Thirty-three km. from Xiaguan lies the town of
Xizhou by the side of Erhaj Lake and the Wanhua Brook.
Historically, it was a military fortress of Nanzhao Kingdom and a
temporary palace of the King of Nanzhao. Because of its favourable
geographical situation, the town used to be a commercial centre
before 1949 and there were more than 140 national capitalist
families among whom the Yan's, the Dong's, the Yin's and the
Yang's were the biggest ones in capital. Their houses are of the
typical Bai design known as "Sanfang Yizhaobi" (a courtyard rooms
on three sides and a screen wall on the remaining side) and "Sihe
Wutianjing" (dne big courtyard with four smaller ones at the four
corners of the main one). Xizhou Town is composed of more than 88
compounds of this kind. Some have several yards and some have
yards within yards. In short, the houses here show the strong and
unique Bai national characteristics in their painted roofs and
pillars, upturned eaves, and "dougong" systems (double bow-shaped
brackets on columns supporting upturned eaves).
In recent years, streets and roads have been
widened, new markets have been established and a scene of
prosperity prevails throughout the area. In 1988, one of the
compounds of the Yang's was made to open to foreign visitors with
the name of "Xizhou Tianzhuang" (Countryside Villa at Xizhou) by
the Tourist Bureau of Dali Prefecture.