The Former Residence of Shen Congwen in Fenghuang County of Xiangxi Prefecture

The Former Residence of Shen Congwen

Shen Congwen’s former residence is located in Zhongying Street in the ancient city of Fenghuang. The former residence was the place where Mr. Shen Congwen was born. It is a courtyard house with rich features of Xiangxi and has obvious Ming and Qing architectural styles. Many people come to Phoenix for Mr. Shen Congwen, because many of the classic works that have flowed out from him are familiar to everyone. The former residence of the gentleman was once regarded as the “Confucian Temple of the South.” Every year, it attracts numerous literature lovers.

Why is Former Residence of Shen Congwen So Special

The former residence was the place where Mr. Shen Congwen was born. It is a courtyard house with rich features of Xiangxi and has obvious Ming and Qing architectural styles. In 1991, the former residence was listed as a cultural relic protection unit in Hunan Province. It now displays Shen Congwen’s ink, manuscripts, relics and remains. It is one of the famous cultural landscapes in Fenghuang County. On May 25, 2006, it was approved by the State Council to be listed in the Sixth Batch of national key cultural relics protection units. It is no exaggeration to say that the world knows Phoenix and understands Phoenix from Shen Congwen.

Introduction of Shen Congwen and His Former Residence

Shen Congwen’s former residence is located in Zhongying Street, Fenghuang Ancient City, Guizhou Province. On December 28, 1902, Mr. Shen Congwen was born in this typical courtyard of ancient Xiangxi. The courtyard was built after Shen Congwen’s grandfather Shen Hongfu (formerly governor of Guizhou Province in the Qing Dynasty) purchased the old residence and demolished it in 1866. It is a firebrick-sealed one-storey building. The courtyard is divided into two parts, one is a patio paved with square red stones, the other is a chamber on both sides, with a total of 11 rooms in size. The building is a bucket-through wooden structure with one bucket and one eye closure wall. Horsehead wall decoration of the aotou, carved doors and windows, small chic, antique. Mr. Shen Congwen spent his childhood and adolescence here. He left home at the age of 15 to join the army and tossed around in Western Hunan. At the age of 20, he left Western Hunan and began his life of learning and writing. 

Background of Fenghuang (Phoenix)County

Fenghuang, praised as “the Most Beautiful Town of China” by famous New Zealand writer Rewi Alley, is a small county renowned for its natural beauty, rich history and culture as well as colorful ethnic customs, located at south Xiangxi Autonomous Prefecture of Hunan province, China. Fenghuang means Phoenix in Chinese. Phoenix is a mythical sacred firebird in Chinese mythology representing good omen and longevity. Fenghuang town is given the name after Fenghuang Mountain which resembles Phoenix situated 50 miles away from it.

How to Get to Former Residence of Shen Congwen

Although there is no airport or train station in Fenghuang County, it is quite convenient to go to Fenghuang from nearby cities like Changsha, Huaihua, Jishou, Tongren and Zhangjiajie. The nearest airport Fenghuang Airport in Tongren City is only 34km away from Fenghuang County and the nearest train station in Jishou City is only 50km away.

  • From Changsha Changshan West Bus Station(长沙汽车西站)or Changsha Zhuran Bus Station(长沙株潭汽车站). The schedule might change sometimes, you may check the bus schedule before you book ticket.
  • From Huaiyuan Take High-speed trainU. pon your arrival in Huaihua, you need to transfer to Huaihua West Bus Station to catch a coach to reach Fenghuang, which will take 1 hour only. And the coaches set off every 2 hours from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm.
  • From Zhangjiajie: Take coach at Zhangjiajie Bus Station(near Zhangjaijie Train Station) to get to Fenghuang directly. But there are only two or three coaches leaving for Fenghuang every day. So you have to make reservation as early as possible.
  • From Tongren: near to Tongren Train Station, there are direct coaches leaving for Fenghuang, which runs from 7:30am to 4:30pm daily and takes about 1 hour only.

    Note: all the buses/coaches from other places will arrive at the North Bus Station of Fenghuang New Town(凤凰新城北汽车站), which still takes about 5 minutes’ driving to get to the ancient town area. You may walk or take a local taxi to get there. 

Travel Guide Accommodation in Fenghuang

Travel with China Dragon Tours(Top Recommended)

If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers sightseeing dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Former Residence of Shen Congwen with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing.

Independent Travel

There are a lot of choices for accommodation in Fenghuang, from well-equipped hotels to economic hostels. If you only accept well-equipped hotels, you can find them around the ancient town scenic area, within walking distance to the ancient town. If you want to save money and stay inside the ancient town scenic area, you can book a hostel inside the ancient town. There are a lot of hostels inside which is operated by local residents.

Main Attractions in Xiangxi Prefecture

Nearby Attraction

  • Yang Ancestral Memorial
  • Tuojiang River
  • Ancient East Gate
  • Miao Village

Edited by Lynette Fu/ 付云锐