Zhan Tianyou Memorial situates in the north side of Badaling Great Wall in Yanqing District of Beijing. It was established in memory of Zhan Tianyou, an outstanding railway engineer in China, who had done great contribution in Chinas railroading history.
Zhan Tianyou (1861-1919) was born in Shi'erfu, Xiguan, Guangzhou (previously under the administration of Nanhai County). He is one of the outstanding patriotic intellectuals in recent Chinese history, one of the predecessors in science and engineering technology in recent Chinese history, a world-renowned railway construction engineer, and the founder of China Engineers Institute, which is the earliest engineering and academic society in China.
At a young age of 12, Zhan Tianyou went to USA for advanced study on government funding as one of the first batch of smart kids chosen by the Royal Qing court. He graduated from the prestigious Yale University in USA with honor. After his return to China, he presided over the construction of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou Railway, the Chuanhan Railway, the Yuehan Railway, etc. and is actually a pioneer of the railway business in China. In particular, he played a leading role in constructing the Beijing-Zhangjiakou Railway, the first railway surveyed, designed, constructed and managed completely by Chinese people, which clearly demonstrated the diligence and wisdom shown by the Chinese laboring people, boosted up the confidence of the people in China, and greatly inspired the spirit of the Chinese nation. He designed a double-pronged rail system and employed the "shaft construction method" to excavate tunnels. His contributions to railroad construction on a particularly tricky section of the line have inspired engineers and workers ever since. Today, Zhan Tianyou was still deeply remembered not only in China but also in the world, and the Zhan Tianyou Award and the Zhan Tianyou Award in Railway Science and Technology are the top awards respectively for civil engineering projects and railway construction projects in China.
Zhan Tianyou Memorial was started to build in 1984 and opened to public in 1987. Covering an area of about 1,800 square meters, the memorial composes of Zhanyang (looking with reverence) Hall, Xumu (prelude) Hall and three Exhibition Halls. The memorial is located at the highest point along the rail line between Beijing and Zhangjiakou, which was China's first self-built rail line supervised by Zhan Tianyou. The buildings of the memorial are decorated with a large-scale basso-relievo of about 41 meters long and 5 meters high, which highlights Zhan Tianyou's head portrait and contributions with the Chinese modern history as the background.
There are more than 1,000 relics of Zhan Tianyou on display in the museum, such as mapping instruments, drawing paper, books, manuscripts, medals, insignias, the proposal plan and model of the coupler that Zhan Tianyou suggested the whole country to use, historical documents of Zhan's forefathers application for the status of registered permanent resident in Hainan County of Guangdong Province, Zhan Tianyou's posthumous works, articles for daily use and photos of various periods. The displays in the museum are arranged according to different periods of Zhan Tianyou's lifetime, and exhibit cultural relics, photos and models of these periods. The museum has compiled materials such as Zhan Tianyou's ana and the introduction to his stories. While at the memorial, people could not only know lots of life stories about Zhan Tianyou, but also could understand the early railroading process of China. Zhan Tianyou has set a good example to all the Chinese and he is definitely the pride of the whole Chinese nation.