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The Qiao Family Compound— a Traditional Qing Dynasty Mansion

The Qiao Family Compound is a traditional Qing Dynasty merchant mansion. It was first built in 1756, and was renovated several times by the Qiao Family. 

It occupies a total area of 1.06 hectares (2.6 acres), with a built area of 0.42 hectares (1 acre). It comprises 6 major courtyards, 20 smaller courtyards and 313 rooms.

In 1991, a famous film named Raise The Red Lantern was directed by Mr Zhang Yimou. The film was shot in the Qiao Family Compound, which made the compound well-known by lots of people.

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Architectural Features

With its three sides facing the street, the compound is isolated from the surrounding folk residences. An important characteristic of the compound is that every house is connected by corridors, which made it easier for guards to protect the yard.The Qiao Family Compound exemplifies the architectural style of the Qing Dynasty. Viewed from above, the fully-enclosed courtyard-style mansion looks very much like the Chinese character 囍 (xi /sshee/), which means happiness and luck in Chinese culture.

The Qiao Family CompoundThe Qiao Family Compound

From the main gate which faces east, a long paved path leads to the main hall. This path separates the compound into two parts: the South Yard and the North Yard. Each yard consists of a principle room for the host, and side rooms for guests or servants.

There are some differences in style between its two kinds of buildings. For example, the principle rooms have tiled roofs, while the side rooms have brick roofs. This keeps the compound from looking monotonous, and also shows the hierarchy within the family.

Highlights of the Qiao Family Compound

One Courtyard of the Qiao Family CompoundOne Courtyard of the Qiao Family Compound

The Qiao Family Compound is well restored, and full of culture and artistic spirit.

Wooden carvings, brick carvings, stone carvings, tablets, and color paintings are everywhere. It is a wonderful experience to see how a wealthy family was able to stick together through many generations and build a thriving business, which continues today.

In 1986, the Qiao Family Compound was opened to the public, and served as Qi County Folk Museum. More than 5,000 precious relics are displayed, fully reflecting the local agricultural customs, ceremonies, business customs, arts, and crafts. Themed categories include "History of the Qiao Family", "Treasures of the Qiao Family", and "Cinema Archives".

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Travel Essentials

  • Location: The Qiao Family Compound is 30 km northeast of the historic city of Pingyao in central north China.
  • Entry: 72 yuan per person.

A guide is highly advisable if you want to know more background information.

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When to Go

Delicate carvings of the Qiao Family CompoundDelicate carvings of the Qiao Family Compound

The air quality is not good in winter, which can affect photography. Many locals use particulate masks. From April to October, it is open from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm. From November to March, it is open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. It is advisable not to go there during holidays.

Visiting the Qiao Family Compound with China Highlights

The Qiao Family Compound is a site with a rich history and culture. It is more interesting to visit it with a professional guide. We are more than happy to offer a guide service and to tailor-make a tour for you.

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