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.
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