The Qiao Family Mansions
The Qiao Family Mansions (乔家大院) in Qixian County are a showpiece of merchant residences in central Shanxi. In fact, the Qiao family had built four courtyards, the layouts of which resembled the Chinese characters for fu (good luck), lu (officialdom), shou (longevity) and xi (happiness). Now, only the last one—happiness—remains. It covers an area of 8,724 sq. m, the extant Qiao Family Mansions, which had been built in more 100 years, include 20 minor courtyards and 313 rooms.
The Qiao family came to prominence in the early 18th century. They started businesses in Baotou, Inner Mongolia, and gradually expanded across China. Later, they set up private money shops, such as Dadetong and Dadeheng, and thus rose to national fame.
The Qiao Family Mansions have survived relatively unscathed, and their original form has basically remained. In 1990, it was turned into a "Folk Customs Museum."