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The Wang Family Compound

The Wang Family Compound was the mansion of one of the richest families in the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911).

The Wang Family CompoundThe Wang Family Compound

The compound occupies a total area of 25 hectares (62 acres), which includes 123 courtyards and 1,118 rooms. It is about 35 kilometers (22 miles) southwest from Pingyao Ancient City, a popular historic area in north central China.

Architectural Style and Highlights

The compound follows the architectural style of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). The architecture has a magnificent scale, with five alleys, five forts, and five ancestral temples.

The courtyard layouts of the five ancient forts represent five of China’s lucky animals: the dragon, phoenix, tortoise, kylin (Chinese unicorn), and tiger.

The three architectural complexes of the compound are fully-enclosed architectures on the Yellow High Land (the loess hills of northwest China), which are closely connected with each other through bridges. In imperial China, enclosed buildings were a sign of wealthy or powerful families, and were a good design defensively.

There are only three parts open to the public. You can see ornate sculptures of stone, wood, and brick everywhere, and well-preserved antiques are on display. Walking in the compound, you can experience the luxurious life of the Wang Family.

Who Built It and Why

Elaborate carvings in the Wang Family CompoundElaborate carvings in the Wang Family Compound

It was built in the period 17621811 by descendants of the Wang Family who were one of the four richest families in the Qing Dynasty in Shanxi Province.

An ancestor of the Wang family, Wang Shi, was a peddler. With his selling skills and winning personality, gradually he became rich. Generation after generation, his family became more wealthy and powerful, therefore they decided to build a compound to protect and show off their wealth.

Travel Essentials

Entry: 66 yuan per person.

Going with a knowledgeable guide is highly advisable.

When to Go

Spring and fall will probably provide the most comfortable temperatures and conditions.

The air quality is not good in winter, it is advisable to bring masks with you.

In summer it is open from 8:00am–7:00pm; in winter it is open from 8:00am–6:00pm.

The Wang Family CompoundThe Wang Family Compound

Recommended Pingyao Tours

Our popular Pingyao itineraries all include a visit to the Wang Family Courtyard: