Bayu Dwellings Collection (巴渝居民馆; bāyú jūmínguǎn)
Visitors walking into the hall and courtyard—and across the separation of time and space—of Bayu Dwellings, built of timber, stone and brick, experience an unmistakable sense of peace.
- Bao Lun Buddhist Temple (宝轮寺; Bǎolún sì)
The Jianwen Emperor of the Ming Dynasty spent the rest of his life living at this temple after he was ousted from Beijing and went into exile. The four large Chinese characters “大雄宝殿” (dà xióng bǎo diàn) hanging on this temple was written by Zhao Puchu (赵朴初; Zhào Pǔchū), a famous Chinese calligrapher who served as the president of China’s Buddhist Society. The main building at the temple was built 600 years ago during the Ming Dynasty and is characterized by its splendor. The whole building was constructed without using a single nail and is regarded as a miracle in China’s architectural history. Buddhist believers flock to this temple to pray and undertake other Buddhist activities year in year out, particularly during China’s Spring Festival.
- Han Lin Academy (翰林学院; hàn lín xué yuàn)
The Han Lin Academy in Ciqikou used to be a school, operated by a sun family during the Qing Dynasty. The family’s offspring studied there, and three of them, including two other students, were awarded the Qing Dynasty regime in recognition of their outstanding performance in a national examination organized by the Qing Dynasty’s Ministry of Education. In large part due to this reputation, the Han Lin Academy in Ciqikou brought together many local academics and students at the time.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Ciqikou ancient town is Spring and Autumn.Cixikou ancient town has a subtropical humid monsoon climate with an annual average temperature of 18 ℃. January is the coldest time, July to August is the hottest time. So spring and autumn are the most comfortable seasons. The most beautiful time of the day is morning and dusk. Chongqing is also called “furnace” because it is very hot in summer.
How to Get There
Ancient Town of Ciqikou is 3 km away from Shapingba, taxi fare takes 5 Yuan. Taking minibus or No.220 public bus for 10 minutes can reach Ancient Town of Ciqikou from Shapingba, the fare is1 Yuan. Tourists from Beibei direction can get off at the Jinrong Gate to enter into the town.
- Take metro line 1 and get off at Ciqikou Station.
- Take bus 202, 220, 224, 237, 261, 467, 503, 808, or 843 and get off at Ciqikou Main Entrance.
Useful Travel Tips
- Ticket Information
The town is free to enter and open all day long, but some tourist attractions inside may charge admission fees. The ticket price of Baolun Temple and Zhong’s Compound is CNY 5 for each.
- There is no public toilet in Ciqikou Ancient Town, and you can use the toilets at the locals’ home. Well, it will charge ¥1 or ¥2 depending on the actual situation.
Most tourists will not stay overnight in Ciqikou for it will only need about 3 hours to visit it. However, if you plan to experience the ancient town with a slower pace, then you can accommodate in the youth hostels in the ancient town. The hostels in the town are decorated with an antique and unique style, with full facility and, very comfortable and cozy.
- The area is a pedestrian area.
- There are more rustic buildings and older looking streets away from the entrance. You can walk south along the main street away from the entrance and leave behind the crowds of tourists.
Main Attractions in Chongqing
- Zhuoshui Ancient Town in Qianjiang District
- E’ling Park (Goose Neck Park) in Chongqing
- Three Gorges Museum in Chongqing
- Ningchang Ancient Town in Wuxi County
- Kanggu Scenic Area in Chengkou County
- Longgang National Geopark in Yunyang County
- Huaxia Peony Garden in Dianjiang County
- Chiyou Jiuli City in Pengshui County
- Hong’an Ancient Town in Xiushan County
- Qianye Grassland in Shizhu County
- Taohuayuan Scenic Area in Youyang County
- Dazu Rock Carvings in Chongqing