You want to find a place to get in touch with nature and find some tranquility? Moreover you want to find the ancient China and see some historic buildings? Then the village Zhujiayu is the right place for you to visit while travelling in China. Take a flight to Jinan and from there take the bus to reach the village for a day trip.

Zhujiayu is a village located in Shandong Province about 45km away from Jinan. It has a population of only about 2000 people and is known for the preservation of its historical buildings from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. These buildings are mostly built from stones and rocks from the nearby mountains the village is surrounded by. There are about 300 residential houses, temples, bridges, pavilions and courtyards surrounded by forests and flower fields.

The village is divided into an old and a new part. The parts are encircled by an ancient wall built with rocks. Walking through the old village makes one feel like being back in ancient times. Moreover in the village one can find more than 90 stone bridges that have been built during the past centuries. Each bridge has its different style and design. The most outstanding bridge is the Zhaojia Bridge from the Qing Dynasty. This bridge is well-preserved and is composed of two levels of roads, one on top of the other.

Additionally the village has two temples. It is said that the temples were built in the late Qing Dynasty. These temples are very special. Apart from other temples which are places for worshipping the god of wealth or the goddess of mercy, these two temples worship the gods of literature in Chinese mythology.  For a long time, education has been valued in Zhujiayu. This can be seen from the number of old-style private schools in the village. There used to be about 17 schools and also here was the first female-only school in Shangdong province. One of the old-style private schools of the Qing Dynasty still exists in the village. Some parts remain still in good conditions other parts such as the store room for books looks dilapidated.

On the wall hangs a tablet inscribed by the emperor to praise the talents of the tutor Zhu Fengyin. He was rated as a successful candidate at an imperial examination during the reign of the Qing emperor of Guangxu.  Today the 94 year old granddaughter-in-law of Zhu Fengyin still lives in the simple house. Although her son tried to persuade her living in the city with the family, she prefers the village life. In the village it is the elderly generation that leads a traditional lifestyle.  Most young and middle-aged people have moved to the big cities.

Nowadays there are not many historical villages left. Most have given way to modernization. However Zhujiayu with his labyrinth of narrow streets and ancient buildings still shows an image of ancient China.  In 2005 the Village was rated as one of the 24 Famous Chinese Historical and Cultural Villages by the Chinese government. The village is famous for its natural and traditional appearance and therefore has become a popular set for more than 20 movies and soap operas. Moreover a museum has been built to show the history, culture and anecdotes of the village.

Come to this nice village and feel the spirit of the ancient China. It will make your China travel very special!

Jack Li
 

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