Recently we had the opportunity to visit a very unique location in Chongqing. It is called Ciqikou (sitcheekoo). This ancient village is over 1700 years old and it was famous for its production of porcelain. It is located on the Jia Ling River and was also used as a shipping port. Over the years the porcelain industry has faded and Ciqikou has turned into a tourist spot and a place for locals to setup their own shops and sell a variety of gifts and souvenirs.
The architecture and ancient feel of the village has been preserved. As you walk along the flag stone paved streets you can find hand-painted art, traditional Chinese clothing, tea houses, scarves, photographs, jewelry, embroidery workshops, assortment of local food, musical instruments, carved bamboo pieces and so much more. I had the opportunity to go with a group of friends two weeks ago and we purchased outfits for our children to wear at a upcoming Chinese New Year party at school. My good friend Nikki purchased a beautiful embroidered print of pandas. The framed artwork was 6'x2'. At the end of the day four of us carried the artwork up over our heads through crowded streets and alleys to our car waiting outside the village.The locals were throughly entertained by the silly American women hauling this artwork all on their own.
Then a week later I went back with Chris, the kids, Takila (our Chinese tutor) and Mr. Xiang. We had a hands-on Chinese lesson at Ciqikou with Takila. We learned some new phrases and words specific to that area. And she shared many Chinese traditions with us.
On the main street of the village with Jessica (left) and Alison (right).
Wall of Chinese proverbs.
Alison and I stopped into this postcard shop. We bought some postcards and on our way out signed our name on this wall of signatures and message from visitors who can been there before.
Chongqing is decorated with these red lanterns for Chinese New Year. They are everywhere and it's beautiful.
Artisan making glass figurines and jewelry.
Peppers, peppers and more peppers. Locals like their food spicy.
In the middle of Ciqikou is a temple. You can pay 5rmb (less than $1) to walk up to the temple and sit inside and kneel before a Budha statue and make your wishes for good things in the coming year. Locals come here 2-3 times a year to make their wishes and light candles.
On the way up to the temple Casey and Jake put money into a small crevices of this statue and made a wish (similar to our wishing ponds).
Tradition is for men (boys) to enter and exit the temple on the left side of the doorway with their left foot first, and women (girls) to enter and exit on the right side of the doorway with their right foot first.
Jake and Casey at the top with our Takila.
Looking down at the Ciqikou village and Jia Ling river is on the left.
Along the river there is a food court type area and also a kids area with bounce house, rides and carnival games.
Deep fried Chinese cookies called ma hua.
This guy is making potato noodles. The pot in front is the noodle batter. He puts the mixture (very thick) into the strainer. He then pounds the noodle batter through a strainer and long noodles droop and hang then he cuts them off and they fall into a pot of boiling water. They cook for 2 minutes then he pulls them out and puts them into the other pot of water. They sit there until they are sold.
This is one of my favorite spots at Ciqikou where you can purchase sugar art on a stick. The technique of making these masterpieces is incredible. I could sit and watch for hours.
Ciqikou is a place we'll visit often.