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Where is Qiao's Family Compound

Situated in Qiaojiabao Village, Qixian (Qi County) of Shanxi province, Qiao's Family Compound is a traditional merchant dwelling in the north of China. With a distance of 60 km away from Taiyuan and 50 km from Pingyao ancient city, you can take a bus from Pingyao bus station or Taiyuan Jiannan bus station. Also, you can order a private car service for more convenience.

Location: Qiaojiabao Village, Qi County, Shanxi Province 山西省晋中市祁县东观镇乔家堡村

Recommended Shanxi Tours with Qiao's Family Compound: ☛ 4 Days In-depth Pingyao & Taiyuan Tour

Why Visit Qiao's Family Compound

Like the saying, "There sits Forbidden City in Beijing; there stands Terra-cotta Warriors in Xi'an; there lie folk residences in Qi County." Among the ancient residences in China, Qi County in Shanxi province, the top and most residences located, is the ideal place for you to appreciate those historical buildings and the Shanxi merchants' dwelling life.

There are many compounds scattered in Qi County, including Qiao's Family Compound, Wang's Family Compound, Cao's Family Compound, Qu's Family Compound, etc. Among them, Qiao's Family Compound is most famous for being the major location of the film "Raise the Red Lantern", directed by Zhang Yimou. Also as the best-preserved compound remaining, it's known for its large scales and the exquisite craftsmanship of wood, brick, and stone carvings.

By the way, if you want to visit Wang's Family Compound together, there is a brief comparison between them.>>Read More about Qiao's Family Compound vs. Wang's Family Compound

Qiao's Family Compound Wang's Family Compound
Construction time Qing dynasty Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasty
Building scale 9,000 square meters 45,000 square meters
Architecture style Chinese and western combined building Ming & Qing ancient building
Layout The Chinese character "囍" The Chinese character "王"
Class of construction Merchant dwelling Officer mansion

Layout & Structure of Qiao's Family Compound

Located in the center of the street and surrounded by enclosed brick walls, this imposing building complex looks like the Chinese character "囍" when staring straight down at the ground. Facing the street with its three sides, this compound is isolated from outsides by over 1-meter thick parapet walls.

Covering about 8,725 square meters, this courtyard estate has 6 large courtyards and 20 smaller courtyards, including 313 rooms. There is a stone-paved path leading to the main hall with 80 meters long and divided the 6 courtyards into the south and north sides. According to the tradition naming methods, the yards in the north are called the Old Yard (老院), the Northwest Yard (西北院), the Study Yard (书房院) from east to west; and the yards in the south are called the Southeast Yard (东南院), the Southwest Yard (西南院), and the New Yard (新院).

Each courtyard consists of a principle room with tiled roofed for the host and side rooms with brick roofed for guests or servants with quite different construction styles to presents the hierarchy. On the roof of each yard, there is a special corridor to walk through to guard the whole compound. At the end of the west side, is the ancestral temple, facing to the front gate.

Passing through each yard, there are various carvings, paintings, murals, and the precious tablets dotted on doors, roofs, windows, and even the walls, which makes the compound more delicate.

Recommended Shanxi Tours with Qiao's Family Compound:
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 Qiao's Family Compound Layout of Qiao's Family Compound
(Click to Enlarge)
Qiao's Family Compound courtyard Courtyard of Qiao's Family Compound

Qiao's Family Compound: Construction & Qiao's Family History

Originally built in 1,756 during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor in the Qing dynasty, Qiao's Family Compound, the original Chinese name was Zai Zhong Tang (在中堂) was renovated later during the late years of Emperor Guangxu. They bought streets to build entrance and ancestral temples in order to reinforce the security, later more lands were bought to meet their living needs. By continuously enlarging the scale, Qiao's Family Compound was completed in the early years of the Republic of China.

During the extension, the Qiao's Family history changed as well. The prosperity of the Qiao Family originated from the business trade of fodder, bean sprout, and bean curd and came to the golden age in the Qiao Zhiyong time. Being the 3rd host of Qiao's Family Compound, Qiao Zhiyong was raised by his brother. As one representative of famous Jin Merchants in that historical period, Qiao Zhiyong is the epitome of Jin Merchants, who refer to the businessmen of Shanxi province in Ming and Qing dynasty. Following the principles of being industrious, modest, and generous, he established Qiao's brilliant future by presenting a large sum of money to the government to go through the Taiping rebellion and second Opium War and enjoy a good relationship with the government and higher fame.

With the recession of the Qing dynasty, Jin Merchants gradually fade out, so as the compounds. As the finest remaining examples of imposing private residences in northern China. It has been converted into a museum in 1985, called Qixian Folk Museum, and opened to the public in 1986. With 6 themes, it displayed the history of the Qiao, the treasure of the Qiao, the custom of business, the custom of ritual, the folk crafts, and the custom of agriculture. Also, more than 5,000 precious relics are exhibited here, including the Qiao's four most precious crafts: Nine-dragon Screen (九龙屏风), Nine-dragon chandelier (九龙灯), Wanrenqiu (万人球) and Xiniuwangyue Mirror (犀牛望月镜), which make the place more attractive.

