Qiao Family Compound

Qiao Family Compound is located in Qi County, Jinzhong City, Shanxi Province, and is 42 km (25 mi) away from Pingyao Ancient City. It is also known as Zai Zhong Tang, whose owner Qiao Zhiyong was a famous financier of Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). With Chinese classical architectural designs and exquisite decorations, it is representative of Chinese northern folk residences. This family compound shows not only the fortune and prosperity of the Qiao family, but also the folk customs and culture of Shanxi Province in the period.

Qiao's Compound
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Map of Qiao Family Compound
Map of Qiao Family Compound
(Click to enlarge)

Qiao Family Compound was first built by Qiao Zhiyong’s father during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1711 - 1799) in the Qing Dynasty, and then reconstructed by the financier. During Sino-Japanese War, the whole family fled to escape from the war and left their home. After decades, local government had the houses repaired. Now the attraction consists of five parts: Zai Zhong Tang, De Xing Tang, Ning Shou Tang, Bao Yuan Tang and a garden. In addition, the compound has been developed into a museum to collect the treasures left by the Qiao family and Shanxi folk cultural relics.


Symmetrical Layout in Chinese Character "囍"

Qiao Family Compound takes an area of 10,637 square meters (114,500 sq ft) with totally 6 large courtyards, 20 small courtyards and 313 rooms, including rooms for owners, rooms for customers, rooms for servants, study rooms, kitchens and an ancestral shrine. The whole complex looks like double Chinese characters “Xi (喜)” standing together from a bird-eye view. “Xi” in Chinese means joy and happiness. The complex was built in such a structure to express a good wish.

The front gate of Qiao Family Compound has the same design as Chinese old city gates, a tall gate with a tower over it. With three sides facing the street and the whole complex surrounded by fully enclosed green brick walls of over 10 m (33 ft) high, the compound is like an all-closed castle. Rooms and ourtyards connect with each other. On the roof, there is an aisle connecting each courtyard for guards to patrol at night.

Dragon is a typical decoration of the architecture.
Delicate Wood Carvings
Writing work
Writing work

Exquisite Carvings and Decorations

Getting around in the compound, you can see various decorations almost everywhere, including wood carvings, brick carvings, stone carvings, murals and wall sculptures with distinctive characteristics. Over 140 chimneys each has different features and decorations. On the underside of the eaves, there are murals telling about folktales.

Outside some courtyards, there stand a pair of stone lions, which is a typical guardian symbol in Chinese culture. The stone lions in the Qiao’s Family Compound are in various shapes, all showing energy and vigor. On each gate, there carved different figures. Some are leaves and birds, while some are fruits and flowers, wishing for harvest, health and peace.

On the gate of some courtyards, you can see a tablet hanging there, showing the family’s culture, belief and other information. Among the tablets, there are several valuable ones awarded by the government then, praising the Qiao family’s contributions to the government at the time and their great acts of kindness.

In the house of Qiao Family Compound
Old furniture and articles
Marriage scene of the family
Marriage scene of the family

A Museum of Folk and Business Customs

Housing over 2,000 pieces of cultural relics, including porcelain, silk embroidery, furnishings, paintings and calligraphies from the period of 1368-1911, Qiao Family Compound is also a museum exhibiting local folk and business customs. Shanxi people have been famous for their intelligence in business and trading since ancient times. Qiao Zhiyong was one of the representatives. The treasures collected in the compound mainly demonstrate the business and living customs of the Qiao family and local Shanxi people, including that about trading, clothing, food, accommodation, transportation, farming, wedding, festivity and etiquettes. Apart from the ordinary relics, there also exhibit the treasures owned by the Qiao family awarded by emperors and those Qiao Zhiyong used and gained as a merchant and financier.

How to Get to Qiao Family Compound

Stone mill
Stone mill
Depart from Pingyao Ancient City: Take a long-distance bus in Pingyao Long-distance Bus Station. Get off at the stop of Qiao Family Compound. The bus departs about every one hour from 08:00 to 18:10 every day, taking 40 minutes at the cost of CNY 8. After the visit, you can wait at the stop where you got off to get on the bus to return.

