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Heijing is history preserved between folds of hills. If you wanted to experience a medieval town amidst China’s urban jungle Heijing will not disappoint you. You can walk up cobbled roads to stone roofed houses and ancient temples which have become unusual landmarks after the Communist Revolution. Located in the northern Chuxiong mountains, Heijing was a prosperous mountain town in the Han dynasty. Heijing village or “Black Well” village earned its name from an ancient well whose water was used in crystallizing salt. Many other wells in the region which produced black salt gave the town its fame and wealth. You can still learn about the history of salt production and check old salt production techniques at the ancient salt mills dotting the village. From Heijing the salt travelled all over central Yunnan, supplying Kunming and the east. Salt was big business for caravan merchants in Yunnan.

Back in the Han dynasty, the Chinese government had discovered that salt was an easy way of collecting head tax, particularly in a province that was little under central control. Salt production which was in the hands of a few salt merchants directed the salt mining and the caravan merchants. These merchants and officials in charge of collecting the salt tax made fortunes through the trade making for a prosperous town. Visitors are welcome to this ancient town for an entry fee and can take a look at Buddhist and Taoist temples and several cultural relics from the Ming and Qing dynasty which include stone carvings, monuments, archways, ancient buildings and tombs.

Don’t forget to pick up a compressed bowl shaped chunk of salt as a souvenir from your trip.

Minds Abroad is a Chinese Language School based in Kunming offering
Chinese Language Programs, Summer Programs for High School Students
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