How the Emperor of China lived? You will visit the splendid and royal palaces like the Forbiddent City. How the rich lived? Here we list 10 famous family compounds.
1. Wang Family Compound (Wang Jia Da Yuan)
Located in the Jingsheng Town of Lingshi County of Shanxi, Wang's Compound is about 35 kilometers (22 miles) far away from Pingyao Ancient City and 140 kilometers (87 miles) from Taiyuan City. Wang Family Compound is one of largest luxurious residential complexes, representing Chinese distinctive architectural style of Ming and Qing Dynasty. It vividly reflects the luxurious life of Wang Family of that time. Parts of Wang's Compound, including Gaojia Ya, Hongmen Bao (Hongmen Castle) and Chongning Bao (Chongning Castle), etc, covering a land of 45,000 square meters (53820 square yards), are listed as provincial protective cultural relic. Given by its spacious architectures and artistic decorations, Wang's compound is regarded as the Forbidden City of Shanxi, and it is very worthy of a visit.
2. Shen House (Shen Ting)
Built in 1742 and locatedat the southeast side of Fuan Bridge in Zhouzhuang, Jiangsu Province, Shen House (sometimes known as Shen Hall) was the private property of the descendant of Shen Wansan, the first millionaire of Jiangnan (South of Yangtze River) in the early Ming Dynasty.
As the largest residential building in Zhouzhuang, the Shen House is a compound of connecting courtyards, each surrounded by dwelling quarters. It has over 100 rooms of varying sizes, covering an area of more than 2,000 square meters. And the whole building is built after a typical "hall after lobby" building pattern.
The Shen House was classed as a Focus Cultural Relic Unit under State Protection of Jiangsu Province for its imposing appearance, precise layout and exquisite wares.
3. Dayi Liu Manor (Liu Shi Zhuang Yuan)
Liu’s Manor is located in Anren town, Dayi County, Sichuan Province. It was built in the late Qing Dynasty and finished in the late of Republic of China. The whole estate covers an area of 70,000 square meters, as a 300 meters north-south distance of two buildings group, which has a total of 350 houses.
Liu's manor has 2770 pieces of relics, including 39 at the international level and 113 pieces of artifacts. There are a wide variety of furniture , large quantities of gold and silver jewelry ,antiques ,calligraphy and so on. The Liu Manor distinctive architecture has the combination of Western-style and China's feudal style, thus have high historical and artistic value.
4. Mou’s Manor (Mou Shi Zhuang Yuan)
Mou's Manor, home of an eminent northern landlord in Qixia City, is a great place to observe the lifestyle of a noble family. Mou’s Manor was listed as a National Cultural Sites for special protection in 1988 by the State Council. It’s located at the Chengbeiguzhendu Village in Qixia county. It’s the most complete feudal landlord’s manor in Northern China.
5. Qiao Family Courtyard (Qiao Jia Da Yuan)
The Qiao Family Courtyard (also called Qiao Courtyard or Qiaojia Courtyard) lies in the beautiful and richly endowed Jinzhong basin of Shanxi. It is greatly admired as a very special artistic treasure and is one of the ten best attractions in Shanxi Province. More than 50 films, TV plays selected spot and took pictures here. The film “Raise the Red Lantern" which was directed by Mr Zhang Yimou was filmed here.
Viewed from outside, the residency is serious and grand, with long yards; viewed from inside, it is splendid and orderly, reflecting the residential style of big families in feudal society in North China.The Compound gained its renown not only for its large scale but also for the exquisite craftsmanship reflected in the brick carving, woodcarving and murals.
6. Royal Prime Minister’s Palace (Huang Cheng Xiang Fu)
Royal Prime Minister’s palace is located in Beiliu Town, Shanxi Jincheng, is a mansion of teacher of Emperor Kangxi. Covering an area of 90,000 meters square with 19 gardens and courtyards, 640 rooms and 9 castle gates, the complex is comprised of officer's dwelling place, ancient homes of literary men and folk houses. This palace was surrounded by a wall 1700 meters long and 12 meters high, and designed and built for strong defense from inside and outside. It is also called Turtle City (which means strong for ever), because when viewed from the top, it looks like a turtle facing the northern sea.
Emperor Kangxi gave this palace to Chen Jingting to show his appreciation to his teacher. The complex now hosts a great number of Chen Jingting's posthumous works and the emperor's handwritings.
7. Li's Manor (Li Shi Zhuang Yuan)
Li's Manor also named Li Jia Xu Landlord Courtyard, located at the Huoqiu County in Anhui Province, is one of the top 4 landlord courtyard all over the country.
Li's Manor was built in 1856 of Qing Dynasty and finished in 1866. It has 3 parts of Big area, smaill area and old area covering an area of 70 acres with 430 rooms originally, and then combine into East area and west area, now only left west area with 140 rooms.
8.Jiang's Manor (Jiang Shi Zhuang Yuan)
Situated in Liujiamao Village, Mizhi County, Yulin City of Shaanxi Province, the manor was built by Jiang Yaozu, the richest man in the village during the reign of Emperor Tongzhi of the Qing Dynasty (1861 - 1875). Covering an area of over 40 mu (2.7 hectares), it consists of three parts: lower, central and upper sections. The lower part is surrounded by a 9.5-meter-high stone wall, while connected to the central part by an 8 by 10 meter wall. The upper part is the manor's main living area. A cave connects the back of manor to a mountain, providing an excellent shelter for people to avoid attacks.
9. Kang Baiwan's Manor
Located in Kangdian County of Gongyi City, Henan Province, Kang Baiwan's Manor was built during the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) by the landlord Kang Yingkui. It covers a building area of 64,300 square meters, including 33 courtyards, 53 buildings, over 1300 houses and 73 caves. It consists of dozens of parts such as a residential section, ancestral hall and garden section. The manor features various kinds of delicate carvings, including brick, wood and stone in different vivid shapes. It now has 36 exhibition rooms, boasting a large number of well-preserved antiques, and receives 160,000 tourists per year.
10. Pala Manor
Located four kilometers southwest of Gyantse county of Tibet, the Pala Manor, also known as Phakue Lhakhang, is one of the top twelve manors of the former Tibetan nobility. A visit to this Manor will give you a valuable insight to conditions of living of different classes of people in a former Tibetan aristocratic household. The Pala Manor we see today still has fifty-seven houses on an estate with an area of approximately 5000 square metres (1.24 acres). The main building is a three-storey structure that includes a scripture hall, reception hall, and bedrooms. In addition to the lobby used for playing the Chinese game of Majiang there are many other reception halls. The maze of rooms is richly decorated with exquisitely carved beams and painted rafters.