Located in the Taihang Mountains, this amazing tunnel was built by a handful of local villagers nearly half a century ago to provide access to the isolated village of Guoliang.
Previously there was only a path known as the “Sky Ladder” with over 700 steep steps and no handrail. Local authorities refused to provide funds to build a road as only about 350 people lived in Guoliang at the time.
So 13 brave farmers used hand tools, and explosives to carve a tunnel into the sheer cliffs, and unfortunately several men died during construction. But the team persisted, getting through about 12 tons of drill rods, and around 4,000 hammers.
The passageway was officially opened in 1977. It’s about 0.8 miles long, over 16 feet high, and 13 feet wide, allowing just enough room for two vehicles to pass.
There are over 30 “windows” of different shapes and sizes overlooking the gully that were used by the builders to remove rubble from the tunnel, but now allow light into it.
It’s one of the world’s top 10 steepest roads and is also known as ‘the road that does not tolerate any mistakes.’
Guoliang ended up becoming a tourist destination because the tunnel attracts so many visitors, and there are now several hotels there.
The success of the project inspired two other tunnels to be hewn by hand for accessing other nearby clifftop villages in remote Henan Province—the Xiyagou and Kunshan tunnels.
Research by Ming Yue
And this is what it looks like to actually drive through the tunnel. Hopefully there aren’t too many crazy motorists who overtake like that!