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Home Travel in Shanxi Pingyao Ancient City
Pingyao Ancient City
Travel in Shanxi

Pingyao (Chinese: 平遥; pinyin: Píngyáo) is a Chinese city and county in central Shanxi province. It lies about 715 km from Beijing and 80 km from the provincial capital, Taiyuan. During the Qing Dynasty, Pingyao was a financial center of China. It is now renowned for its well-preserved ancient city wall, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pingyao still retains its city layout from the Ming and Qing dynasties, conforming to a typical bagua pattern. More than 300 sites in or near the city have ancient ruins. Preserved Ming- and Qing-style residences number close to 4,000. The streets and storefronts still largely retain their historical appearance.

In the Spring and Autumn Period, the county belonged to the kingdom of Jin. It was part of the kingdom of Zhao in the Warring States Period. In the Qin Dynasty, it was known as Pingtao. During the Han Dynasty, it was known as Zhongdu county. In 1986, the People's Republic of China designated Pingyao as one of the Chinese Historic and Cultural Cities. It became a World Heritage Site in 1997, included also the outlying Zhenguo Temple and Shuanglin Temple.

The city walls of Pingyao were constructed in the 3rd year of the Hongwu Emperor (1370). The walls have six barbican gates. The north and south sides have one gate each. The east and west sides have two gates each. This pattern is similar to that of a turtle (the head, tail, and four legs), earning Pingyao the moniker "Turtle City." The walls measure about 12 meters high, with a perimeter of 6,000 meters. A 4-meter wide, 4-meter deep moat can be found just outside the walls. Aside from the four structured towers at the four corners, there are also 72 watchtowers and more than 3,000 battlements. In 2004, part of the southern walls collapsed but have been reconstructed. However, the rest of the city walls are still largely intact and are considered among the most well-preserved ancient city walls of this scale. This makes the city walls the centerpiece of the Heritage Site.
Specialties of Pingyao

Pingyao has many special food and products, some of which are found nowhere else, and some of which are found in other parts of Shanxi. The food include: Pingyao beef, Chinese yam, pears from Haowen village, dried apples from Guozigou, apples from Nanyijian village, orange seabuckthorn berries from Meng Mountain, and sorghum from the Fen River area. These foods have a good reputation in China.

Processed food include many kinds of noodles such as wantuoze, a kind of round flat noodle that is rolled and dipped in sauce.

The city is also known for a number of products including lacquer ware, silk slippers, and paper cutting

The transportation

Pingyao lies on several major transportation routes including the Dayun Expressway, the Dayun Highway, and the No 108 National Highway. Dongxia Road crosses Fentun Road. Tongpu Railway runs parallel with the No. 108 National Highway through Pingyao. County and village roads extend in all directions. The ancient city surrounded by the ten-li city wall lies in the northwestern part of the county and is the center of politics, economy, culture and transportation.

The climate
The climate of Pingyao is temperate. It’s cold in winter, often having northwestern winds with little snow and severe smog. In the spring, the temperature varies greatly between day and night, with a little rain and strong winds. Summertime is often hot, humid and rainy. Autumn days have falling temperatures with little rain and are cool and clear with abundant sunshine.

Special Performances---------
The Magistrate Conducting a Trial
Based on more than ten actual cases recorded in the Pingyao County annals during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, performances of ‘the Magistrate Conduction a Trial’ are given each day. ‘Cases include ‘Settling a Lawsuit over a Moneybag,’ ‘The Repentance of the Unfilial Son,’ ‘ Settling a Lawsuit over a Dead Pig,’ ‘Punish Master Liu Severely,’ ‘Tricking a Silver Thief into Confessing,’ ‘Settling a Broken Engagement Fairly,’ and ‘Settling a Lawsuit about Defrauding.’

Performance Schedule:
  • Monday to Friday 10:00, 11:30,15:30
  • Staurday to Sunday 10:00, 11:30,15:00, 16:30

  • The Seat of the County Government

Ticket price:
  • Pingyao Ancient City : RMB120
  • Shuanglin Temple : RMB30
  • Zhengguo Temple : RMB25
  • This ticket is good for 20 historcal sites in ancient Pingyao
  • Tour groups using a group ticket should hire a guide and remain with him or her.