Chang Family Compound

stone carved doorBuilt over several generations by a wealthy merchant family to house the many branches of this successful clan, the Chang Family Compound it is a splendid group of constructions of northern folk houses in Qing Dynasty. The Chang Family Compound is the largest of the Shanxi merchant family manors with an impressive size, however, what remains today is just one quarter of the original 600,000 square-meter compound, which contained over 1500 rooms.

Strolling in the compound, you can easily figure out the living area of this big family consisting of the grey streets, stone roads, decorated archways, quadrangles and stages. Although the owners are gone and only the empty buildings remain, you can still be blessed in this place with a feel for the history and the culture. The owners of Chang's Compound, the Chang family, were the well-known Shanxi businessmen in the Qing Dynasty. The family represented a rare group of people who were both businessmen and intellectuals. The main trade of this family was with Russia. The whole family became rich around the middle period of the Qing Dynasty and after that they paid great attention and huge sums of money toward building new houses.

Chang's Compound is a typical northern one, but it has flavors of other parts of China. In the family, apart from the Imperial Scholars, First-Degree Scholars, Certified Students, there are also masters of writing and painting. The houses join closely together like the teeth of a comb or the scales of a fish in Chang's Compound, and each of them has strong points. The storied buildings, pavilions, terraces and towers, as well as the patio and garden, contrast finely with each other, reflecting the economic power of the Chang family in those days.

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