Antique town – Baoping Village
Hainan Province boasts dozens of villages that are somewhat “off the beaten path” and not overly commercial.
The so-called traditional villages are intangible heritage sites with precious historical, cultural, scientific, artistic, social and economic value.
Located 4 km southwest of Yacheng District in Sanya, Baoping Village was built more than 1,000 years ago during the Tang Dynasty. In ancient times, Baoping was a political, cultural and educational center of southern Hainan; it also had military importance. The town was once a destination for exiled officials and scholars.
Baoping Village is home to 210 ancient folk residences built with gray bricks, retaining their layout from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. These folk residences are typical courtyard houses. The inner buildings boast fine architectural techniques and feature ancient Chinese characters and western arts symbols.
In fact, the village is well known as a ‘village of scholars’ (贡生村). In ancient times, education was extremely important as a means of social mobility. In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Baoping witnessed a boom in cultural development and many outstanding scholars emerged.
Baoping Village is also the birthplace of Yazhou folk songs, which were been listed as a national intangible cultural heritage item. The Yazhou folk song is one of the ancient styles of Hainan folk song and is still popular today. The Yazhou folk song involves social activities, customs, marriage and love, which are valuable to tourism.
Nowadays, even through young people are moving out of the villages to look for jobs in the city, and only a small number of villagers remain in the village — mainly the elderly with their grandchildren — the village architecture somehow remains intact. The local tourism administration and the village head believe that the ancient village has tourism potential, and are redeveloping the area into a tourist destination, which they believe will benefit the local people.
For better preservation of these buildings, the local government has been working to identify and categorize the various structures and take protective measures since 2013. Renovation work on 10 of these residential buildings has been completed.
Blessed with nice scenery and rich cultural heritage, Baoping was listed as one of the Top Ten Cultural Villages in Hainan in 2008, and was later recognized as a national historical and cultural village in 2010.
SOURCE: WOS Team