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Zhangbi Ancient Village, also known as Zhangbi Ancient Castle, is an ancient multi-functional castle, combining military, residential, productive, and religious functions into a little-known small-scale locale.
The castle was built in 617 AD at an altitude of 1,040 meters (3,412 feet) above sea level. It has a total circumference of 1,300 meters (4,265 feet) and an area of 2,000 square meters (3 acres).
The village is home to historic relics and monuments, including remains from the Xia (2070–1600 BC) and Shang (1600–1046 BC) dynasties and underground tunnels from the Sui (581–618) and Tang (618–907) dynasties.
What's more, it also retains tombs from the Jin Dynasty (1115–1234), theater stages from the Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368), and residences from the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1636–1911) dynasties.
Along the streets stand elegant shops and quaint houses. Among all the precious relics, the tunnels of the Sui and Tang dynasties, the Liu Wuzhou Temple, and glazed steles are types that are rarely seen of their kind in China.
Underneath this ancient village is an amazing underground tunnel network. These hidden underground tunnels were actually the entire defense system of Zhangbi Ancient Village.
The tunnel system is divided into three layers and the total length of it reaches 3,000 meters. The top layer is only 1 meter (3 feet) deep from the ground, the middle is 8 to 10 meters (26–32 feet) deep, and the bottom is 17 to 20 meters (55–65 feet) deep.
Walking in the secret tunnels, visitors might feel like they are entering a labyrinth. Its passages hide mangers, kilns, caves, wells, grain silos, flood-prevention facilities, wall-hole communication facilities, and assassination devices, which all dye the castle in a color of mystery.
Another attraction in Zhangbi Ancient Village is its temples. Inside this small village, there are 16 temples, which have been preserved throughout history.
Large or small, they were mostly built along the city wall. Some of the temples are Buddhist, some are Taoist, and others are dedicated to the many gods in Chinese folk mythology.
It is interesting to see that so many temples were built in such a small village. It also reflects the local people’s eternal hope for peace and happiness.
The village is uniquely comprised of T-shaped roads. There are no crossroads at all. The primary and secondary streets are separated.
The north–south primary street, known as Long Street (Dragon Street), is paved with numerous stone blocks and bars, and is about 300 meters (984 feet) long. The secondary streets consist of three lanes in the east and four lanes in the west, forming a T-shaped structure with the primary street.
Residences in this area were mostly small houses for peasants, whereas in the west — where the buildings were decorated with more delicate designs —houses for the rich people were located.
The most interesting thing is that the whole structure of Zhangbi Ancient Castle was built following fengshui. The castle is orientated north and facing south, which follows Chinese fengshui perfectly.
The construction of the castle follows ancient Chinese astrology and harmonization concepts. Its design embodies yin and yang, the Five Elements, and geomancy. Even more magical is that a lot of ground construction corresponds to the 12 Chinese zodiac signs.
Zhangbi Ancient Castle was a grand multi-functional castle in ancient China. It will be 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.