Three Lanes - Seven alleys
In the heart of downtown Fuzhou, instead of skyscrapers, you will find a large area of ancient residential buildings, a rarity in modern Chinese cities. This area is known as Sanfang-Qixiang, literally, ’’three lanes and seven alleys’’. It is an important symbol of Fuzhou’s history. The district was first developed in the late Western Jin Dynasty and during the Song dynasty the area was home to many scholar-bureaucrats and wealthy gentry. The area prospered in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, especially in the middle of the Qing Dynasty, when "Three Lanes and Seven Alleys" first appeared in local history.
There are about 150 ancient houses with complete courtyards, all under some measure of heritage protection. The history of Sanfang-Qixiang’s houses is in its very walls: the huge bricks are unknown in modern structures and, if you look at them closely, you will see tiny seashells embedded in them with the sand that was collected on the beaches to make the bricks. Also characteristic of the district is the north-south orientation of the dividing walls, the green-gray tiled roofs, the white walls and the twisting, bluestone-paved laneways. Unlike other houses in China, which have a flexible layout, the dwellings of Sanfang-Qixiang are symmetrically built around a central north-south axis.
Covering an area of about 40 hectares, Sanfang-Qixiang is regarded by many experts as a museum of Ming and Qing Dynasty architecture. The area is the scene of weekly performances of local opera by Fuzhou retirees.
West Lake Park was created during the Jin Dynasty (265-420) when Governor Yan Gao had water channeled down from the mountainous regions to the northwest in order to irrigate the fields. The large West Lake that was formed as a consequence has been a popular recreational destination ever since.
The still waters of West Lake are studded with islets, overlooked by pavilions, and fringed with winding long corridors. A variety of small amusements are available for visitors, including the Xie Ping Children’s Entertainment Park. A man-made dyke fringed with willow trees leads up to the pretty islet of Kaihua, on which visitors can find the Kaihua Temple, where exhibitions of flowers and plants are regularly shown. The Flying Rainbow Bridge and Stepping on Cloud Bridge lie nearby, the second of which leads to the Zoo. There are numerous pagodas on the water’s edge. One of these, the Lotus Pavilion, has a large square lotus pond at the base. There is also the Laurel Building, which includes a pavilion commemorating the suppression of opium by the Qing Dynasty official Lin Zexu.
We will be staying two nights in a beautiful hotel one the side of the West Lake. Each morning we will have groups exercises (your option) by jogging along the lake, walking around the lake or practicing Tai Chi with Grandmaster Sin along the lake.