Ancient underground courtyards sinking out of sight
Among the hilly and loess areas west of central China¡¯s Henan Province, an
unusual kind of ancient underground dwelling ¡¡ complete with blooming gardens,
kitchens and rooms ¡¡ is drawing domestic and foreign tourists who call it a
The ¡°sunken courtyard¡± is closely related to the tradition of the primitive
ancients' cave dwelling. With a history of 4,000 years, the sunken courtyard is
one kind of a common residence in China¡¯s hilly and loess areas.
Within the province¡¯s boundaries of San Men Straits, you can still find some
sunken courtyards scattered in the area. In fact, several dozens of families are
still living in those ancient dwellings. Such courtyards today, however, are
In recent years, some Chinese experts successively arrived at Shan county of
Henan Province to unlock the mystery behind the sunken courtyards. They believed
that, as remains of ancient cave dwellings, the sunken courtyard has a higher
value in the study of history, architecture, geology and sociology.