More Than 1000 Years Old, China’s Guyaju Caves Has Over 350 Stone Rooms & Mystery Intact

by Mallika Khurana
More Than 1000 Years Old, China’s Guyaju Caves Has Over 350 Stone Rooms & Mystery Intact

Man-made caves are some of the most remarkable structures in the world. Guyaju Caves, also known as Ancient Cliff Dwellings or Yanqing Ancient Cliff House, are magnificent man-made caves in the Yanging district of China. These honeycomb-like structures are complex carvings into the Tianhuang Mountain slopes. There is no clear record of when these glorious caves were originally constructed and their origin remains a mystery. However, they were discovered in 1984. 

This Discovery Of Guyaju Caves

Guyaju Caves
Photo Credits: Canva

The mysterious part of the caves is the history of their construction. The caves don’t have any carvings or art inside that might hint at the era of their construction. Many scholars have given their opinions about its origin, and they all differ. While some believe that this site was found by Kumo Xi, a tribe that existed more than 1000 years ago, others believe that it was constructed during the Tang Dynasty, which lasted from AD 618–907. Some even believe that these caves were used by soldiers during the Han Dynasty (202 BC–AD 220).

After it was discovered, it was registered with the National Key Cultural Relics Protection Unit. It was listed as a Major Historical and Cultural Site Protected at the National Level in 2013. Once used as living quarters by the communities residing there, these caves are now open for people to visit and explore their unique structures. Presently, they are located about 90km northwest of Beijing, China.

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The Magnificent Structure Of These Unique Caves

Ancient Cliff Dwellings
Photo Credits: Canva

Here are some interesting facts you must note about the Guyaju Caves:

  • Built on a site consisting of 110-million-year-old granite, this structure has 350 chambers spread across 117 caves.
  • These chambers mostly have a rectangular or square plan with an average height of 1.8 metres.
  • The dwellings have single rooms as well as larger multi-room homesteads.
  • These dwellings are also interlinked with a network of vertical and horizontal passages.
  • Additionally, it is common to see furnishings made of rock, such as storage compartments, stone tables, beds, lamp stands, etc., in many homes.
  • The name “Guantangzi,” which translates to “Golden Temple,” is given to the main complex at the Guyaju Caves.
  • Over the course of two stories, this complex comprises eight chambers.
  • Two elaborately carved pillars at the entrance open onto a room used for gatherings or religious events.

These unique-looking Guyaju Caves are certainly intriguing. Even though their origin remains a mystery, it is believed that the people living in these quarters led thriving lives.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva