When it comes to Gansu province, most people would think of Mo Kao Grotto at Dunhuang, desert and yellow river. But few people know there is a mysterious village is getting more and more attention from the world because its residents. They are not just some normal Chinese, lots of proof is telling the world chances are great that they might be the descendants of Romans. It is the Liqian village, also known as the Ancient Rome Village.
Liqian village is located in Yongchang county, northwestern area of Gansu province. It is also on the silk road. The word “Li” is a military term means Roman troops, which was also the name for Roman in Chinese in ancient times. Because of the dry weather all year around, the place looks very desolate. Looking from the distance, it’s just some regular remote village, nothing special. However,when you go near, everything will totally blow your mind. Once you go in, you would be surrounded by tall villagers with blond hair, high nose, deep eyes, pale skim, blue eyes and yes they are all Chinese. One thing is for sure, they all look European but when they speak, it’s Chinese dialect which makes it more interesting.
Not only their looks, their custom and living habit is quite different from other villages. They like to make a pie that tastes exactly like Italian pizza, they have this steam bread called bull nose bread for worshiping their ancestors, they particularly like bull fighting. Some Mediterranean countries also worship bull and are really into bull fighting thing, same with ancient Romans. When they die, they need to be buried towards west, according to some senior villagers, that’s where home is.
Archaeologists also found the corpses of Europeans from ancient tombs near the village. Most of the them are dead males so the experts made the assumption that they might die from battle. Their skeletons are long and large, nothing like Asians. On the outside of the village, there is relics of ancient walls which indicated this placed used to be a city. People also found giant round wood in the area which was common in Rome. However, archaeological work about the city never has been started cause it would take 20 years to see the least. All of these pops up the big question, how on earth did their ancestors come to China at the first place?
In 53 B.C, the governor of ancient Rome-Crassus lost the battle with Parthia (today in northern Iran) and was beheaded. But 145 Roman soldiers were captured and detained in Asia. 17 years later those people were captured by Han Chinese and stayed there ever after. Ancient Chinese literature also had the record of a battle pattern used by those soldiers called "fish-scale formation", which was common for Ancient Roman troops. Today tourists can see the performance of such formation in the village, same as the ancient one, the tradition has been inherited for thousands years.