It was nice for the most part, though almost everywhere you looked someone was selling something. I looked around a bit and actually discovered they had a shop in one of the larger stalls that sold washers and refrigerators. Yeah, certainly the first thing I think of when I hear the phrase "ancient village" would be modern electrical home appliances.
The town did actually have some history to it, though. It was at the latest from the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911 AD... not to be confused with the dynasty under which China was first unified - the Qin, 221 - 206 BC), and it had for centuries been repeatedly destroyed somehow and then restored. In most places, the wood is the geniune article, with some examples about three centuries old including some beautifully carved window covers.
In fact, the town is still in use. Many of the shop vendors seem to live within the village. I took a quick peek or two into some open doorways out of curiosity (don't call me nosy when you know you would have done the same!!!) and saw people's living rooms with conveniences such as tvs, so people were definitely living there. There was also an elementary school at one edge of the town, and as we passed by a silk-making workshop we came to the gates of - what else? - a temple.
This particular temple had various signs pointing out the ages of the trees, especially one fairly wide tree that was used as part of the architecture of a smaller temple. I enjoy looking at textures and details, so looking at the form and roughness of the old trees was more interesting to me, though of course I couldn't help but think of the older and more impressive trees in a couple of my favorite places in the US...
We were led through the temple grounds to where the judgment hall, prison, and execution block were. Of course the old town's judgment court wasn't been used, but they've left certain elements alone for the tourists to understand what it might have been like.
The prison was somewhat dissected for tourists so that we could see inside (possibly without feeling claustrophobic). It looked as if prisoners might have been chained directly to the wall. The cells probably had been very dark and very damp; in summer they might have been tolerable, but there was no way the prisoners would've escaped the damp cold of winter, if they had been kept in there for very long.
We did go up and view the judgment seat, which apparently was the real McCoy, but once you turned around it was obvious where the executions were held by the obvious sight of the chopping block. Well, I don't know what the term is for it, but it reminds me of a regular cutting board.
When that highlight of our day was over, some of us wandered through the part of the village that was along the river.
A downstream view of the river from the bridge.
View of the bed from the side.
And then came one of the wierdest services available to tourists in China, or in Chengdu at least...
The star of this video is one of my schoolmates, by the way.
Some other vistas of the village you might like: