Ancient Villages of Haikou

Bofu ancient village Haikou Hainan

 

Situated on the northwest outskirts of Haikou, Bofu Village retains much of its original appearance. Stone arches, cobbled streets, temples, ancient houses and other architectural monuments mirror the timeline of Chinese history over the last millennium.

Bofu ancient village Haikou Hainan (3)

 

By the side of the road on the east of the primary school there is an old well that is several hundred years old and still full of clear, cold water. In the middle of the village there is a Song Dynasty Huang(黄) family ancestral hall with a plaque inlayed in the wall giving its name as the “Fangtang Ancestral Hall” (方塘公祠).

 

Huang Fangtang , born in 1110 CE was the progenitor of the Huang family in Hainan and the hall was later erected in his honour. Born in Anhui Province, Fangtang passed the top level Imperial civil service examination when he was 17. After making a name for himself in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province he was sent to Hainan as an administrator by the Song Dynasty Gaozong Emperor( reigned 1127-1162CE). Fangtang chose Bofu Villages as his favored location to settle down and his descendants continue to live in the village to this day. Today the population of Bofu Village stands at around 2,000.

 

Botai Village Haikou Hainan

 

Botai Village, whose name in Chinese means “ abundantly safe”, lies in Xinpo Town in the Longhua District to the south east of Haikou. Dating back to the early years of the Song Dynasty (960-1279CE) the village has a history over 800 years. Botai’s population numbers about 560 people from 110 households and the village is one of the best preserved ancient communities in Hainan. The four ancient stone gates to Botai Village echo the passing of the years; together with the sturdy walls they make the village look just like an ancient castle and present an imposing spectacle to the visitor.

 

The village remains environmentally unspoiled with cobbled streets, houses more than 100 years old and many ancient relics shrouded in historical mystery. Over thousands of years the settlement has endured the vicissitudes of history but remains as pure and unadorned as it was in the distant past. Entering through the stone gates, one comes immediately face to face with distant history. These gates are perhaps the most particular feature of the village. Constructed from lava stone they are perfectly smooth with the joints between the blocks exactly aligned. About four meters high, each gate bears a stone tablet with the name of the village engraved in gold characters on a red background. The gates are fortified with crenelated battlements built by the villagers to provide a defence against raids by bandits in former times. Today they are in as good a condition as they were hundreds of years ago.

During the Qing and Ming Dynasties (1368-1911 CE) the population of Botai Village numbered many thousands. Over time, due to the ravages of disease and war, the number of inhabitants declined steeply so that by the time of liberation in 1950, the settlement had shrunk to about the size it is today.

In the village there are many trees producing a bumper crop of jackfruit, wampee, lychees, and betel nuts. There are also many ancestral tombs situated outside the city gate. Some of these date back to the Song Dynasty in the 12th Century and are in a very good state of preservation.

(c) Copyright tropicalhainan.com all rights reserved, images or text may not be copied in part or full without express permission in writing.