Wang Grand Courtyard [Photo/VCG]
Located in Lingshi county, Shanxi province, the Wang Grand Courtyard, or the Grand Courtyard of the Wang Family, is the largest folk residence cluster in China, showcasing the quintessence of Chinese architectural art and cultural values.
It was built by the Wang family, one of the four big families of Lingshi county, from the Kangxi Emperor's Reign (1661-1722) to the Jiaqing Emperor's Reign (1796-1820) in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The site, a model of a merchant family's residence, thus features the Qing architectural style.
Covering 250,000 square meters, the Wang Grand Courtyard consists of five alleys, five ancestral halls, six castles and one street. At present, four parts are open to the public: the Gaojiaya, Red Gate Castle, Shilyu Castle and the Wang Family Temple. There are 231 small yards and 2,078 rooms within those yards, covering 80,000 square meters.
The three castle-like buildings – Shilyu Castle, Red Gate Castle and Gaojiaya – were built along a hill. The main courtyard of each castle was divided into two parts: an antechamber and a dormitory district, carrying on the style of the Western Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century-771 BC).
Besides, there are beautiful carvings featuring flowers, birds, fishes, insects and stories that express the Wang family's instructions and cultural connotations, including Confucianism and the culture of Shanxi merchants.
The layout of the yards reflects the strict hierarchical system of ancient China. Rooms and yards with different scales were offered to people in accordance with their social status.
The Wang Grand Courtyard was rated a national 4A tourist attraction in 2002.
Address: Jingsheng village, Jingsheng town, Lingshi county, Jinzhong city, Shanxi province
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