I traveled to China in 1997, not even 20 years old, full of adventurous spirits and ideas. My Chinese was limited, as was my budget. Crappy hotels, long bus and train rides, fun people along the way, excellent food and unforgettable memories, that’s what I remember. It certainly was a different China, but I am truly grateful, that I was able to see and experience it, for it is gone.
The wooden pagoda in Yingxian, a part of Shuozhou city, around 50 miles south of Datong, Shanxi, is famous for being the world’s tallest all wood pagoda. It is located in the 500.000 souls city of Shuozhou, although in 1997 this city resembled a small village rather than a city.
The view from the wooden pagoda in 1997 shows a village of small to medium sized adobe or clay houses. I still remember the public toilet just outside the pagoda’s premises: A pit with a wooden fence around, left the women and right the men.
This unpaved road led to the pagoda’s entrance. Bustling, chaotic and already featuring some western tourists, if you look closely. I am sure not a single brick of this old town is still there. What I see from aerial images of Shouzhou and Yingxian, it appears to be a medium sized modern Chinese city consisting of Skyscrapers and medium sized boulevards.
Also please excuse the quality of the pictures. I had no money for a decent camera in 1997.
The wooden pagoda in Yingxian county, Shuozhou city – Google Maps: