Prime Minister Chen’s Castle

Castle in Guōyù

This beautifully preserved Ming-dynasty castle is the former residence of Chen Tingjing, prime minister under Emperor Kangxi in the late 17th century, and coauthor of China’s most famous dictionary. The Chen family rose to prominence as senior officials in the 16th century and the castle walls were originally constructed to keep revolting peasants out. While it may have tourist trappings today, it remains an attractive and impressive maze of battlements, courtyards, gardens and stone archways.

Don't bother buying the pricier ¥120 ticket, which includes entry to a nearby garden. Regular buses (¥15) run to the ticket office from Jìnchéng’s east bus station. If there isn’t a minibus back to Jìnchéng, minibuses zip to the small town of Běiliú (北留; ¥3, 15 minutes), where you can catch an ordinary bus back to Jìnchéng (¥10).