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Jiangxi Visit: 2007-11
2007-12-30 - Jiangxi's only worldheritage is (Mount) Lushan, which can be accessed by local bus via a 22 kilometer long curved road from Jiujiang. Lushan is an eclectic site: a sacred mountain, an early 20th century summer resort for westerners and a famous place in China's communist history.

As I have seen enough of sacred mountains (and their cable cars and turtle rocks) over the past weeks, I decided to focus on Lushan’s villas. These were built here from 1895 onwards by Europeans and Americans, turning Guling (the little town on Mount Lushan) into an internationally known summer resort. The Meilu villa is the one closest to the bus station. It was constructed in 1903 by a Lord Reynolds and later used by Chang Kai-shek. You can get inside. Further down the road there are many other fine villas, like the Williams house and notably the group built by American missionaries. Walking around in this area does feel like you’re not in China anymore (the traffic in and around town is pleasantly low too).

These villas aren't the reason this place attracts so many Chinese visitors.That's more to do with its connection with 20th century Chinese politics and the history of the Chinese Communist Party. Lushan is famous for its ‘Lushan Conference’ in 1959, when Mao Zedong asserted his power and led him to proceed with the Great Leap Forward. Mao had a house here too, which now holds the Lushan Museum. It’s a spacious building where much of the period furniture has been preserved. One can even have a look at Mao’s bathroom (which surprisingly features a western style toilet!).


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