Liqian Ancient City

In the south of Yongchang County of Jinchang City in Gansu Province, a mysterious village is increasingly becoming famous. That is Liqian Ancient City, also called Zhelaizhai Village by locals. As its name "Liqian" (a deformation of the ancient Rome word Legion) indicates, this city is closely associated with Ancient Rome. Local people have Caucasian physical traits and the ruins of an ancient city were discovered here, making it a special destination.

Over two thousand years ago, Zhelaizhai Village was not only a city of military importance along the Silk Road, but also a multi-ethnic place. The city amalgamated the architectural style of Ancient Rome and the Western Han Dynasty (202BC - 9AD). However, due to natural erosion and human activities, the Ancient Liqian City has disappeared, leaving only a sparsely populated village unknown to the public.

In the 1980s, the indigenous inhabitants’ exotic appearance drew the attention from the outside world. They have high nose bridge, deep blue eyes, curly brown hair, and long body hair. Walking into this village, one feels like in a European countryside. Several years later, ruins of an ancient city were discovered there.

The discovery aroused the interest of scholars who then found valuable information in records. Records have it that around 36BC, a group of exiled Roman soldiers surrendered to the Han Court. They were then settled in Zhelaizhai Village, Liqian County. From then on, they lived a peaceful life in China. Finally, the mystery has been unveiled. It is believed that Zhelaizhai Village is where Roman prisoners lived in the Western Han Dynasty and these villagers with typical European look are descendants of Roman legionnaires. Local villagers keep some different customs from those of Han People. They love bullfighting games and making ox-shaped steamed buns. These customs may demonstrate their European lineage.

Zhelaizhai Village gained considerable fame since the 1980s when the mystery about the "Lost Roman Legion" was reported. Now, the village has become a popular place of interest in Gansu, widely known as Liqian Ancient City. A movie about the ancient city called “Dragon Blade”, starring the famous actor Jackie Chan, was made in 2015. It contributed a lot to the increasing popularity of Liqian Ancient City.

Layout of Liqian Ancient City

The restored Liqian Ancient City perfectly integrates oriental and western cultural elements. Surrounded by high city walls, it is a square castle containing the Jinshan temple, ancient roman residences, a culture street with ancient Roman flavor, and a square. Outside Liqian Ancient City, there is a water park. Standing in the city center, Jinshan Temple is the representative building along Roman style. With five golden vaults, patterns of Latin crosses, stained glass, and bronze door with carvings depicting Roman people and Chinese Bodhisattva, the Pantheon is really eye-catching.

Ruins of Ancient Liqian City

The ruins of Ancient Liqian City, which are encircled for protection, are located at the left side of the village. On the right side you will see Liqian Pavilion in Roman style.

How to get to Lianqian Ancient City from Jinchang

From downtown Jinchang, take a bus near Zijin Square to Hexibu Bus Station at the fare of CNY 5. Upon arrival, take a mini bus to Yongchang County at the fare of CNY 5. Then take a mini bus to Liqian Ancient City. The bus fare is CNY 4.
 Note: Hexibu Bus Station is located near Jinchang Railway Station. If you arrive in Jinnchang by train, it’s a 15 minutes’ walk to the bus station to take the mini bus to Yongchang.
Admission Fee Free of charge
Opening Hours The whole day
- Last updated on May. 17, 2019 -
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