In addition to busy streets and high-rises, Beijing is also home to ancient villages that enhance the beauty of this time-honored city, providing refreshing respites from the hustle of city life where visitors can enjoy the natural landscape and have a taste of local folk culture. We list four of them, located in Mentougou district.
Lingshui Village (灵水村)
Lingshui Village is also known as Juren Village, because historically many of the villagers have passed the imperial exam and were awarded as the academic title of Juren. The village is credited for the well-preserved traditional rural residences built in Ming (1368-1644 AD) and Qing (1644-1911 AD) dynasties, as well as temple complexes. Another highlight of the village is those tall and austere-looking cypresses, which have for centuries witnessed the village’s ups and downs. There are rural home-stays serving food and providing accommodation.
How to get there: Take subway line 1 to Pingguoyuan stop, 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 encounter some amazing scenery along the way.
Cuandixia Village (爨底下)
The village has a history of around 400 years. Among the examples of rural architecture scattered around the village, there are 70 traditional stone courtyards, some of them providing accommodation. You can climb to Guadi Temple to have an overall view of the village, feasting your eyes with the stunning view while wondering at 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, and 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 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.
How to get there: Take subway line 1 to Pingguoyuan, 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 has a history of making liuli, color glazed tiles that can date back over 800 years, and 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, making tiles mainly used for repairing the buildings in the aforementioned places. Most of the village’s residents work in the liuli industry. The village sits next to Mount Miaofeng, a picturesque place worth a visit as well.
How to get there: Take subway line 1 to Pingguoyuan, take bus 929/892 to Liuliqu stop.