Situated in the western border area of Hunan Province, Fenghuang Ancient City is a famous historic and cultural city. It was ever praised as the most beautiful city in China by Rewi Alley, a renowned author in New Zealand.
Fenghuang Ancient City was originally built in the early Qing Dynasty and maintains its initial appearance after three hundred years of vicissitude. At present, the eastern and northern gate towers are well preserved. Classical characteristics can be found everywhere, including streets paved with bluestone blocks in the city, timber-frame stilted house at the riverside, as well as Zhaoyang (Rising Sun) Palace, Tianwang (Heaven Gods) Temple, Dacheng Palace, Wanshou (Longevity) Palace and other buildings.
Fenghuang Ancient City is divided into two parts: the old town and the new town. The old one leans against hills and faces the crystal-clear Tuojiang River flowing through the city. A rampart built of red sandstones stands by the riverside, and the Nanhua Mountain adds radiance to the age-old gate tower. The gate tower was built in the Qing Dynasty, with the rusted iron gate still retaining its imposing presence as usual. Over the vast river is a narrow wooden bridge with a stone pier. It is so narrow that two persons walking towards each other have to pass sideways. However, it was the only passage leading to the outside world. Outside the city there are Nanhuashan National Forest Park, Huangsiqiao Ancient Town built in the Tang Dynasty, the world-famous South Great Wall and other scenic spots.
Being endowed with beautiful scenery, Fenghuang Ancient City is also a famous historic and cultural city. From time immemorial, lots of virtuous and outstanding persons have been cultivated in the western area of Hunan Province. Among them is the great literary master Shen Congwen, who ever depicted in his works an incomparably beautiful world in the west of Hunan Province. It is based on Fenghuang Ancient City that this beautiful world was described. His works have been translated into many foreign languages, by virtue of which large quantities of readers around the world are deeply attracted by the elegant scenery and rustic folkway described in the work.