Nicknamed ‘The Forbidden City of Shanxi’, the Wang family compound (Wang Jia Da Yuan) is one of the largest and most luxurious private residences in all of China and is a must-visit destination for anyone heading to Pingyao.
Built around the mid 1600’s during the Qing Dynasty, the exquisite compound originally served as a home to the Wang family who became incredibly wealthy through farming and trading enterprises. More an ancient Chinese castle than a home, the fortified compound covers an impressive 45,000 square meters and comprises several fabulous buildings with delicate architecture and intricate carvings.
Thankfully, the vast self-contained city survived the Cultural Revolution, which saw many seemingly ‘bourgeois’ structures such as the Wang Compound razed to the ground with historical relics and cultural artifacts destroyed.
While the nearby Qiao Compound is perhaps the more famous of the region thanks to its appearance in various high-profile TV shows and the 1991 film Raise the Red Lantern, the Wang Compound is unsurpassed in terms of scale and well-preserved ancient style with a network of traditional-style courtyards and intricate carvings.
Having only recently been opened to the public in the last few years, the 1,118 room Wang compound is also lesser-known than others in the region and as such is surprisingly a less crowded destination. The benefit of this is obvious – fewer sightseers means a more relaxing experience, but the drawback is the lack of signs in any language other than Mandarin Chinese, making a guide almost essential due to the warren-like complexities of the vast and confusing compound.
Our Discover China’s Architectural Marvels tour takes in the spectacular sites of China including Pingyao and the Wang Family Compound. If you’d like to plan a vacation to Asia that includes a guided visit to this fascinating historical site by a local expert, be sure to get in touch with one of our local Travel Specialists who will be delighted to share their intricate knowledge of China with you.