Nestled away far from the seething metropolis of central Guangzhou, lies Qiangang (钱岗村), an ancient village in the town of Taiping. Built during the Song Dynasty, this little gem of peace and quiet serves as the perfect weekend getaway for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city. Sparsely populated and emanating a quintessential rural vibe, the village is ideal for a leisurely walk amid the neatly lined up houses, swinging banyan trees and water buffalos.
Preserved for over 800 years and still in its original state, Qiangang makes you feel like you’ve just walked back in time. The village also has garnered international recognition, having won first prize in the 2003 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s award for the protection of cultural heritage projects.
Confusing layout for a reasonView In Map
The village has a total of 12 winding streets to explore, though it’s easy to get lost in the countless little alleys that weave in and out of each other. Given the winding design of the village, many visitors feel put off and confused by its seemingly messy layout, though according to history, the strange shape of the village was designed by a geographer. After surveying the area, the geographer decided that Qiangang should be built in the shape of a lotus root, in accordance with fengshui. He also stated that the village could only be built irregularly, otherwise it simply wouldn’t last.
As the village began to take shape, the geographer suggested that the village was surrounded by four walls with a gate at each direction letting residents in and out. He also suggested that lotus plants were planted in and around Qiangang, and that the villagers should let them grow naturally over time.
Unfortunately, during the 1960s and 70s, many of the ancient walls of the village were demolished. After the 80s however, a construction team got together to help with the restoration of Qiangang. The village currently has four watchtowers that face each direction, with are named “Qiyan (启延),” “Zhenming (震明),” “Zhenhua (镇华),” and “Yinglong (迎龙)” respectively. Each tower is fitted with an impressive large ancient door, which are closed for visitors in the evening. Each watchtower is also linked together by brick walls, which presumably made the job of keeping watch over the city a lot easier back in the day.
Of course, the sole purpose of the towers wasn’t only to keep watch. If a local family ever gave birth to a boy, there was often a gathering and a celebratory meal that took place in the towers. Walking around the village, you can lay your eyes on many ancient houses, which once upon a time only actually housed around seven or eight people in the whole village, who supposedly never left the village walls. Visitors can not only soak in the aesthetical beauty of these buildings, but can also get a real sense of history and culture when visiting Qiangang.
Add: Qiangang Village, Taiping Town, Conghua, Guangzhou
Getting there: there’s a bus every 15 minutes from Guangzhou’s Yuexiu South Bus Station (越秀南汽车客运站) that goes to Conghua, with tickets to Taiping Town costing around 15 RMB. When you arrive, take a motorbike (roughly 8 RMB per person) to the village.
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Keywords: Qiangang ancient village
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