Dachang Ancient Town

Located in Wushan County, in the middle section of Daning River, the Ancient Town of Dachang is the only well preserved town in the Three Gorges Area of the Yangtze River. Built in the Jin Dynasty, it has a history of over 1,700 years. Although the site of many wars, it has retained much of its original appearance.


Covering ten hectares, Dachang Ancient Town has three well-preserved city gates. Steps from the south gate lead to the Daning River, which is the town's main link to the outside world. There is a stone lion on either side of the gate. A hundred-year-old locust tree arches over the gate. There are two main streets in Dachang: the first one, 150 meters long, runs from north to south. The second one, 240 meter long, runs from east to west. Traditional houses line both sides of this ancient town.

Ancient Architecture

The buildings of the town were constructed mostly with brick and wood. The buildings have double-layered eaves, three feet higher than the regular eaves. Most of the buildings were built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties with corniced eaves. Wen's family compound is the largest and best preserved. Built in Qing Dynasty by an official, it occupies an area of 383 square yards. The hall has three parts: entrance hall, main hall and rear hall, each open to the other. 12 poles and 37 girders in all support the building. The wooden window frames have ornate carvings.

Relocation of the Town

Because of the Three Gorges Dam Project on the Yangtze River, Dachang ancient town and its fertile lands would have been submerged. To protect and save this historic town, an ambitious plan was launched to move the three city gates, Wen's family compound and 37 other ancient buildings to a new site four miles away. Before the move, every brick, tile and pillar was marked for easy reassembly. Antique materials were used to replace those that cannot be moved. Some residents of the town have moved back, but others have relocated to different provinces. Now, visitors to the new town will still be able to see wine making, weaving and other arts, customs and traditions of the old town.

- Last updated on Aug. 02, 2022 -
Questions & Answers on Dachang Ancient Town
Asked by Peter D from AUSTRALIA | Apr. 20, 2014 05:58Reply
Is this the same "Dachang" that featured in a CCTV Channel 9 documentary?
I am a little confused. The one I saw did not appear to be relocated, although I only saw a small part of the documentary. Can you clarify that this is the only Dachang ancient town in China? The documentary focused on daily life in the village of mainly elder villagers. The township I saw on TV was in the mountains but I didn't catch any more details. It looked like a fascinating town to visit, much more authentic than other "ancient towns" I have visited in China. I am a frequent visitor to Yichang and would love to go to this place sometime!
Answers (4)
Answered by Adele from CHINA | Apr. 21, 2014 21:19

Is the town you saw on TV located near Three Gorges? If so, this is exactly the one! In that area, this is the only best preserved town just you said more authentic!
Answered by Peter D | Apr. 22, 2014 02:24

I did some further research and have since discovered that the "Dachang" in the CCTV documentary series is in Shanxi, near Yuxian County, 60 kilometres north of Yangquan city. By the way, the documentary series is, in my opinion, excellent and can be viewed via the CCTV 9 website and is well worth a look- fascinating people, buildings and environment. I would love to go there!
Answered by Adele from CHINA | Apr. 22, 2014 02:49

Oh, I see. It is Dapin Village in Yuxian County in Shanxi Province. In Chinese, 大汖村. Local people pronounce "Pin" as "Can" or "Chang". That is why you know that as Dachang Town! Well then, this is not the town the article describes.

Dapin Village has over 500 years old history till now. It is really a worth destination, showing typical Chinese famers' living . That is why it is presented on CTTV9 to the public!
Answered by Peter D | Apr. 22, 2014 04:46

Oh! I understand. No wonder I was confused! I had no idea about "pin" being pronounced in that way. I have a lot to learn about putanghua!
Thank you so much for your help, Adele!
Asked by Peter Leyden from NEW ZEALAND | May. 16, 2013 23:03Reply
We are in Zhangjiajie and wondering how to get to Dachang town without having to do a 3 day cruize up the Yangzi?
Answers (1)
Answered by Linda | May. 19, 2013 04:29

From Zhangjiajie, you can take a train to reach Yichang. At Yiyang Dock, you can find the turbojet to reach Wushan County. Upon reaching Wushan, you can take a local car to reach Dachang.
To be honest, the cruize is the most convenient method to reach Dachang.
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