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Eastern China's most rural province, Anhui has a rugged terrain that forces families to fight their hardscrabble farmland for every acre of harvest. Today it remains significantly poorer than its neighbors, with an average income half of that in neighboring Zhejiang. But what Anhui lacks in material wealth it makes up for in splendid natural landscape. Travelers here enjoy countryside largely untouched by the last century. Near Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), towering granite peaks loom over green fields, and round-shouldered water buffalo plow the flooded rice paddies.
The foothills of Huangshan have a remarkable wealth of historical architecture. Tiny communities dot the landscape in Shexian and Yixian counties. Many of these villages were far enough out of the way that even the zealous Red Guards of the Cultural Revolution left them alone. Today there are whole villages that remain exactly as they have been for 200 years.
Anhui boasts significant contributions to Chinese civilization. Of the treasures of classical Chinese education, Anhui produces the most famous paper and ink. Hui opera, an ancient musical form developed in the province, was a major influence on Beijing Opera. Hui cuisine is considered one of the country's finest culinary traditions, making use of mountain vegetables and simple, bold flavors.
Most of the province's attractions for tourists lie in the south, accessible from Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Nanjing.
Anhui at a Glance
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