Isolated Villagers Spend 15 Years Carving a Road Through a Mountain

The people of Shenlongwan, a once-isolated village in the mountains of China’s Shanxi Province, spent 15 years carving through rock with chisels and hammers to connect their home to the world and escape poverty.

Benefiting from a very favorable climate, Shenlongwan has always been famous for its exquisite walnuts and pears, but getting their harvest to market used to be a serious challenge for the locals. That’s because until the year 2000, to reach the county seat of Changzhi City, they had to either detour through eight townships in three different provinces, or risk their lives climbing dangerous narrow ladders to reach a steep mountain pass. One day, the villagers decided that things had to change, and if the authorities wouldn’t build a road to their village, then they just had to do it themselves.

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