Depart from Taiyuan:
By train: Take a train in either Taiyuan Railway Station or Taiyuan South Railway Station. Get off at Qi County. There are around 15 trains available, at the cost ranging from CNY 15-90 depending on the class. The duration is about half an hour to one and a half. Arriving at Qi County Railway Station, you can take bus No. 11 or a taxi directly to the attraction. Taking a taxi generally costs CNY 40 with a 20-minute drive.

By long-distance bus: Take a long-distance bus in Taiyuan Jiannan Long-distance Bus Station. Get off at Qiaojiabao Village, Qi County. The bus departs about every 20 minutes from 10:00 to 18:30 every day, taking 2 hours at the cost of CNY 17-20.

Ticket Price

All-through Ticket CNY  115
Free of charge for kids under 1.2 m (about 3.9 ft)

Opening Hours

April to October: 08:00-18:45
November to March: 08:30-17:00

 Recommended tour with the visit to Qiao Family Compound:
4 Days Pingyao Datong Tour from $639

More Pingyao Tours

- Last updated on Aug. 23, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on Qiao Family Compound
Asked by lau from CANADA | Feb. 03, 2018 20:45Reply
how can i get to Jinci from Qiao compound?
Answers (1)
Answered by Donna from USA | Feb. 04, 2018 20:49

First, take a cab to Qixian Railway station within 20mins. Then, take a bullet train to Taiyuan South within 30mins. After arriving, you can take bus 79 directly to Jinci Gongyuan and it takes about 1h.
Asked by Arianna from ITALY | Jan. 31, 2018 07:28Reply
Visit to Pingyao
My purpose is to visit Pingyao, but all the train from Beijing are sold out, so I changed my itinerary: I will go by train from Beijing to Taiyuan, then train to Pingyao. Next morning: visit to Pingyao, go by taxi to Zhao Temple, again by taxi to Qiao Compound, then train from Taiyuan to Beijing at 19.30. What do you think about it?
Answers (1)
Answered by Kayla from SINGAPORE | Jan. 31, 2018 23:40

Your plan is good, but I guess you mean Zhenguo Temple?
And the taxi far may be around 80-100RMB. Have a nice trip!
Asked by Gary Lim from MALAYSIA | Oct. 05, 2016 11:37Reply
Hi, is there a direct bus from Pingyao bus station to Qiao's Compound?
If yes how long the journey? My base will be in pingyao couple of days..
Answers (1)
Answered by Susan from AUSTRALIA | Oct. 06, 2016 00:59

Well yes, the direct buses to the compound are available at the bus station. It takes 40-50min and the fare is CNY15 or around per person.
Asked by Clint from USA | Jan. 08, 2016 22:37Reply
I was wondering how late Qiao's Family Compound was open?
I would love to see it lit up at night time with the red lanterns, if this is possible. Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by Juana | Jan. 09, 2016 21:36

Hello, it is open till 18:30 and the last ticket is sold at 17:30. So I'm afraid you cannot see the red lanterns lit up at night. To see the lanterns in old architecture, the Pingyao Ancient Town can be the best choice.
Asked by Mrs.chu from AMERICA | Jan. 18, 2010 21:50Reply
My grandmother Qiao Chun Lan (father side) was born in Qiao Mansion, the location for the movie.
I met my grandmother when I was about eight years old in Beijing in the late 50s, she was a kind woman. My grandmother pass away more than ten years ago in China before the movie is made. Before the movie I never knew she was somehow related to Qiao family in Shanxi, China.
Anyone can tell me which generation she belongs to? She was 97 years old when she died.

Answers (2)
Answered by Mrs.armbruster from USA | Jul. 04, 2010 09:05

Can you read chinese? My father wrote his family history last year which was written in chinese. His family inter-marriage with Qiao family few times. I ask my father about your question. He said he remembers male members of the family, but not too much about female members.
Answered by Chu from USA | Dec. 05, 2017 18:39

Mrs. Armbruster, I do speak and read Chinese.
I just recently revisited this site.
Are you living in California?
Mrs Chu
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