Where to Explore Ancient Villages in the Suburbs of Beijing

In addition to busy streets and high-rises, Beijing is also home to a number of ancient villages. Providing refreshing respites from the hustle of city life, these villages also allow visitors to enjoy the beautiful natural landscape of the Beijing area, and get a taste of local folk culture. We list four villages worth visiting, all located in Mentougou district.

Lingshui Village (灵水村)

Lingshui Village is also known as Juren Village, because historically many of the villagers who lived here passed the imperial exam and were awarded as the academic title of Juren. The village is known for its well-preserved traditional rural residences built in the Ming (1368-1644 AD) and Qing (1644-1911 AD) dynasties, as well as temple complexes. Another highlight of the village are the tall and austere-looking cypresses, which have for centuries witnessed the village’s ups and downs. If you want to stay the night, there are also rural home-stays serving food and providing accommodation.

How to get there: Take subway line 1 to Pingguoyuan Station then transfer to 989 bus to Zhaitang. From there you can either take a taxi or a 40-minute walk. The bus ride is about two hours and you will enjoy some amazing scenery along the way.

Cuandixia Village (爨底下)

This village has a history of around 400 years, and among the examples of rural architecture scattered around the village, there are 70 traditional stone courtyards, some of which provide accommodation. Climb to Guadi Temple to get an overall view of the village, and feast your eyes with the stunning view while wondering how time has stood still in this small village, bathed in breath-taking serenity.

How to get there: Take Subway Line 1 to Pingguoyuan Station, then take bus 892/929 and get off at Zhaitang Station. From there, it's another 10-minute taxi ride.

Sangyu Village (桑峪村)

Nestled in the mountains and surrounded by forest and stunning scenery, Sangyu village is especially interesting as it is home to the oldest Catholic church in Beijing – the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was built around 700 years ago during Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). The church still hosts well-attended services today.

How to get there: Take subway line 1 to Pingguoyuan Station, then take 931 bus to Nanxinfang stop, and it will take you another 10 minutes walk to Sangyu village.

Liuliqu Village (琉璃渠)

Liuliqu is famous for its long history of making liuli (color-glazed tiles) that dates back to over 800 years. The tiles made here were used as roof tiles for buildings in the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, and the Lama Temple. The liuli firing kiln still exists and is in use today, making tiles mainly used for repairing the buildings in the aforementioned historical buildings. Most of the village’s residents work in the liuli industry. The village sits next to Mount Miaofeng, a picturesque place that is also worth a visit.

How to get there: Take subway line 1 to Pingguoyuan, take bus 929/892 to Liuliqu stop.

This post originally appeared on our sister site beijingkids.

Looking for more modern digs? Why not try these eight escapist Airbnbs.

More stories by this author here.
Email: kuang@thebeijinger.com
Instagram: beijinglights_

Photos: Glenn Strong/Flickr.com , Beijing Health Tourism, mafengwo.cn