Category Archives: Xiangshan

Shipu Old Town

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Shipu Old Town(Chinese: 石浦古城) is a classic example of an ancient fishing village. Noted contemporary scholar Yu Qiuyu celebrated the site as a worthy snapshot of traditional Chinese maritime life. Much of its architecture, dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), has been preserved.

The architecture is indeed captivating. The buildings of Shipu Old Town feature the extended eaves and heavy wooden doors of the past. Even the homes of local residents bear the imprint of the past after careful renovation.

Life here hasn’t changed much over the centuries. Drying fish still hang on outdoor racks, flowers are planted in old conch shells and tempting seafood aromas waft from local kitchens. This is a community gloriously tied to the sea.

For visitors, the town provides a glimpse of the culture and customs that gave coastal life its uniqueness.

In 1933, the town was the backdrop of the classic Chinese movie “Song of the Fishermen.” The film, by Cai Chusheng, characterized Chinese cinema of the 1930s. The movie, when released, ran for a record 84 days.

Be sure to visit the town museum, which provides an insight into the hard, often risky life of seafaring fishermen. Exhibits show the small boats they used and the somewhat dilapidated houses where they lived. There’s also a specimen of a whale that was hunted there in 2004.

Famous stunt jumper Ko Shou-liang, known as “Asia’s Flying Man,” was a native of Shipu. In the 1950s, Ko and his father moved to Taiwan. Ko is famous for successfully jumping across the Yellow River in a sports car and over the Great Wall on a motorcycle. There is a special museum in the town celebrating his feats. Ko died of asthma in 2003.

Throughout the year Shipu hosts a variety of events related to marine culture and fishing. Visitors can camp on the beaches, go deep-sea fishing with the locals, participate in water sports and, of course, dine on exquisite seafood cuisine.

You can even catch your own fish and take them to most restaurants, which are happy to cook to order. Some restaurants will gladly buy any surplus catch, or you can take fish home in an ice chest.