Experts said a pavilion-shaped building in a village in north China's Shanxi Province is the oldest existing opera stage in China.
Residents in the village of Wangbao still put on traditional performances on the Erlangmiao Stage, despite its dilapidated facade.
An inscription on the foundation of the pavilion indicates it was built in 1,183 when north China was ruled by the Jurchen Jin Dynasty (1,115 - 1,234), said Chai Zejun, an expert in ancient architecture.
The pavilion, with brick-and-wooden walls on its three sides, was built almost 110 years before the Niuwangmiao Stage in the same province, previously thought to be the oldest stage in China.
Chai said the discovery of the Erlangmiao Stage provided precious insights into the popularization of Chinese operas, especially its popularity in remote villages, during the Song Dynasty (960-1,279).