Beijing’s Cuandixia Village is a Place Frozen in Time

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There are many places to visit in China which are untouched by time. One of such, not far from Beijing City, is the village of Cuandixia which was founded in the 14th Century. Today the village still stands and it is just the way it was all those centuries ago. The descendants of the original founders, a total of seventy in number, still live there and have maintained the lifestyle of their ancestors of rearing animals and farming on the mountain slopes. There are no modern amenities there.

Cuandixia Village: A Travel Back in China’s History

The objective of a study abroad program and gap year program is to take students to places which are totally different from the places they have known and to which they are accustomed.  These programs help them experience wonders which they would not expect to see anywhere else. For example, someone who has lived his or her life in New York would marvel at the life of Cairo while on study abroad tours. It has been said that the sight of the Pyramids and Sphinx is one of the most majestic and mysterious views ever.

The world is full of such places which can be incorporated in study abroad tours and gap year jobs. Today, one can go to the top study abroad destinations in the world and get to see places which are exotic, historical and engaging. But not all of them are well known. This article focuses on China travel and sheds light on one of the lesser known destinations which literally takes you back in time.

Close to Beijing and barely90 kmfrom the bustling city lies a village which is lost in time. The Cuandixia Village is a 600-year-old village that was founded by a couple. Today, the descendants of those Han people live in that village and all of them have proudly taken up the Han surname.

Even though China is one of the biggest economies in the world and is developing at a stupendous pace, this village has remained untouched by rampant urbanization. This is partly because of the choice of the residents and almost totally because of the heritage that the residents are so proud of.

Our brains were armed with Mao Zedong Thought   (A slogan written 1970s on the wall of one courtyard)

Arm our brains with Mao Zedong Thought

Today, this tiny village is nestled amid the mountains that stand on a hill slope. The ancestors had migrated there from the Shanxi Province during the reign of the Ming Dynasty and settled down. The village prospered in the 16th Century during the reign of the Qing Dynasty when it became a major distribution center and an important business hub.

Cuandixia Village perched on the hillside in the north

Cuandixia Village perched on the hillside in the north


Today, the influence of that time is still seen in the buildings and courtyards. This is one of the best preserved historical places in the country. There are more than 500 rooms of the bygone era, still in good condition in this village, and about 70 courtyards. These rooms are way more than the count of residents and serve as guest rooms for visitors. The lifestyle has remained the same as it was 600 years ago, completely lost in time!

A well preserved courtyard in Cuandixia Village

There is no modern amenities. The water is drawn from wells even today and the town’s mill stone is used for flour. The seventy residents use coals to warm the courtyards and ‘Kang’ beds. Pigs are reared and honey is harvested even today for a living.

The town’s mill stone is used for flour

This village gained international attention after the movie ‘The Warlords’ was shot here. The movie starred Jet Li and Andy Lau.

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