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Dukezong Old Town

Published time:2021-09-22 21:21Readers:

       Dukezong Old Town was once the biggest and best-preserved Tibetan residents in China. It was the transportation hub of the Ancient Tea Route. It is located in Shangri-la county. It has a history of over 1300 years and a center of economy and culture among Tibet, Yunnan and Sichuan
  The name Dukezong in Tibetan language has two meanings: one is a castle built on the rock, the other is moonlight city. When the old town was being built, they obtained raw material locally. There is a kind of white clay being used to paint the outer wall. Therefore, the residents paint all the outer walls in white. The style still remains today. In the night, the moonlight shines on the white walls, which makes the town more charming.
  Dukezong is a key point for Han-Tibetan exchanges. As one of the oldest towns in the region, it is also known as the 'footstep of Shangri-La'. According to Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, there is a lost city called Shambhala in the Snow Mountains, shaped like an eight-petal lotus flower. The 1.6-square-kilometer Dukezong Old Town  is also laid out in this design. All 1,084 of its houses radiate out from Turtle Hill at the center, arranged in conformity with Tibetan Buddhist geomantic theory.Tibetans regard the shade of white as a sign of respect for their forefathers, the ancient Qiang people, who worshipped white stones. Shortly after the town was established, craftsmen found white clay in the region that could be  used as paint. All dwellings were accordingly painted white. This is why Dukezong Old Town was named white stone city.
  The old Tibetan way of life, as well as dwellings, are well-preserved in Dukezong Old Town. Tibetan chess is played in local households as it has been for the past 1,000 years, and horse bells still tinkle along the ancient caravan path. Bonfires that are lit in the town square every night illuminate local musicians as they sing to and play traditional stringed instruments.
  It's so sad that this exotic ancient town got devoured by a huge fire on Jan. 11, 2014. Half of the ancient town got devoured in the fire, including important cultural relics, precious Tibetan thangka, artworks and a number of ancient attractions. What a pity! The whole Dukezong old town has been blockaded and tourists are not permitted to enter. Although half of it was burned into ashes, there were still many precious historical heritages rescued. The local government has stated that the reconstruction work will start before long. The home of Dukezong habitants will be repaired and restored in the future.