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 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.
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.
A Museum of Folk and Business Customs
How to Get to Qiao Family Compound
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.
|Zai Zhong Tang and De Xing Tang||CNY 72|
|Ning Shou Tang and Bao Yuan Tang||CNY 76|
|Combo Ticket||CNY 138|
|Free of charge for kids under 1.2 m (about 4 ft)|
November to March: 08:30-17:00
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