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Qiao Compound

Qiao Compound of Pingyao

The Qiao family Compound was built in 1756 during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is located sixty kilometers (37.3 miles) south of Taiyuan, the provincial capital of Shanxi, and about twenty kilometers (12.4 miles) north of Pingyao. The buildings have been well maintained despite the fact that the Qiao's family had lost their influence by the 1940's.

The Compound was originally the home of the influential Qiao family. It was built by bean curd and tea merchant, Qiao Guifa, in the late 1700s and is well preserved. With their successful businesses, the Qiao family enjoyed a prestigious status in the Qing Dynasty during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1735-1796). One of the members of the family traveled around the country and even to foreign countries, which made Qiao's business nationally influential.

This is the best known of the family compounds in this area because it is the site where the Zhang Yimou's film "Raise the Red Lantern" was filmed. Other films have also been made there. The building covers an area of 8,000 square meters and consists of six main courtyards and 19 smaller ones, with 313 rooms altogether. From a pavilion on the south-western corner one can have a bird’s eye view of the entire compound.

The inner courtyards and passages of Qiao's Compound were designed in the shape of the Chinese character "Shuangxi", which means double happiness in English. The roofs of the rooms are shaped like waves and mountain peaks.

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