China Travel Photography

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location map of Qiao Family Compound

Detail (click image for full map):乔家大院的位置Location of Qiao Family Compound -- green arrow

Region: 山西Shanxi

乔家大院图片Qiao family's compound Pictures

  • Picture of 乔家大园 Qiao family's compound

    Main building on the north side of the compound.

  • Picture of 乔家大园 Qiao family's compound

    Main entrance to the two-storey build on the north side of the compound.

  • Picture of 乔家大园 Qiao family's compound

    A closer view of the previou building.

  • Picture of 乔家大园 - 门楼 Qiao family's compound - Menlou

    One of the doorways (this one is call 琳碧(Lin Bi) that opens to the main courtyards.

  • Picture of 乔家大园 Qiao family's compound

    View from the doorway. The Qiao compound was extremely crowded ( a recent TV series on the saga of the Qiao family contribute to its popularity. It was impossible to take a photo without the throng of tourists.

  • Picture of 乔家大园 Qiao family's compound

    After passing the pair of stone lions is a square space where one can look up and find a decorated square ceiling.

  • Picture of 乔家大园 - 门楼 Qiao family's compound

    Another one of the richly decorated doorways.

  • Picture of 乔家大园 - 门楼 Qiao family's compound

    One of the unique open doorway building that protects a wall of gilded calligraphy.

  • Picture of 乔家大园 - 门楼 Qiao family's compound

    details of a doorway's eave.

  • Picture of 乔家大园 - 门楼 Qiao family's compound

    details of a doorway's eave, showing the complicated 斗拱"Dougong" (bracket system) that sustains it.

  • Picture of 乔家大园 - 门楼 Qiao family's compound
  • Picture of 乔家大园 Qiao family's compound

    Between courtyards are these small doorways. They usually break the monotony of walls everywhere.

  • Picture of 乔家大园 - 婚礼 Qiao family's compound - marriage ceremony

    Wax figures of a man and woman in a marriage ceremony.

  • Picture of 乔家大园 Qiao family's compound - marriage ceremony

    Paintings on the walls. They are usually moral scenes or events in the family's history.

image of Tulufan's Emin MinaretPortriat of a Uygur girl in 二堡乡 Erbaoxiang

See 吐鲁番Tulufan's well-known attractions -- 苏公塔Sugonta (Emin Minaret), 高昌城Gaochang Ruins, and 火焰山Huoyan Shan (Flaming Mountains).

Travelogues and travel notes.

trucks on the desert road

Pictures I took while on a bus traveling through the sandy deserts of 甘肃Gansu on my way to 嘉峪关Jiayuguan.

Travel Information

Getting There:

乔家大院Qiao family's compound, like the other well-known merchant's residents such as Cao, Chang, Qu, and the Wang family compounds, are concentrated in the heart of Shanxi province 晋中. Most of these mansions are within less than an hour of one another, and they are plotted along a single major path. So, if anyone wishes to visit them can easily design a simple itinerary, which is basically up and down the 108 National Highway. After seeing the incredibly large walled town of the 王家大院Wang compound, I moved up to the culturally-rich county of 祁县Qixian. From Qixian the Qiao compound is about 10-12 km away, and getting there took about 25 mins. on bus. Buses getting out of the county just parked along the main road not far outside the Old Town. I hopped on the one that has a sign to 东观Dongguan (ticket: 2.5 yuan), which is the town where the compound is located. It is on the northeast of Qixian county. In less than half hour I was there. Like all the other compounds, out above the road was a billboard advertising the grandness of what you will see. My bus made a quick halt on the road and I hopped out. I was the only one of course, because all the thousands of tourists that day came loaded on luxury buses that filled the wide parking lot. just before the parking space was a large flying horse sculpture ( like the well-know flying horse of Gansu ), and a single large boulder with the characters 「乔家大院」"Qiao family's compound" carved on it. After passing the parking square, I have to squeeze through a kilometer of vendors leading to the entrance, which was a few turns in the village - aptly called 乔家堡村( Qiao family's village ). After passing all the vendors, I came to the impassable wall of very passionate tourists - all prepared with umbrellas, folding fans and digital cameras. And the tour guides with their bright and battery rich speakers just blasting away one after another. It was a hot and sunny day. Sweat naturally streamed out and with my dirty backpack and tripod, I looked like an angry hulk. But no one made way. I looked more like a lost orphan and people simply passed me. After much effort, I made it in. And of course inside was as packed as outside.  It was not difficult to figure out why this place has such enormous crowds. On the main hallway walls were posters of the latest drama that set place here, one among 50 others - including Zhang Yimou's 《大红灯笼高高挂》"Raise the Red Lantern".

To get to the compound from 太原市Taiyuan city, take the bus to Yixian county at the 建南汽车站Jiannan Bus Station (South Bus Station). On the way, about 10 km. before reaching the county you should see a large billboard advertising Qiao family's compound. It is a hot spot, you can't miss it. You will see a large flying horse sculpture and a large parking area. Ask to be dropped off here if you are only interested in visiting the compound and not bother going to the county.

The most comfortable and quickest way to get to the compound from Qixian is of course hiring a taxi. This would cost anywhere from Y10 - Y25, depending on the driver's mood.

Accomodations:

It is best to live in Qixian county where you will have more options. You will eventually want to be in the county because the excellent 渠家大院Qu family's compound, which is inside the county and in the Old Town. The Old Town is another reason to be there. It retains the look and layout of the Ming and Qing dynasty streets. But if you must stay in the area for a longer visit, there are always guesthouses closeby. I did not consciously look for them, but in a hotspot like this, lacking accommodations is unimaginable.

Entrance Ticket:

40 Yuan. Summer 2006.