Sights

The elegant white Tuányún Pagoda is the definitive image of Xīnyè and a good place to start a tour of the village. Built in 1567, the seven-storey tower symbolises hopes by its architects for a 'meteoric rise' for the village and generations to come. It's located near the tourist centre and next to Wénchāng Hall, another noteworthy attraction. The latter contains a portrait of Confucius and an adjacent shrine (土地祠; tǔdì cí) to the village god (for good harvests). Smudged red Maoist slogans add their own narrative. Not far away, the Xīshān Ancestral Temple is the highest-ranking ancestral temple in the village and dates to the Yuan dynasty.

The Hall of Good Order is central to the village; its front door does not open so its accessible side door faces out onto pyramid-shaped Dàofēng Mountain (道峰山; Dàofēng Shān), across the waters of half-moon shaped South Pond (南塘; Nántáng), from where eight alleys radiate out through the village. Originally built in 1290 and rebuilt during the Republic, the hall contains some astonishing wood carvings of a deer, small birds and a monkey in the trees. At the end of the day, sit out next to the pond and watch old folk gathering to chat.

Shuāngměi Hall is another lovely wood-panelled structure containing intricate and exquisite carvings above pillars. At the time of research, Chóngrén Temple, located next to Half Moon Pond (半月塘; Bànyuè Táng), was undergoing reconstruction.

The village is signposted in Chinese; you can get a map at the tourist centre. The admission fee covers all the village sights; hold onto your ticket for entry.