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Shiwei beckons visitors with old-country charm

08-10-2010 08:41 BJT

Lying along the Argun River in Inner Mongolia, surrounded by lush pine trees and xylosma shrubs with horses and cattle freely strolling country roads while herders sing traditional folk songs, the ethnic Russian township of Shiwei lures visitors with a poetic, natural essence and a historical charm.

Shiwei beckons visitors with old-country charm
Shiwei beckons visitors with old-country charm

Shiwei, also known as Ji Lalin, has a long history that dates back to the 5th century AD when villagers first settled here. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Shiwei, was known as Dada, and considered a Mongolian homeland. Currently it’s the only ethnic Russian township in China, and the diverse population lives together harmoniously.

Standing riverside as the Argun flows quietly by, the small Russian town of Olochi can be seen - and even smelled - as it’s so close the scent of Russian cooking drifts through the air.

In 2005, Shiwei became one of China’s “Top 10 Charming Towns,” according to CCTV (China Central TV). Both Mongolian and Russian culture and history abound, which can create an exotic atmosphere as if abroad.

The “Russian Family Tour” has been highly touted and remained popular over the years as a way to experience the quintessential country life. It includes delicious snacks, home-brewed liquor, the chance to cook local food, and sauna baths.

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