ATLAS OBSCURA

Guoliang Tunnel - Guoliang, China

For several years, the 350 inhabitants of this isolated village high in the Taihang Mountains beseeched the government for a roadway to connect them to the outside world, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. Undeterred, they decided that if the officials refused to help them, they would do it themselves.

Selling their animals and other necessities for supplies, the people of Guoliang sent down 13 of their strongest workers. The team of men, not an engineer among them, set about carving a roadway inch by inch, using nothing but hand tools, patience, and determination.

In 1977, 5 years after beginning their colossal undertaking, the villagers had managed to dig out 0.75 mi. of tunnel, 16 ft. tall and 13 ft. wide. While quite the amazing feat, a do-it-yourself mountain tunnel dug by hand is obviously not the pillar of safety, in fact in many spots of the tunnel, roughly carved pillars are the only thing keeping you from plunging to your death.

Find out details for how and when to visit the Guoliang Tunnel on Atlas Obscura…