Attraction 18 Yuanbao Street, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou 310002, China Published on: 30-07-2016
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Why Former residence of Xueyan Hu is special ?
Hu Xueyan (1823-1885), a local celebrity, one of the richest and most famous businessmen in Qing Dynasty. He started his business under the Governor Wang Youling’s support, in the fields as food, real estate, hock, weapon, silk, medicine; after his success, he donated much money and helped a lot to the Qing government. Because of this relationship, Hu was renowned in the country and was called Hongding merchant. His legendary life was mostly related with the destiny of late Qing dynasty. In 1872, Hu Xueyan spent 100,000 liang silver to build a house at the very prosperous site in Hangzhou – Hefang Street. The house was Chinese style, with many pavilions, booths, bridges, rockeries, but bigger and more luxurious: ingenious brick engraves, wood engraves, stone graves scattered many where; many high class trees like purple sandalwood, gingko decorated the courtyard. The whole architecture was artfully designed and distributed, and considered the No. 1 house owned by merchant in late Qing Dynasty.
What to explore at Former residence of Xueyan Hu?
Glimpse into Wealthy Merchant Life
To enter the residence, you will pass through a secluded alley. It has a history of 120 years, called Yuanbao alley. It is necessary to remind that if paying attention to the alley, visitors will find there is a pattern on it. Right, it is a pattern of shoe-shaped ingot.
The shoe-shaped ingot stands for fortune in China. It shows how importance Hu Xueyan attached to his business and it is not hard to know why he can reach the successful achievement.
After entering the front door, there is the sedan chair hall, in other words, it is the parking lot. The sedan chairs are made from ginkgo wood. What right above it is the plaque saying “mian shan cheng rong” written by Royal Emperor Tongzhi.
Behind the front door comes the second door. On the left hand is a garden of south of Yangtze River style named Zhiyuan Garden, while on your right hand is the living quarters with brick engraves and wood engraves. And all the glasses are imported colorful grind glasses which have been used over 100 years.
Traveling in the residence, all of the surroundings are towers, rockeries, corridors, pavilions, exquisite decorations, and visitors always hesitate what to begin with. What have to be mentioned is the Huijn Hall, which is a place built for Hu to see opera.
Other than the Chinese traditional building, it is interesting to see the western-style chandeliers glorifying the main hall. The Yinglian Hall was a place to receive the foreign guests. In the hall, there are several chandeliers imported from Japan and two large full-length mirrors imported from Europe. From the scale we can see how luxury the building is.
Watch the Tidewater
It is said that the Hall is the highest building during the Hu’s era so that the Qiantang River Flows can be watch on the top of the hall. It is why the Wangjiang Road out of the residence got its name.
Visit the Attractions Nearby
Nearby the Former Residence of Hu Xueyan, the Hefang old street, the Dajing alley and the West Lake are worth to visit. Especially the West Lake is famous for its gorgeous sight.
How to get to Former residence of Xueyan Hu?
- From the bus station: bus No.1, No.5, No.7
- From the train station: bus No.1
- Taxi: The starting taxi fare is 10Yuan for 3 km, 2Yuan/km for the journey over 3 km and 3Yuan/km for the journey over 10 km.
18 Yuanbao Street, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou 310002, China
This house is hidden away. We arrived by taxi but still had to ask someone how to find the entrance which is around back. I did not have tour guide, but it might have helped.
RMB20 entrance fee - difficult to find - we were dropped off at what we now know to be the exit (small corridor selling souvenirs). The entrance is on the left on the side street which runs alongside the small canal. Due to the hot weather it was nearly empty. There is a very impressive underground cave system (take care on the slippery stone steps) and the garden is very pretty. Unfortunately a few rooms were not open for viewing and what was open is very sparsely decorated. There is a book at the exit which shows the residence in earlier days with more rooms opened and more antiques on display. Still, worth a visit. Itâ€™s a little quieter than other attractions.
This lovely home of a resident of Hangzhou who was incredibly wealthy, had 13 wives and 19 children and started a Chinese pharmacy for the poor, worth a visit
I love old historical houses and this one did not disappoint! After a walk on the Su causeway we had our taxi driver take us to the Xueyan Hu Former residence where he waited for us. The small doors to enter open into a small couryard and then lead to the amazing parts of the enormous house. Lots to see and they are still doing renovations. Loved the architecture and the gardens. A wonderful visit.