Qiao Family Road

Named after the richest trading family in Shanghai, this road dates back to this amazing city's origin.

TravelCurious Tip

This site is enormously popular with Chinese tourists! Get here as early as possible to avoid the rush

This ornate compound is a fine example of the North China residences of the Qing Dynasty (1636-1911). It was originally built in 1756, but has been renovated and expanded several times since then. One of China’s most famous architects, Zheng Xiaoxie, once said: “there sits the Forbidden City in Beijing; there stand the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an; there lie the folk residences in Qi County.” And the Qiao Family Compound is one of the most renowned in Qi County.

It was built by Qiao Zhiyong, who started life as an orphan, before becoming a servant and later a powerful businessman. As if to illustrate his wealth, his home is a maze of corridors and courtyards that lead into room after room, like dividing cells. There are in fact more than 300 rooms in the compound. Moreover, the layout of the compound corresponds to the Chinese character for happiness!

Upwards of 30 films have been shot here, including the famous Chinese film “Raise the Red Lantern”. This film is required viewing for a visit to China, and sure enough the Qiao Family Compound is illuminated by innumerable red lanterns. But there are also many exhibitions featuring Qing-era furniture and clothes, giving you a real feel for the time that gave rise to the compound.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Shanghai
Xiao long bao
A type of steamed bun stuffed with meat and cooked in a bamboo steaming basket.
Sheng jian bao
Similar to the Xiao long bao, these dumplings are pan fried and dangerously delicious.
Xie ke huang
A pastry shaped like a crab shell. It is a speciality in the region and comes with a variety of fillings.
Chang shou mian
Handmade wheat noodles that have become a staple chinese food.
Stir fried bull frog
Ramp up the adventure with this popular local dish cooked in green peppers.
Deep fried Wonton
Delicious pork dumplings deep-fried and served with vinegar.

Related Tours

Shanghai Origins
On this fascinating historical tour, you will discover more about Shanghai’s colourful origins by visiting the famous places where it all began. 

  • Begin at the oldest corner of the city, Qiao Family’s Road
  • Walk down Heavenly Light Lane, the first street in Shanghai to receive public street lights 
  • Discover the otherworldly Grey Gardens, known as The Secluded Library 
  • Visit the beautiful Old City God Temple 
  • Discover the laneways on Anren street 
  • Conclude at the Flower & Bird Market, and the beautiful Yuyuan Garden & Bazaar 
The Ancient Corner

You will begin at the oldest corner of the city known as the Qiao Family’s Road. Named after the city’s richest trading family, this road was the heart of Shanghai where temples for the Medicine God were located as well as the first local government. Next, your knowledgeable guide will lead you to ‘Heavenly Light Lane’ which was the first street in Shanghai to receive public street lights. It is said that the locals believed that the light to be sent from heaven to guide people home safely. 

The Secluded Library

After this, you will discover the otherworldly Grey Gardens, also known as ‘The Secluded Library’. It was once a lavish garden area built in the 16th century by one of the most respected scholars of the Qing Dynasty, Lu Xixiong. He wished to erect a walled library where he could retire to in peace, surrounded by beautiful literature.

Old City Gods

Discover even more about this beautiful culture at the Old City God Temple, These gods are viewed as patron saints in Taoism and the Temple itself was built for protection of the city’s people. It enjoys a high status in Shanghai and there is an old saying that says he who fails to reach the temple fails to reach Shanghai.

Finally, watch the tourist crowd fade away as you head off into the laneways on Anren street to see traditional Shanghainese community living which has disappeared in most other parts. End your day at the Flower and Bird Market and the beautiful Yuyuan Garden and Bazaar.


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