How to Visit Zhangbi Village

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Plan your Pingyao tour? A side trip to Zhangbi Village is highly recommended. Zhangbi Village is located about 16km to the east of Jiexiu and 56km to the south of the ancient city of Pingyao. People visiting Pingyao often take a side trip to Zhangbi ancient village and Wang Family Courtyard.

Many guesthouses in Pingyao arrange  join-in or a private day tours bringing you to this castle-like ancient village. You may also use public transport from Pingyao Bus Station to Jiexiu Bus Station, then from Jiexiu, try to find a local bus running for Zhangbi Village. The entrance is RMB 60. Basically people need approx. 2 hours to visit the ancient castle of Zhangbi.

With high walls and castles above the ground and the three layers of tunnels underneath, Zhangbi Village (Zhangbicun) is often nicknamed as “Zhangbi Ancient Castle” or “Zhangbi Underground Castle.

Zhangbi Village is situated on the north foot of Mt.Mianshan with its other three sides being surrounded by deep gullies,  difficult for attrack and easy for defense. It is actually a tiny castle with a 1300m long and 10m wide city wall.  The 300m long main cobblestoned street  connects the south gate and the north.  All the courtyard houses along the main street have high walls. If all the doors were closed,  intruders would be easily kept off.

Unlike the touristy Pingyao ancient city, Zhangbi Ancient Village still remains untouched, residential and unimproved.  You will see a series of military defense network  above the ground and the fascinating series of the tunnels underneath.  The three layers tunnels with a length of 1500 meters are restored and open to the public.  An English speaking tour guide is compulsory in case you are lost.

The military part of the village was said to be originally built  in the year of 617AD by General Liu Wuzhou ( in late Sui Dynasty), a local king who led his army fighting against Li Shimin (Emperor Taizong of Tang Dynasty,  the second emperor of the Tang Dynasty of China).

Zhangbi Underground Castle is also well known for its religious sites and splendid architectures above the ground, which were said to be over 20 temples and among them still well preserved are Khan Temple, Guandi Temple, Xuanwu Temple,and Kongwang Ancestral Temple.

Zhangbi Village is a live showcase  for the vernacular dwellings and architectures in Shanxi represented by Kunxing Pavilion and local residential houses.

The most mysterious part of Zhangbi Village is its association with Chinese traditional astrology and geomancy. The whole ancient fortress follows the traditional principle five Yin and Yang elements.  Over 35 above ground buildings have been found corresponding  to the constellations.  The name of Zhangbi  derived from the 28th constellation – Zhang Xiu and Bi Xiu.

In a word, Zhangbi Village is a treasure trove of Chinese culture worth your two hours’s exploration.

Now please follow me to have a glimpse of this ancient and mysterious village of Zhangbi.

A side trip to Zhangbi often  follows your visit to Wang Family Courtyard, and the two sites are only 20km apart.  People would dine at the restaurant named Ancient Castle Restaurant by Zhangbi Village for lunch before start their two-hour exploration inside the village.

Ancient Castle Restaurant by Zhangbi Village

Ancient Castle Restaurant by Zhangbi Village

This restaurant makes a very delicious noodles known as “Baopi Noodle” ,  mixed flour with wheat and sorghum.

This restaurant makes a very delicious noodles known as Baopi Noodle ,  mixed flour with wheat and sorghum.

This restaurant makes a very delicious noodles known as Baopi Noodle , mixed flour with wheat and sorghum.

This is the south gate to the ancient village. The south gate is higher than the north gate due to its high terrain.  The gate is a solid stones paved tower with a stone archway and glazed tile eaves.

Just in front of the south gate is the Guandi  Temple dedicated to the Taoist God of War, Guan Di.

Just in front of the south gate is the Guandi  Temple dedicated to the Taoist God of War, Guan Di.

Just in front of the south gate is the Guandi Temple dedicated to the Taoist God of War, Guan Di.

Walking through the arch gate brings you back in time!

Walking through the arch gate brings you back in time!

Walking through the arch gate brings you back in time!

Ascending the stone steps inside the south gate takes you to the Khan Temple.

Ascending the stone steps inside the south gate takes you to the Khan Temple.

Ascending the stone steps inside the south gate takes you to the Khan Temple.

When Khan Temple was originally was still unknown.  Khan Temple was dedicated to Liu Wuzhou, a general in late Sui Dynasty.

Khan Temple was dedicated to Liu Wuzhou, a general in late Sui Dynasty

Khan Temple was dedicated to Liu Wuzhou, a general in late Sui Dynasty

One high platform in the compound of Khan Temple is the highest viewing point where you can have a bird’s-eye of the village.

 

One high platform in the compound of Khan Temple is the highest viewing point where you can have a bird's-eye of the village.

One high platform in the compound of Khan Temple is the highest viewing point where you can have a bird’s-eye of the village.

The entrance to the 1500-meter restored tunnels is inside the temple.

The entrance to the 1500-meter restored tunnels is inside the temple.

The entrance to the 1500-meter restored tunnels is inside the temple.

The three layers of tunnels look like a labyrinth.

 

The three layers of tunnels look like a labyrinth.

The three layers of tunnels look like a labyrinth.

The 300 meters long cobble stoned street is the main street in the village linking the south gate with the north gate.

The 300 meters long cobble stoned street is the main street in the village

The 300 meters long cobble stoned street is the main street in the village

All the courtyard houses along the main street have high and thick walls. If all the doors were closed,  intruders would be easily kept off.

All the courtyard houses along the main street have high and thick walls

All the courtyard houses along the main street have high and thick walls

Zhangbi Village is still  inhabited by over 400 villagers. They go on with their lives unaffected by visitors.

Zhangbi Village is still inhabited by over 400 villagers

Zhangbi Village is still inhabited by over 400 villagers

Behind the hugged trees on  the high platform is the Buddhist Temple known as Xinglong Temple.

Behind the hugged trees on  the high platform is the Buddhist Temple known as Xinglong Temple.

Behind the hugged trees on the high platform is the Buddhist Temple known as Xinglong Temple.

At the northern end of the north-south street is the Zhenwu Temple built in 1808 dedicated to Xuanwu and Wudang Mountain is his seat.

At the northern end of the north-south street is the Zhenwu Temple

At the northern end of the north-south street is the Zhenwu Temple

The  north gate is a barbican  (the double gate system).

Beside the main street,  on the east side the main street there are 3 lanes  and west side 4 lanes,where you may wander for more interesting finds – vernacular dwellings, temples and more.

An old section of the wall of the castle like village.

An old section of the wall of the castle like village.

An old section of the wall of the castle like village.

The courtyard with cave house style buildings.

Cave house style buildings

Cave house style buildings

Any questions, just drop a line.

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