One of the most diverse cities would have to be Dali, which is regarded as the cultural and economic heartbeat of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture. It’s quite a cultural melting pot as there are approximately 25 different ethnic cultures here all living together as one. The mixture of different cultures in the city make for a fascinating way of life and it provides Dali with some wonderful charm and tradition.
The Dali city area is also filled with some fabulous natural beauty as it’s surrounded by majestic mountains to the south, east, and west. You’ll also find the spectacular Erhai Lake nearby. Most of the city’s popular attractions lie between Erhai Lake and Cangshan Mountain. These include the Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple and the Butterfly Spring.
(photo credit : jiazi )
One of the most exciting times of the year to visit is in the spring when Dali hosts several colorful festivals and celebrations which bring it to life. You’ll find that two of the most popular events are the Butterfly Fest and the March Street Festival. They both offer an excellent opportunity to soak in the local customs and traditions.
The first people believed to have settled here came about 4,000 years ago and their ancestry can be traced back to the Bai people. During the second century, the town was used by the Han Dynasty, which was present from 206 BC to 220AD. Two other ethnic states were established in the region hundreds of year later.
Down the years, Dali has always been known as an intermediary community which links cultural and economic communications between China and many other nations via India. If you head over to the Tai He City remains and Dali’s Ancient City, you’ll be able to see centuries of history in front of your eyes. If you’d like to learn more about the ancient customs and the daily life of the Bai people, two other places to visit are Zhoucheng Village and Xizhou Town.
However, while Dali has a rich and fascinating history, there are plenty of modern conveniences here as well. For example, the city is basically separated into two distinct areas, being the New District, which is referred to as Xiaguan, and the Ancient City. The Ancient City was originally constructed during the Ming Dynasty between the years of 1368 and 1644.
You’ll still be able to see old city walls, the moat, and the amazing ancient buildings. If you’re on the hunt for some local arts and crafts and cuisine, one of the best locations to explore is Foreigner Street, which is located inside the Ancient City. If you head south of the Ancient City, you’ll come to Xiaguan, which is where the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture’s government is based.
Inside of Dali, you’ll be greeted by numerous public squares as well as modern-day hotels and shopping centers, just to remind you that you are indeed still in the 21st century. The years have been kind to Dali and it has developed at a nice pace over the centuries. This has seen the local residents enjoy a wonderful standard of living and Dali become a beautiful, interesting, and enjoyable destination for visitors.