Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism
  • Potan Town
  • Potan Town
  • Potan Town
  • Potan Town
Potan Ancient Town
Name in Chinese :皤滩古镇
Opening Hours:8:00—16:30
Admission Fee:CNY 35
Address:Potan Village, Xianju


The Potan Ancient Town, 25km to the west of Xianju County, is the miniature version of ancient Chinese villages and towns in the south of Yangtze River, which also serves as the typical research material on the waxing and waning of the concept of the ancient Chinese village.

Despite going through a thousand years of changes and evolution, Potan preserved its 2km long dragon-shaped cobblestone ancient street. Alongside the street stand the ancient houses from Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, Qing Dynasties. The architecture style of “Three Tou Nine Mengtang” is the best illustration of the combination of sheer scale and exquisite layout. Tou means yard, and Mentang stands for central halls. The figures do not mean the exact number of the yards and the halls, but instead that there are many yards and halls in a big family house. From the street you can also see the Tongjiang Academy, where Zhu Xi once sent his son for education, and the Tang paper lamp, which was awarded a special distinction at the 4th International Exposition and Chinese Art Exhibition. You will be fascinated by the presence of so many historical art facts on the street.

Potan is also the point of confluence of the five brooks where Zhumu Brook, Wanzhu Brook, Jiuduken Brook and Youhuangyu Brook flow into the Yongan Brook. Due to this, there is a unique view of five reflections of the moon on the rivers’ waters. Potan is also significant for its connectivity for waterways and roads. The boats from Lingjiang and Yonganxi dock at Potan and the Cangling Ancient Road to the west of Zhejiang also starts from Potan. In terms of its centrality and importance as a transport hub, this town reached its peak in the middle Qing Dynasty. The town is built on a considerable scale. Alongside the main street there are various stands, shops, docks, inns, sport houses, gambling houses, schools and temples. In addition to the main water dock, there are another five docks. The town has seen some decline since the early days of the Republic of China on account of the change in the main transportation mode from roads and waterways to railway, and due to the occurrence of a few natural disasters. Although this place is no longer a hub for transportation, the ancient architecture style is still well preserved for visitors and researchers to appreciate and enjoy.