Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism

A Millennium-Old Ancient Town Comparable to Suzhou


When is the best time to visit an ancient town? I think it is the rainy season when the rain is warm and humid, and the scenery is intoxicating as if you are walking into a Chinese traditional ink and wash painting. The millennium-old ancient town recommended today hardly appears on any popular town list, hence it manages to retain its authenticity. It is Minghe Ancient Town (鸣鹤古镇) in the Cixi City of Ningbo. The "Maritime Ceramics Road" originates here; China's traditional Chinese medicine industry takes root here; Minghe Confucian merchant culture was born here and nurtured a large number of famous scholars and businessmen...

Unlike other ancient towns built by the river in China, Minghe Ancient Town is built by a lake called Baiyang Lake (白洋湖), close to Wulei Mountain (五磊山). Its street was formed along the mountain and the town was formed around the lake. The millennium-old ancient temple Jinxian Temple (金仙寺) is located on the banks of Baiyang Lake. In the tranquil environment, you will hear a melodious peal of bells ringing out from ancient temples and see Rulai Pagoda standing on the lake... The ancient town isn’t that commercialized. The three-kilometer-long old street is still quiet and beautiful, carrying all the glory of the ancient town for thousands of years.

Jiangnan First Medicine Town

A record shows that in the early 1930s, of the 1000 residents of Minghe, 80% traveled to the south to do medicinal material business. At that time, dozens of medicinal material shops and hundreds of well-known brands were gathered in streets and lanes. The medicinal material merchants, who were always on the move, brought prosperity to the town.

Talents of traditional Chinese medicine gathered in Zhejiang and Minghe Town was regarded as the foremost. Famous national pharmacies such as Da Ren Tang in Tianjin, Ye Zhong De Tang in Hangzhou, Ye Tong Ren Tang in Wenzhou, and Zhen Yuan Tang in Shaoxing are all opened by Minghe people. The Chinese medicine legend Le Liangcai also came from Minghe and Tong Ren Tang in Beijing, known as "China's No. 1 pharmacy", was founded by his great-great-great-grandson Sun Lexianyang.

In the current Minghe Ancient Town, there are still a large number of mansions and courtyards built by Chinese medicine merchants of all dynasties. The Ye’s Chong Jing Tang (叶氏崇敬堂) House was once the meeting place for traditional Chinese medicine tycoons; During the Jiaqing year of the Qing Dynasty, the Zouma (Horse Walking) Building built by the son of traditional Chinese medicine tycoon Ye Xinju had two lanes and two floors, and there were corridors around the building. You can even ride horses inside the building, which is the most unique ancient building in the quadrangle dwellings in southern China.

Minghe Gourmet Food

Minghe is small, so small that you can walk around in an hour; Minghe is also big, so big that it can carry all childhood memories of Minghe people, especially those about food.

Rice Cake Dumplings年糕饺

Minghe has always been famous for making rice cakes, and there are rice cake shops everywhere in the ancient town. Locals like to make rice cakes into large dumplings, stuffed with various fillings: shepherd's purse with smoked bean curd, turnips, or sweet white sugar and sesame, bean curd candy, etc. One bite of it and you will be addicted to it.

Mouse Candy Ball老鼠糖球

The candy ball, with the golden color, the mouthfeel of maltose, a long tail at the end, looks like a mouse. Now there are fewer and fewer people who can master this craft, but in Minghe, you can still see it~

Plum Blossom Cake 梅花糕

For many people, Plum Blossom Cake is the best memory of childhood. The appearance is like a plum blossom as well as an ice cream. Featuring crispy skin, plump red bean paste filling, it is the most rustic delicacies.

Dongpu冻蒲

Dongpu is manglietia fordiana jelly, a must-have summer food. The crystal clear Dongpu, matched with sugar water and mint water, is extremely cool and the summer heat will go away once you have a bowl of it.


Travel guide

Tickets: free
Transportation information: The place is located in Guanhaiwei Town (观海卫镇), Cixi City, Ningbo City, 13 kilometers away from Cixi City, half an hour’s drive from the downtown; or take Cixi No. 226 bus in the city center and get off at the bus stop of Ming He Chang (simplified Chinese: 鸣鹤场; pinyin: ming he chang), which is about one and a half drive.