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International Fairy Tales and Historical Village
Post Time: 18/09/2017

The floral path has never been swept for a guest,

Today for the first time the rough gate opens for the gentleman


       Mirroring Du Fu's verses from “A Guest Arrives,” the 970-year-old historical village of Shangjing had its alleys and lanes cleaned and decorated with flowers and plants to welcome the arrival of 48 international guests.

      Immersed in the delightful atmosphere of having “friends coming from distant quarters,” the village will host the participants of the Jinhua Homestay who will work for the development of tourism in the area. On September 10, work on the Fairy Tales Trail project began.

       Vishakha Patil, an Indian participant majoring in landscape design, is one of the members of the Fairy Tales Trail group. As soon as she arrived in Shangjing, she immediately went to visit the remains of Yuanji Hall, the site where the International Garden will be built. Upon seeing the location, which has deep cultural and historical import, the group members began to vividly discuss and exchange ideas about the project.

      “We hope we can preserve and restore both side walls of the ruins. Many may consider this a very difficult task, but it cannot be denied that these walls have witnessed hundreds of years of history.” This statement proved to be a common point for the whole group. On the afternoon of September 9, the international participants of the Shangjing session of the JH gathered in Chongli Hall – the location designed as Salon Area for the project – to conduct workgroup discussions about the fairy tales trail project. Story by story, fairy tales from all over world came together.

       The Fairy Tales Trail will consist of three major sites in the village: the International Garden at Yuanji Hall, an explorative and interactive trail through the village, and a special trail in the village's bamboo forest. The draft plan for the International Garden includes a number of fairy tales of different kinds and from different countries exhibited on the ruins of Yuanji Hall, which will be restored accordingly. The bamboo forest will become a retreat location from which it will be possible to enjoy the quiet atmosphere of Shangjing. The interactive trail will present different tales – The Three Little Pigs and Sleeping Beauty, among others – in various forms and will include audio-visual effects. The primary aim of this project is to provide children with a fun way of learning about fairy tales, nature, and historical villages.

     After the preparatory discussions, the 30 member of the Fairy Tales Trail group gathered at Yuanji Hall and began the practical work of cleaning up the ruins and preparing the site for the final realization of the project. The result was a busy scene in which people were climbing on ladders, working with shovels, sweeping mud and trash, and moving wheelbarrows. Ruth Weissenburger, a German participant, was thrilled at the idea of working on this type of project during the JH. As a sculptor, the magnificence of Shangjing offers her a lot of inspiration to produce new work to leave with the village. She hopes that each participant will find a way to leave the village something individually created for Shangjing.

     As a matter of fact, each session of the JH has brought about significant changes and improvements to both the host village and its surroundings. For instance, in October 2015, the second session of the JH was held in Siping, a neighboring village of Shangjing. Since the Siping session of the JH, the touristic fame of the western area of Jinhua started to increase. Two years later, the sixth session of the JH was held in Shangjing, making it possible to inaugurate an international historical chapter for the. (By Wang Lei, translated by Marco Lovisetto, edited by Xiamara Hohman)

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