Ancient Cliff House (Guyaju)
The Ancient Cliff House (Guyaju), "the biggest maze of China", was a significant discovery relating to the study of ancient Chinese people who inhabited the north of the country. However, no precise record of it has ever been found, so no one knows its exact origins. About 92 kilometers (57 miles) from Beijing, the house was hewn from the craggy cliffs overlooking Zhangshanying Town, Yanqing County. The intriguing house complex has more than 110 stone rooms, and is the largest cliff residence ever discovered in China.
On each side of the precipitous cliffs, adjacent stone houses, rectangular and square, large and small, were built. The houses vary in size, from over 20 square meters (24 square yards) to 3-4 square meters (4.5 square yards). Some are interlinked perpendicularly, while some are interconnected horizontally. Some have a single room, while some have 2-3 connecting rooms. Stone steps, and stone ladders are used to connect the storeys of an entire cliff house. Stone lamp-stands, stone hearths, closets, and mangers in the caves, the windows and gates all remain as traces of their mysterious ancient inhabitants. Some houses were built with kangs, a kind of bed which can be heated from below on cold days.
The most fascinating one is a 2-storey stone house, with six finely engraved stone pillars propping it up. Within the house, there is a wing containing a small room with a stone table, stone stools, and a broad stone bed. This ingeniously constructed stone room is at the highest spot of the cliff house, and is thought to be the residence of a chief of the day. Standing on its upper floor, tourists can see a superb panorama of the nearby areas.