'Living fossil' village features well-preserved 

2021年04月23日09:19  来源:山西日报

The village of Zhangbi is home to a number of buildings dating back centuries. PENG KE’ER / FOR CHINA DAILY

An intact ancient fortress,centuries-old residences and temples,a layout in accordance with ancient astrology and feng shui and ancient tombs in the vicinity-the richness of historical and cultural resources that a small village in Shanxi province can offer will surprise even the most seasoned tourists and researchers.

This village is called Zhangbi and is located in Jiexiu county in the center of Shanxi province.It has been rated by the country's tourism authority as one of the most famous historical and cultural villages in China and 4A scenic area.

Standing at the center of village is a well-preserved ancient fortress covering some 12 hectares.

According to local residents,the fortress was built in the late Sui Dynasty(581-618),when there were wars and conflicts lasting for almost a decade.Military forces of the Sui and the following Tang Dynasty(618-907)were stationed there.

The fortress is protected by a 10-meter-high and 1,300-meter-long city wall,which is still intact today after weathering attacks,rain,snow and wind for more than 1,400 years.Also adding to its strategic advantage is that it is surrounded by high mountain cliffs to the south and deep valleys in the other three directions.

In addition to the city wall,another important defense facility is a tunnel system with a total length of about 10 kilometers under the fortress and its vicinity.

According to researchers,construction of the tunnel system began in 619 during the Tang Dynasty.It could provide shelter for more than 10,000 soldiers.

Since the Jin Dynasty(1115-1234),the ancient fortress has become a settlement for civilians.

Today,the settlement that is called Zhangbi is home to more than 200 households.The villagers'residences were mostly built during the Ming(1368-1644)and Qing(1644-1911)dynasties.

The great number of ancient buildings,including more than 20 temples,have made Zhangbi"a living fossil of ancient villages in North China",Feng Jicai,a renowned contemporary Chinese writer,once commented.

Cultural researchers also discovered another secret in this millennium-old village-its layout has been developed according to ancient Chinese astrology and feng shui theory.

According to ancient Chinese astrology,the universe is composed of 28 constellations governed by various deities.

And the village of Zhangbi was named after two constellations.

The southern village gate corresponds to the constellation of Zhang and the northern gate corresponds to the constellation of Bi-so that's why the village is named Zhangbi.

Feng shui elements have also been used in the design and construction of the village.

Feng shui is the ancient Chinese science of studying the environment in relation with a residence and people's fortune.When building a residence or a settlement,the ideal feng shui layout is to have mountains and waterways in its surroundings.

According to local residents,the Mianshan Mountain in the south and the river valleys on other three sides not only add to the village and fortress'defensive function but also create an ideal feng shui layout.

Peng Ke’er contributed to this story.