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The Towers of Danba
Danba is nestled in the mountain western Sichuan region of Garze, known for two things: 1) the villages, namely Zhonglu and Jiaju and Sopo; and 2) its “beauties.” Zhonglu is known for its towers and its boxy stone houses. The village is nestled in a mountainside, which is accessible by dirt road. We drove into the village and walked around the alleys and fields. The crops are all planted on terraces carved out of the mountain. The above photo shows typical Zhonglu architecture. In Jiaju, the homes are almost fortress like. They stand as large square structures, with a different rooftop architecture from the Zhonglu homes. Tucked under a mountain top, the village is spread across a large slope, which eventually ends in the river valley below. As for the beauties, the villages are famed for having exceptionally attractive Tibetan women. While this may be true, we didn’t see any. One of the cab drivers explained that the best time to witness these beauties is during the Chinese New Year holiday, because that’s when they all return home. Otherwise at other times, they’ve all left for better opportunities in the cities. The watchtowers were used by the villages as both defensive structures and for communication purposes. Inside the towers there are peep holes they used to shoot arrows out of. On the roof, there is an area to light a signal fire. Today, these towers offer the best views of the villages and surrounding mountain valleys.
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