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Zhangbi Ancient Castle | Zhangbi Underground Castle

Zhangbi Ancient Village is a rare well-preserved miniature castle with military, residential and religious functions in Pingyao, adorned with a cluster of precious historical sites, such as remains of Xia and Shang Dynasties (2070 BC - 1046 BC), tunnels constructed in Sui and Tang Dynasties, tombs of Jin Dynasty, theatre stages of Yuan Dynasties, residents built in Ming and Qing Dynasties, etc. It is a history-storyteller, still remaining residential, unimproved and mysterious, which gives travelers a better sense of what things were like and what once happened in the ancient time.

Zhangbi Ancient Castle looks very normal and exactly the same as outside, but conceals a large-scale, maze-like underground world, a tunnel network which provides a deep insight into the ancient defenses. Who built these tunnels? Why? It is still an open question at this time.

Zhangbi Underground Castle Zhangbi Underground Castle
Preserved temples in Zhangbi Ancient Castle Historical site in Zhangbi Ancient Village

Zhangbi Ancient Castle, with an area of only 2,000 square meters, owns complete functions as a city with defense system, housing ancient tunnels, temples, palaces, monuments, etc. The nearly-ten-mile-length underground tunnel system, with the entrance situated in an ordinary peasant’s house, is composed of 3 layers. The top layer is only 1 meter from the ground while the lowest one reaches about 20 meters deep. Most of the tunnels are about 2 meters high, winding and crossing, like a nest, equipped with kilns, caves, wells, grain silos, wall-hole communication facilities and assassination traps. The amazing military system is guessed to be built by Liu Wuzhou, who was once combated with the emperor Taizong of Tang Dynasty in Zhangbi Village.

Zhangbi Underground Castle Zhangbi Underground Castle
Entrance of Underground Tunnels Sunshine streams in through the deep well

The numerous religious temples and palaces are also must-see in Zhangbi Ancient Castle, including 16 temples, Kehan Temple, Kongwang Buddha Palace of Ming Dynasty, etc. All of them integrate the cultures of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. Another must-see attraction is two glass-made monuments with important value, which are the only two of their kind discovered until now. Moreover, some of the buildings and streets in Zhangbi Ancient Village, built in unique architectural style, are of residential and military importance.

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