Guoliang – man-made tunnel in the rock. China. Description and photo

Guoliang Mountain Tunnel, China – overview

Just looking at the cars moving along the narrow strip of road and as if hovering over the abyss takes one’s breath away. The Guoliang Tunnel Road, part of the extreme mountain serpentine built in the Taihangshan Mountains, is considered one of China’s national tourist attractions with an interesting history. Its length is just over 1.2 kilometers and the road is only 4 meters wide, so it is extremely dangerous to drive on it. There are frequent rockfalls, it is impossible to move along it at night due to the lack of lighting, so this route is often called “the road that does not forgive mistakes”. Movement through the tunnel was opened in 1977.

In the steep vertical rocks cut through more than 30 huge windows in the form of openings to the outside. They are all completely different sizes and shapes. Some of them reach a height or width of tens of meters.

In the Chinese tourist booklets it is written that the tunnel was built by only 13 people, Chinese peasants who sold their crops, cattle and all their possessions, bought the necessary tools and equipment and began to carve the tunnel directly into the rock. Construction was done by hand. Every inch of it was fought for. Sometimes it took as much as three days of hard work to reach one meter of the tunnel. All in all it took five years, 4,000 hammers and 12 tons of steel to complete the work. While the construction continued, the workers ate nothing because they had no money left.

This, of course, is a beautiful legend for tourists. In fact, the tunnel was built by almost all the villagers of Guoliang, about 300 people, and at the end of the construction, the Chinese authorities got involved. The process was led by the head of the village, Shen Mingxin. Many people died during the construction, but that could not stop the persistent, determined and hardworking villagers. After all, before the road was built, they had to get to town first on foot and then up a dangerous narrow stone staircase located on a steep cliff, which was called the “Heavenly Staircase”. The peasants could not trade and buy the necessary products, the village was virtually cut off from civilization.

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But the result exceeded all expectations, the road built became a world landmark, many tourists, especially extreme motorists, come from all over the world to take a ride on this frightening serpentine, get a dose of adrenaline and capture the unique beauty that opens only from the village Guoliang. And its inhabitants are rewarded for their hard work and perseverance with the opportunity to earn money from tourist hospitality.

Guoliang is a man-made tunnel through rocks. China

The Guoliang Tunnel is a prime example of the perseverance, hard work, perseverance and strength of the Chinese people. It is a real mountain tunnel made by hand by a small group of people.

Guoliang Tunnel

Guoliang is actually the name of the village from which the mountain route is built right into the steep cliff face. This path has become the only transportation link between the village and the rest of the world.

Sometimes this amazing and intimidating road is called the Guoliang Tunnel or simply the Guoliang Tunnel.

General Description

This is one of the most dangerous and frightening trails in the world. As we said before, it connects a small village surrounded by high mountains to the outside world. The length of the tunnel is 1,200 meters. The average width is 4 meters and the height is about 5 meters.

The tunnel is carved into the mountainside and has more than 30 openings on the outside, which resemble huge windows.

Where is the Guoliang Tunnel

The Guoliang Tunnel is located in the Taihang Mountains of Henan Province in eastern China. The nearest major city Xinxiang is 50 kilometers to the south. It is about 550 kilometers in a straight line northeast of Beijing, the capital of China.

Creation history

The village of Guoliang was named after a fugitive rebel from the Han dynasty. He took refuge in this area, taking advantage of the difficult terrain and steep cliffs.

When a small settlement appeared here, it was very difficult to access. A road carved into the mountainside led to the settlement. In the most dangerous places, a steep, narrow ladder, called the Sky Ladder, was built right into the mountainside. It was a treacherous and extremely dangerous path for even the most nimble and brave locals.

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Until 1972, the population of the village (which is about 350 people) asked the authorities to build them a road. But the requests were not heard. Then a group of 13 villagers, led by Shen Mingxin, decided to build a relatively safe road on their own.

To begin with, they had to sell their livestock to procure hammers and an array of steel tools. Construction was done by hand. Every inch was fought for. Sometimes as much as three days of hard work were spent on one meter of track. All in all, it took five years, 4,000 hammers, 12 tons of steel and a lot of chisel to complete the job. The road through the rock was opened to traffic on May 1, 1977.

Unfortunately, several people lost their lives during construction.

The road became safer, but still the Guoliang Tunnel itself is very dangerous. It is difficult to separate cars, and in some places there is nothing separating you from the abyss.

It is interesting that now an amazing but scary road through the rock, not only facilitated the transport connection to the village, but also began to attract tourists here. On the one hand it does not make the locals very happy, but on the other hand it is an additional income. There are now hotels and cafes.

Guoliang Tunnel, a dangerous mountain road in China

One of the most dangerous mountain roads in the world is located in Chinese province Henan Guoliang (Guoliang Road). It is 1.2 kilometers long and is basically a tunnel carved into the steep cliffs.

The Guoliang Tunnel was opened in the Taichangshan Rocks in May 1977. It took more than five years to build. The Guoliang Road was a replacement for the even more dangerous stone staircase which was used by peasants from the Chinese village of Golian to reach the nearby town.

The Guoliang Road mountain tunnel is about 1,200 meters long, 5 meters high and 4 meters wide. The road is carved into the rock face with large and small windows to let in natural light. A total of 30 “windows” of different sizes and shapes have been made here. Some of them are tens of meters long.

