Chinese Language Blog

阿土勒尔: A Small Sichuan Village Posted by on May 7, 2018 in News

阿土勒尔 (Ā tǔ lēi ěr) is a remote Chinese village located in the south of Sichuan province. The village is excessively small, with only 72 households (as of 2016), all belonging to the Yi minority, one of the 56 recognized ethnic groups of China. Ā tǔ lēi ěr is located on the shoulder slope of Meigu gorge, about 1400 meters above sea level, which guarantees fertile land, amazing views and a tranquil life. The climate is good, the production of potatoes is high, and the approximately four hundred villagers also cultivate corn and livestock.


72 hù rénjiā jūzhù zài ātǔ lēi ěr cūn.

72 households live in the village of Ā tǔ lēi ěr.


Ātǔ liè ěr cūn zuòluò zài hǎibá 1400 mǐ shān’ào zhōng.

Ā tǔ lēi ěr is located on a col at 1,400 meters above sea level.

Ā tǔ lēi ěr village also known by the name悬崖村( xuányá cūn), which literally means “the precipice village”. The village’s special geographical location isolates it from outside world, not because its altitude, but due to its steep surface. A long rickety path is used to connect the residents to the valley below. As of 2016, to get in and out the village one must walk on narrow pathways, hold tightly to rocks and branches, and use a decrepit long ladder made of wood which the locals named 天梯 (tiāntī, means “sky ladder”).

In the past, villagers who wanted to buy groceries or sell their products in the nearest market had to make this hazardous two–hour journey. Children had to slowly descent the dangerous slope twice a month to attend the local school. On rainy days no one could enter or leave the village. And locals recalled people who lost their lives on the route.


Yīnwèi tèshū dì dìlǐ wèizhì, ātǔ lēi ěr cūn yǔ shì géjué.

Due to special geographical location, Ā tǔ lēi ěr village is isolated.


Cūn juéduì hǎibá bìng bù gāo, dàgài zài 1400 mǐ zuǒyòu, jiùshì xínglù bǐjiào nán.

The absolute elevation of the village is not that high, about 1,400 meters, but to walk this way is difficult.

In 2017, things finally changed. A long steel ladder has been built to connect the “precipice village” to the world. It took three months to construct a ladder to replace the winding paths and the entwined branches ladder. The way is still long and tiresome, but shorter and more importantly, safer.


Rújīn xíngzǒu jiào fāngbiàn qiě ānquán.

Today walking the route is rather convenient and safe.


Guòqù de téng tī yì bù huì zài shǐyòng.

The old rattan ladder will not be used again.


Text vocabulary

四川省 sìchuān shěng = Sichuan province

村cūn = village

村民 cūnmín = villager, villagers

彝族Yízú = Yi minority

悬崖xuán yá = precipice

隔绝gé jué = to isolate

海拔hǎi bá = elevation

梯tī = ladder

爬pá = to climb

行 xíng = to walk


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