“In the early summer, the weather was refreshing and the grass did not wither because of sun exposure” (a rough translation of two lines from a poem by Xie Lingyun, a poet of the Song Kingdom (420-479) in the Southern Dynasties). In the late spring and early summer, the Beijing Kaiwen Academy (KWA) secondary school students made a long-awaited spring tour to Cuandixia Village on May 11, 2018. Led by teachers, the students visited this historical and cultural ancient village nestled in a deep mountain gorge in western Beijing. While embracing nature and admiring distinctive ancient buildings, the students experienced its long history and profound culture, and received a revolutionary traditional education.
After arriving at the village at about 10:00 a.m., the students, forming seven orderly teams, followed the narrator into this “Pearl of Ancient Culture” embedded in the high peaks and deep valleys. Upon entering the village, the students were attracted by a stone tablet inscribed with a Chinese character “爨” (cuan). The narrator explained the character’s origin and Cuandixia Village’s history.
Behind the stone tablet was a courtyard complex, where the students learned about ancient Chinese architectural styles, hierarchical systems, and customs through visits to a wealthy person’s residence and unique gatehouses. Further into the village, a wall engraved with three historical relics came into the students’ view. “The frescoes on the wall were from the Qing dynasty and the black wreckage at the bottom was due to an incident during the Japanese War period,” said the narrator. Through the narrator’s explanations, the students learned that Cuandixia Village was not only an important military passage that connected the capital to the frontier, but also a red cultural base in China’s modern times where important historical events such as the Nanpoliang and Laofenkou Mine battles took place.
After that, the students visited Dawujian, Bandamen, Zebra Rock, and the well-known scenic spot “Thin Strip of Sky” where various movies and television plays such as “The Warlords” and “Mobile Phones” were shot. The students climbed high to a secluded place accessible only through a winding path, looked far into the distance, and enjoyed the precious tranquility.
At the end of the trip, the students tasted authentic farm food there. The trip coincided with 7th grader Qian Yuting’s birthday. The students celebrated this unforgettable birthday with him. This pleasant spring tour ended with the singing of “Happy Birthday.”
KWA has always stressed an educational style that combines book knowledge with practice and teaches through lively activities. In the future, KWA will organize more innovative practical activities to allow students to step out of the campus and enjoy China’s cultural charm. Stay tuned for the upcoming KWA primary school spring tour.