Recommended Shanxi Tours with Qiao's Family Compound:
☛ 4 Days In-depth Pingyao & Taiyuan Tour
☛ 12 Days Historical China Tour with Train Experience

Qixian Folk Museum Exquisite Wood Carvings
Qiao Zhiyong Qiao Zhiyong-host of Qiao's Family Compound

How to Get to Qiao's Family Compound

Pingyao to Qiao's Family Compound: The driving distance from Pingyao Ancient City to Qiao's Family Compound is about 50km, and it takes about 1h to get to Qiao's Family Compound. Besides driving there, you can also take a direct tourist bus from Pingyao bus station, which is located right outside the north gate of Pingyao Ancient City. It departs every 30min during the peak season and the bus fare is about CNY 20 with about 1.5 hour's duration. You can also take a train leaving from Pingyao Railway Station/Pingyao Gucheng Railway Station to Qixian Railway Station/Qixian East Railway Station in about 15min, and both of these railway stations in Qixian (Qi county) are about 16km to Qiao's family compound and you can easily grab a taxi there.

Taiyuan to Qiao's Family Compound: The driving distance from Taiyuan downtown area to Qiao's Family Compound is about 60km, taking about 1.5 hours to 2 hours. You can also get there by bus at Taiyuan Jinan Bus Station (太原建南汽车站 location: No.1, Dicun street, Xiaodian District, Taiyuan City 太原市小店区狄村街1号), taking a tourist bus to Pingyao and the bus will stop over at Qiao's Family Compound, or take the long distance county bus to Qi county and grab a taxi to Qiao's Family Compound. Also, you can take a high-speed bullet train from Taiyuan South Railway Station to Qixian East Railway Station in about 30min and take a taxi to the Compound.

Wang's Family Compound to Qiao's Family Compound: The total driving distance is about 100km, about 2.5 hours by car. There is no direct bus from Wang's Family Compound to Qiao's Family Compound. Most people will choose to travel them via Pingyao.

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

Nearby Attractions

For the fan of ancient buildings of China, there are other famous compounds for you, such as the Wang's Family Compound. With different layout and inner pattern, it presents you the largest Ming & Qing folk residence. Or you can go back to Pingyao Ancient City and discover the ancient buildings and prosperity of Ming & Qing dynasty.

Tips for Visiting Qiao's Family Compound

Accompany with a guide: Following the brief English description on all of the rooms is far from enough to understand the background history of Qiao's Family and the traditional architecture custom. It's a highly need to go with a guide.

Bring camera with you: As a typical ancient folk courtyard, Qiao's Family Compound is allowed to take photos. The red lanterns hanging on the eaves, the faded brick walls, the miscellaneous wooden carving, etc, all marked the history of this compound, and worth to record under your lens.

How to Plan Your Pingyao Tour with Qiao's Family Compound

Best time to visit Pingyao: March to mid-June, mid-September to November, and Chinese Spring Festival Time (Jan or Feb)

Where to Stay: Mainly in Pingyao Ancient City.

Only 40km away from Qiao's Family Compound, Pingyao is noted for the World Heritage Site - Pingyao Ancient City. It is well-preserved, keeping the architecture style of the Ming and Qing Dynasty (14th-20th centuries). Most people will choose to visit them both. You can leisurely stroll and get to learn about the traditions of the northern Chinese, especially during the Chinese Spring Festival. Usually, 2 to 3 days are enough for you to explore the attractions in Pingyao, including scenic sites and ancient streets of Pingyao Ancient City, Qiao’s Family Compound, Shuanglin Temple, etc.

☛ 2 Days Classic Pingyao Tour
☛ 3 Days Pingyao Discovery Tour

Also, Pingyao is well connected with many other cities in Shanxi province. You can spend more days having a Shanxi discovery tour: witnessing the stunning Yungang Grottoes and Hanging Temple in Datong, hiking on and the famous Buddhism mountain, Wutaishan, visiting the magnificent Hukou Waterfall, and getting to Jinsi Temple and Shanxi Museum in the capital of Shanxi province, Taiyuan.

☛ 4 Days Essence of Datong & Pingyao Tour
☛ 6 Days Essence of Shanxi Tour
☛ 12 Days Historical China Tour with Train Experience

If you would like to travel outside Shanxi, you can take a flight from Taiyuan to many other cites of China. It is also very convenient to take a high-speed train from Pingyao/Taiyuan to Xian and Luoyang with no more than 4 hours or head to Beijing by high-speed train.

☛ 4 Days Ancient Pingyao & Xian Tour
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