Dali Xizhou Town 喜州

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Xizhou Town 喜州

Thirty-three kilometers from Xiaguan and by the side of Erhai Lake lies the town of Xizhou. Historically, it was a military fortress of the ancient Nanzhao Kingdom as well as the Nanzhao King’s temporary palace. Because of its favourable geographical situation, before 1949 the town used to be a commercial center that was home to more than 140 national capitalist families including the successful Yan, Dong, the Yin and Yang families. In recent years, streets and roads have been widened, new markets have been established, and a scene of prosperity prevails. In 1988, one of the Yang family’s compounds was opened to foreign visitors and was called "Xizhou Tianzhuang" (Countryside Villa at Xizhou) by the Tourist Bureau of Dali Prefecture.
Xizhou traditional houses are built in typical Bai style, called "Sanfang Yizhaobi", which is a courtyard rooms on three sides and a screen wall on the remaining side. Another Bai architectural design is called the "Sihe Wutianjing", which is composed of one big courtyard with four smaller ones at the four corners of the main one. Xizhou Town is composed of more than 88 compounds of this kind. Some have several yards and some have yards within yards. These houses often have painted roofs and pillars, upturned eaves, and "dougong" systems (double bow-shaped brackets on columns supporting upturned eaves), which are unique to the Bai minority.
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