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The Guoliang Road is quite narrow and is only passable by bicycle or small passenger car. To avoid accidents, drivers must watch out for oncoming traffic, moving slowly and very carefully.

Tourism in China has recently started to develop rapidly, and the dangerous Guoliang Road tunnel has become one of the country’s attractive tourist attractions. The “windows” cut all along the way allow you to admire the surrounding countryside and the beautiful scenery of the local nature.

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Guoliang – man-made tunnel in the rock. China. Description and photo

The Guoliang stone tunnel is probably one of the most unusual man-made projects in China. 1.2 kilometers long and more than 5 meters high, it is located high in the Taihangshan Mountains in Henan Province, China. All over the world this tunnel road is recognized not only as incredibly beautiful, but also as extremely dangerous. The slightest mistake by a motorist can end up, as the locals say, “a big mess in little China”.

Guoliang Stone Tunnel

Guoliang Tunnel in China

Carved right into the cliffs the Guoliang Road was opened to traffic on May 1, 1977 and almost immediately became a tourist attraction. It leads to a remote village high in the mountains. And, to tell the truth, its inhabitants are not at all happy about the increased attention of tourists. However, some of them try to make a living out of it, providing guide services and selling all sorts of knick-knacks.

Guoliang Rock Tunnel

The history of the construction of this mountain section is quite interesting. The small village of Guoliang is famous for its unusual location, distinctive culture and magnificent nature. Situated 1,700 meters above sea level, it has been a completely isolated settlement since time immemorial. To get there you first had to walk up a valley of towering cliffs and then a long, arduous climb up steep, narrow steps carved out of the mountain. These stone stairs were so dangerous and slippery at all times of the year that they were nicknamed “The Road to Heaven.”

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Guoliang Stone Tunnel in China.

Until the early ’70s of the 20th century, the village didn’t even have a telephone or electricity, in fact, it looked more like a medieval settlement. Long cut off from the rest of the world, the village was doomed to become a ghost town. But the locals tried to resolve the issue, constantly asking officials to build them a real road. “Plagued” by numerous petitions, the local bureaucrats did study the issue, but after calculating the necessary costs, they decided that investing many millions in a road for 350 villagers was an excessive way out, and…they refused.

Guoliang Stone Tunnel in China as seen from afar.

And then the villagers set out to build a link to the world with their own resources. Under the leadership of the head of the village, Shen Mingxin, 13 men have been working on the process continuously for five years since 1972, using only hand hammers and chisels. They purchased the tools from the villages at the foot of the mountains, giving in return their grown cattle, vegetables, grass and goat’s milk. Some of the builders, inexperienced and inexperienced in the use of equipment, died under the debris of the rocks, but others came to replace them. In creating the tunnel they were able to advance about a meter in three days. And the result of such difficult work was an incredible, magnificent and extreme tunnel in the rocks.

In some places the tunnel is very narrow, and only one car can pass slowly through it. In some places it widens to almost two lanes – two cars could already separate here. The walls of the tunnel are roughly hewn and not finished in any way, which is understandable – after all, it was built by simple peasants with hand tools. Thirty square windows exit from the tunnel.

Guoliang Stone Tunnel windows

It’s through them builders at one time threw to the bottom of the mountain hollowed out rocks. The tunnel itself is very dangerous, the slogan “This road doesn’t forgive mistakes” is quite an extreme one. To tell the truth, it is not only dangerous to drive a car, but according to the witnesses, it requires courage to walk along it. It is completely dark, only windows carved in the rocks give scanty illumination. It is absolutely impossible to imagine how a dozen ordinary people once built this unusual road object. Looking at the abyss hundreds of meters deep that gapes beneath the tunnel, you feel awe and admiration for the creators of the road.

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The mountains where the Guoliang Stone Tunnel is made.

Because of its unique geographical location, the Guoliang Tunnel can surely be called a miracle of engineering – how strong was the desire of people to create a connection with the outside world and not to live in isolation, to create such a thing! When in 2000, China decided to open its borders to tourists, the Guoliang Tunnel became one of the most famous places for travelers to visit. The village at the top of the mountain even opened two hotels for overnight travelers.

It is worth mentioning that not all tourists dare to drive through the tunnel. Some, starting to overcome the road, decide to return and not to risk, some go through it only on foot, preferring to leave the car in a safe place. But the true brave ones, who still climb the plateau, where the village of Guoliang is located, are rewarded for their efforts and courage with the view of the magnificent scenery. The settlement itself is astonishing with its unusual culture, brightly colored objects and rituals.

Guoliang Village

Here too, stone is everywhere, of which not only houses and household structures, but even furniture and utensils are lovingly made. Looking at these handmade objects, it is clear that the villagers had a long experience of harsh survival in difficult conditions.

Guoliang Stone Village Structure

Curiously, in 2011 a dispute arose between the villagers and Chinese officials over who should receive payment from tourists for visiting the tunnel.

And unfortunately, the bureaucrats, who once refused to help the ordinary peasants and left them to their fate, won the dispute. From now on, you will be charged 80 yuan ($12) to drive the mountain road, and only a fraction of that will remain in the budget of the village, once home to the great builders who built the world’s most unusual rock tunnel by hand, without the use of machinery or equipment.

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