Erqilou village, an ancient stone village, is situated among the hills southwest of Daolang town in the Daiyue district of Tai’an. Impregnated with the fine spirit of Mt. Tai, it is like a marvelous but simple stone tribe cradled by hills and green trees.
The narrow alleys in the village, mostly built in the Ming and Qing dynasties, are paved with blue stones of different sizes, which are arranged in a crisscross pattern. After hundreds of years of time, each of the stones is polished now, and becomes especially shiny after rains. The roads make a unique scenery in the village.
The streets and alleys are lined with stone walls of different heights, connecting the stone houses of varying heights. There is a tradition in building houses in the village. The villagers would build their houses based on their own likes and tastes instead of following an expert’s instructions or designs. Thus the ancient styles in the history of Chinese architecture are brought into their maximum. The villager also make stone mills, stone grinders, stone vat as well as stone steps, stone pig pens, stone cow barns, stone chicken coops. Almost everything in life can be made out of stones, which have become an indispensable part in the village.
Outside the village, there are also such attractions as Immortals’ Valley, Eight-diagram Camp to the southeast, and stone-dock mountain fastness, stone-dock caves, rocky hills to the northwest.
At the bottom of the Immortals’ Valley, there are seven wells of varying heights, which are arranged in the pattern of the Big Dipper if observed from above. The mysterious thing about the wells are that the water in every well always reaches to the well holes despite the different depths of the wells, and the water never flows out of the wells.
The Eight-diagram Camp, according to historical records, was built to prevent the invasion of the Manchu army by some officials and intellectuals at the end of the Ming dynasty. The design, composed of an interior eight-diagram pattern and an exterior eight-diagram pattern, formed a defensive system which was efficient both for attack and defense. Now there only remain the ruins of the camp. However, they still preserve the original appearance.
According to the inscriptions on the stones, the stone-dock mountain fastness was built for military purposes by the Qing government.
Besides, on the hillside sits the stone-dock cave where there is a natural chessboard inscribed in a giant stone. It is said to be a place where the immortals used to play chess.
Reasons for recommendation: Ancient village, antique pavilions, stone walls, green cypresses, wells, camps. All are attractions of Erqilou village. In addition, walking into the village is like walking into a natural stone museum.
Address: Daolang Town, Daiyue District
Transportation: Drive along Jinghu Expressway, get off at Tai’an West, drive west along Tai’an-Feicheng Highway for about 20 kilometers.