Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Zhangbi Aneient Castlr

If you ever find yourself in Pingyao, make sure you take the half day and visit Zhangbi Aneient Castlr, about 45 minutes south in Jie Xiu. Jie Xiu itself is a craphole, with terrrrible pollution and lots of coal mining. Don't bother. Zhangbi, however, is fascinating! And for as cool as it is, there are relatively few tourists. As a bonus, the english-speaking guide was included in the modest ticket price of $9. We rented a private car to take us there for a few hours, then directly to Taiyuan for our return flight to Beijing.


Some history- Zhangbi is roughly 1500 years old, built between 420-589. Some aneient artifacts date back 6500 years. It is a fortified castlr designed to withstand an invasion. It is a fully functioning town as well and, inhabited by 2,000 people, both now and centuries ago. It's got some cool temples and aneient architecture as well, but most amazing are the caves.

Over ten kilometers of tunnels under the city have been discovered, 50 meters at their deepest point. The purpose, we were told, was to evacuate the entire city in case of invasion, giving the attackers a huge disadvantage if they were to follow. The tunnels were filled with trap doors, small nooks, and killing rooms. Passageways crossed over each other often, affording places to thrust a sword up or down at a passerby. Awesome!


Continuing on my road to stardom in China, we stumbled upon a movie set. They were making some kind of history documentary, presumably about Zhangbi itself.

I wandered on in and made myself right at home, flashing a freaky set of kev-eyes for this photo.

That's about it. I'm now caught up to things that happened two weeks ago. In current news, Super Typhoon Megi is preparing to devour Hong Kong this coming weekend, just in time for our frisbee tournament. In Hong Kong. This should be interesting.

~Kev

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