Also known as Stone Village (石头村; Shítou Cūn), and hidden in the hills near the Héběi–Shānxī border, is the peaceful little settlement of Yújiācūn (admission ¥20). Nearly everything, from the houses to furniture inside, was originally made of stone. As such, Yújiācūn is remarkably well preserved: bumpy little lanes lead past traditional Ming- and Qing-dynasty courtyard homes, old opera stages and tiny temples.
This is also a model Chinese clan village, where 95% of the inhabitants all share the same surname of Yu (于). One of the more unusual sights is inside the Yu Ancestral Hall (于氏宗祠; Yúshì Zōngcí), where you’ll find the 24-generation family tree, reaching back over 500 years. There are five tapestries, one for the descendants of each of the original Yu sons who founded the village.
Another oddity is the three-storey Qīngliáng Pavilion (清凉阁; Qīngliáng Gé), completed in 1581. Supposedly the work of one thoroughly crazed individual (Yu Xichun, who wanted to be able to see Běijīng from the top), it was, according to legend, built entirely at night, over a 16-year period, without the help of any other villagers. It was certainly built by an amateur architect: there’s no foundation, and the building stones (in addition to not being sealed by mortar) are of wildly different sizes (some as large as 2m), giving it a higgledy-piggledy look that’s quite uncommon in Chinese architecture.
Other buildings worth hunting down are the Guānyīn Pavilion (观音阁; Guānyīn Gé) and the Zhēnwǔ Temple (真武庙; Zhēnwǔ Miào). Near the primary school is the Stone Museum (石头博物馆; Shítou Bówùguǎn) displaying local items made of stone.
Yújiācūn is dissected by a small village road, where the bus will drop you. The ticket office, the Stone Museum and Xīngshuǐ Yuàn guesthouse are to the right of the road; all the other sights we've mentioned are to the left.
You may have to get someone at the ticket office to open the sights you wish to see, as their doors are often padlocked.