Quanzhou Report

Updated: 2015-11-17 09:40

By Marcel Schneider(chinadaily.com.cn)

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Quanzhou Report

All participating nations take to the floor as a final thank you to the officials, fans, volunteers, and coordinators of the 14 Asia Arts Festival on Nov 8, 2015.[Photo by Marcel Schneider]

Located opposite the island of Taiwan, Quanzhou has blossomed into a charming destination of Chinese traditional culture and contemporary art. Although Quanzhou has so far mainly been marveled by Chinese tourists and art enthusiasts, the potential of the city for international tourism is great and definitely worth a visit. Early contact with the West and with other countries has fostered the diversity of cultural expressions.The attentive traveler's eye may notice numerous splendors, in particular a whole series of buildings on "West Street" (Xijie) that are reminiscent of Quanzhou’s remarkable past.On a warm autumn afternoon, an exploring spirit saddled my senses and took me on a journey through narrow allies and old courtyard houses made of bricks and wood, on which the shadows of the faintly falling leaves, gold and dark,were spinning their last pirouettes.

While I followed the light, opaquely colored ground in front of me, I caught myself peering through the open doors and windows facing the calm alleys. "To live in a courtyard house means to live in close relation with nature," explained Emily, my friendly guide who grew up in a courtyard house herself. "The weather, the seasons – everything becomes an essential part of your everyday life as it happens mostly outside. This kind of architecture strongly affects family bonds and the ties to your neighbors alike." As she goes on speaking, lively scenes unfold in my mind. "When I went to school in the morning, or came back home in the evening, I could smell the food the neighbors were cooking or hear them talking, fighting and spreading gossips. I somehow shared the personal stories of each household who lived along my way to school.It felt like we were living together!" Time stood still like the water in the wells. The sweet scent of flowers filled the air. Nothing seemed to bother either me or the people who were being completely aware of my curiousness and almost invited me to indulge in the purest, most defenseless form of voyeurism.

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