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Introducing Fènghuáng

Fènghuáng was once a frontier town, marking the boundary between the Han civilisations of the central plains and the Miao (苗), Tujia (土家) and Dong (侗) minorities of the southwest mountains. Protective walls went up in the Ming dynasty, but despite the implications Fènghuáng prospered as a centre of trade and cultural exchange. Its diverse residents built a breathtaking riverside settlement of winding alleys, temples and rickety stilt houses. Today, tourist development is taking precedence over careful preservation efforts, so see it before it crumbles away.