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Covered bridges, rivers, and tea transportation

Yongxi Bridge

If you visit Anhua County and pay attention to the names of places, you will see that many have one or both of the characters 溪 (creek / river) and 沙 (sand / river bank) in them.

A county traversed by creeks and rivers

This is reflected in the names of big factories like Baishaxi (白沙溪) or Gaoma’erxi (高马二溪), which have taken names of places as their own. [The case of Gaoma’erxi can be confusing since most products of the Gaoma’erxi brand do no come from the famous terroir of the same name, while artisanal teas from that terroir are not produced by the brand.]

The popularity of ‘creek’ and ‘river bank’ in names of places of course directly mirrors the local geography. Indeed, mountainous Anhua County is traversed by myriads of rivers and creeks.

When moving around in Anhua County, you will therefore often find the need to cross a stream of water, which will make you look for a bridge. Fortunately Anhua County has a lot of them. Magnificent bridges covered by a wooden structure are even one of the county’s distinctive features.

With many ancient covered bridges

Maybe because of its misty climate and its hilly landscape, bridges in Anhua County are often also places to rest and stay dry. The county has about thirty ancient covered bridges, some of which are closely related with the transportation of tea leaves.

Built to let through caravans of horses or mules loaded with logs and baskets of tea, the covered bridges of Anhua County are also perfect for waiting for the rain to stop or simply having an afternoon chat. Indeed, some even are flanked with wooden benches on both sides.

Constructed in 1878, the Yongxi Bridge (永锡桥) is maybe the most famous of all covered bridges in Anhua County. Its location used to be an important transit point between Anhua County and Xinhua County. It replaced a dangerous crossing barge system and was financed in part by local tea merchants.

Yongxi Bridge

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