Adults CNY 120.
|Dimension:||L=630, W=565, VR=214 m.|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|Address:||Zhongshiyuan Tiankeng, Tel: +86-, Fax: +86-,|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|2013||village opened as a living folk museum.|
|APR-2016||Zhongshiyuan and Xiashiyuan merged into one scenic area.|
中石院天坑 (Zhōngshí yuàn tiān kēng, Zhongshiyuan Tiankeng) is a huge doline or tiankeng. With a diameter around 600 m the surface of the floor is big enough for a village named 中石院 (Zhōngshí yuàn, Middle Stone Courtyard). Almost 20 families are said to live there for centuries. Nevertheless, the need to climb several hundred meter for anything, including going to school, shopping, or going to work, makes living there a bit strenuous. There is a trail but no road.
Lately the site was transformed into a sort of folk museum or living museum. The Tujia people follow the ancient methods of weaving and farming, continue the marriage customs for thousands of years, and live in the characteristic hammock buildings. They also dance traditional folk dances, sing ancient mountain songs, and entertain visitors with well-preserved folk customs. Visitors have to walk to the village and can stay at the inn overnight, a sort of time travel experience.
The two huge tiankengs Zhongshiyuan and Xiashiyuan were merged in April 2016 into a new scenic Tiankeng Village scenic spot. They have one visitor center with ticket office for both. As we understood the ticket is also valid for both, although we are actually not sure why visitors should visit both of them, as they seem to be almost identical. Only the tiankeng is completely different, one is circular and seems to be the result of a collapse cavern, the other is elongated and probably the result of a collapsed passage.