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It is recorded that the Grand Courtyard of the Chang Family is the largest folk residence in Shanxi Province.
An ancestor of the Chang family, Chang Jinquan, started trading and, generation after generation, his family became rich merchants.
After that, the Chang family became a respected and influential family in Shanxi Province. Therefore, they built the courtyard to show off their wealth.
The Grand Courtyard of the Chang Family is made up of four small groups of buildings. There is a temple in the center. As it is 250 meters away from each of the four groups, it forms the shape of a cross.
In the layout of the courtyard, its major building is in the North Garden. Every major house has front and back courtyards. In each front courtyard, rooms are built alongside the street. There are five wings of each home on each of the east and west sides.
On the east side, there are different kinds of gatehouses. In the middle of the courtyard, there is a festoon gate.
As for the back courtyard, it is rectangular in shape. The building area is twice the size of the front courtyard. There are 8–10 rooms in the back courtyard. The buildings fully display the riches of the Chang family.
There are three characteristics of the Grand Courtyard of the Chang Family. First, there is a wooden decorated archway in front of every major house.
Each archway is small but well decorated. On each side of the archway, there are beautiful carved images. There are many different styles of art there, which fill the whole courtyard with many beautiful objects.
Second, the major houses are connected by gardens and small gates. When entering the courtyards, tourists can always find different ways to get to other places.
All of the places are decorated with small bridges, pavilions, and flowers. It is as if you are visiting a beautiful garden.
Third, in the courtyard, you can always find different wall paintings as well as wooden and stone paintings.
Most of the wall paintings are relics from the Qing Dynasty.
As for the stone paintings, there are stone guard bars and walls. Most of them are made of fine stones.
Most of the wood paintings are on the door frames, screens, furniture, and wood carvings. It is a pity that the wood paintings were unable to be protected very well as some of them have lost their colors.
The Grand Courtyard of the Chang Family is representative of ancient merchants' houses. However, as it is also famous for its cultural circumstances, it is quite unique among those rich merchants’ houses.
If you are planning to visit Changjia Park, we are more than happy to offer a guide service and to tailor-make a tour for you.