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Cao's Compound

cao-compound Businessmen have played a crucial role in Chinese commerce. They have both contributed greatly to its development and written extensively about their achievements.

Typical of these are the houses to be found in Shanxi Province, which are representative of the wealth attained by the Shanxi Merchants. The larger of these mansions are the Chinese equivalent of the English castle or the French chateau.

cao-compound01It is no surprise to learn that a country with a continuous 5000-year-old civilization should be blessed with a number of historic houses as well as its fine heritage of imperial, religious and civic buildings. One of predominant among these wealthy businessmen is the Cao family. The Cao family business owned more than 640 firms and had 37,000 employees. It had an estimated worth of 12 million taels of silver, the tael being a unit of currency used in traditional China. The business had branches and connections in Japan, Moscow, Paris and London. A visit to the Cao Compound will give you insight into their extraordinary achievements.

When people first saw the Cao compound, they were astonished to find that the complex was so large and magnificent. It occupied an area of 10,638 square meters (about 12,723 square yards). It is characteristic of its noble, simple and unpretentious construction. The Cao compound is built around three large courtyards, which connect three, 3-tiered, 17-meter (about 18.6 yards) high buildings that house a total of 277 rooms. These structures are in the architectural style of Ming Dynasty, Qing Dynasty, and the Republic of China (1912-1949). The Compound is also noted as Sanduo Hall. Sanduo meaning three mores: more good fortune, more longevity and more children. It is one of the amazing pieces ofn national treasure from the Qing Dynasty. The Cao Compound is very popular with tourists because of its unique appearance and charming style.

Transportation: People can take a coach from Taiyuan Jiannan Bus Station to Taigu County, and then transfer a bus to Qi County to Beiguang Village. Walking for about 15 minutes or taking a taxi, people can get the Cao Compound.