Huxinting Tea House, Shanghai
It's hard to decide which one of the marvelous old houses in the historic center is... the best.
Proud of their old style, glowing in their well maintained colours, all the buildings in the quarter are superb, but, in the middle of a lake, the tea house and its bridges deserve a special look and reference.
The lake is artificial, constructed as the pavillion during the Ming Dynasty. A precious detail is the zigzagged bridge, allegedly designed to keep bad spirits away.
This charming building, built in 1784 by cotton merchants, only became a teahouse in the 19th century. It's located in the Old Town district of Shanghai outside the Yu Yuan Garden and is very popular with Chinese tourists who walk along the zigzag bridge as the bridge protects the building from evil spirits as they can't turn corners.
At the center of the Old City is the Yu Garden, in which stands the Huxining Teahouse, said to be the model for the design on the willow-pattern plates much loved by Europeans in another era. The Tea House is a renowned structure central to the Old City. Situated upon a lake, its zig-zagged Bridge of Nine Turns is designed to prevent evil spirits from crossing.