Taoping Village, located in Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, 170
kilometers west of Chengdu , is the best-preserved village exclusively inhabited
by Qiang ethnic group. Built in 111 BC, this ancient village has survived 2,000
years of erosion and stands well today. Its maze-like manner and durable
architecture have earned it the moniker "the ancient castle in the East."
The village has eight gates and 31 interconnecting lanes leading to each
household in a maze-like manner. Villagers say that during wartime periods these
lanes provided a form of defense as they were used to move supplies and plan
ambushes. The loopholes left in the walls along these lanes are evidence of the
village's warlike history. As one senior villager recalled, "As long as there
were sufficient food reserves, we could defend our village for years."
On a nearby mountain stand two nine-story buildings, Diaolou in Chinese.
Standing 20-30 meters high averagely，Diaolou used to be of great military
significance at times of war. A perfect combination of mechanics and
aesthetics，Diaolou has for centuries stood firm though the region was frequently
stricken by earthquakes.
The Qiang people built their homes from stone,
earth and timber, judging all measurements by eye, rather than designing
scientifically; yet all buildings have stood firm, straight and long. The Qiang
houses usually have five stories. Livestock is kept on the first floor, and the
living room, bedrooms and kitchen are on the second and the third. The fourth is
used for storage and the fifth is a place of worship where white stones are
arranged upon which sacrifices are offered.