The old town of Lijiang is also known as Dayan town in Lijiangba. It is an intact ancient city inhabited mostly by Naxi ethnic people and covers an area of 1.5 square kilometers.
The old town of Lijiang was first built in Southern Song Dynasty and in 1253, Kublai (the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty) was stationed here on his march into the south. In Ming and Qing dynasties, it became much larger. Lijiang is world renowned as an ancient city built in a simple and artistic style and scientifically laid out. There is a square in its center. It was listed as a national historical and cultural city in 1986.There is no other town in China like Dayan which incorporates the folkways of so many people and the architectural styles of both north and south China.