Longchuan is a picturesque village in Jixi County of southwestern Anhui province. Nestled between Feng and Chaohu Mountains, the 1600-year-old village enjoys a pastoral setting that recalls an ancient Chinese landscape painting. Longchuan's rows of traditional Hui-style homes built along deep, narrow alleys complete the feeling of a China long forgotten.
One of the defining characteristics of Longchuan is its unique boat-shaped layout. In ancient China, boats were considered auspicious, symbolizing constant movement forward.
The name "Longchuan" - literally "Dragon Creek" - derives from the creek that beginning from Feng Mountain, flows through the village, to the Dengyuan River and finally empties into the Xin'an River. Ancient inhabitants of the Longchuan area constructed a settlement along Longchuan Creek in order to have easy access to water, simplifying everyday life and travel. As the Longchuan Creek empties into the Dengyuan River, which is itself a tributary of the Xin'an River, for reasons of geography, Longchuan became a cradle of Hui culture - a civilization originating in southern Anhui - in the Xin'an River Valley.
1600 years ago, during the Eastern Jin dynasty, a high-ranking government official surnamed Hu led his extended family in a migration south from Shandong province in central eastern China to Longchuan. In addition to establishing his family's presence at Longchuan, Hu was also part of a team of officials directly serving the Jin emperor. As such, his descendants called him "Hu Yangong," equivalent to "Lord Hu Yan," in memoriam. "Gong" was a title of nobility given to esteemed scholar-officials in ancient China.