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Home >> China Travel City Guide >> Pingyao


The ancient city of Pingyao in north China's Shanxi Province, which has retained the look and feel of ancient times, is an "outstanding city model of the Han nationality in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties", according to UNESCO.

For its well-preserved city wall and streets, stores, temples and residential housing built in the Ming and Qing dynasties, the city was listed as a World Cultural Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)in 1997.

Located in the central part of Shanxi, the city has a history of over 4,000 years. It is said that Yao, a legendary monarch in ancient China had won his title in Pingyao some 4,100 years ago.

A legend goes that the city wall of Pingyao was built as early as 827 B.C. to 782 B.C. when Ji Jing, a king of the Western Zhou Dynasty (c.1100 B.C.- c.771 B.C.), sent his troops here to guard the frontier of Western Zhou's territory.

The city wall of today's Pingyao, one of the oldest and largest county walls in China, was rebuilt in 1370 on the basis of the old city wall. With a circumference of 6,200 meters, the city wall is six to ten meters high and the wall top is three to six meters wide. Moreover, the city wall has six city gates and four turrets surrounded by a moat four meters deep and four meters wide.

The traditional architectural structures of the whole ancient buildings of Pingyao city has the characteristics of four-square dignity symmetry and other traditional cultural features of the Han Nationality, which marks Chinese splendid cultural history of the Han Nationality. Pingyao county is abundant in historical relics with various cultural contents. The rich ancient architectural buildings and historical relics treasure articles have been well preserved since the 10th century.

Located on the old route between Beijing and Xi'an, Pingyao developed into a merchant center where enterprising locals set up the nation's earliest banks. These institutions were the first in China to use checks, and business peaked in the 19th Century, when the city was the undisputed financial center of the Qing government, 22 of China's 51 firms for money exchange and transfer took Pingyao as their headquarters. The main street of the city, currently a 440-meter-long street in the Ming and Qing styles, had been called the Wall Street of Asia in the 19th century. After its heyday the city fell into poverty and without the case to modernise, Pingyao's streets remain unchanged.

This has been the story in Pingyao, a small and isolated city that is home to some of the best preserved traditional architecture in all of China. For decades, Pingyao's relics were essentially protected by default, because citizens lacked the funds necessary to modernize their city. Today, as Chinese tourism rapidly develops, Pingyao residents are recognizing the unique value of their hometown, where the trick is to cash in on this resource without destroying it.

A good, although crowed, time to visit Pingyao is during the Lantern Festival(15 days after Chinese New Year, during the full moon). Red laterns are hung outside the doors of residences, and every year a small, country-style parade takes place. Locals munching on sugar cane and candied frunit flood the streets and vendors sell yuan xiao, a tradisional round white snack made of glutinous rice flour, filled with a sweet sesame and walnut paste and served in soup.

Yunnan is a perfect showpiece of China's many natural wonders, rugged, wild, and unspoiled. The province is famed for its multitude of ethnic groups, of China's fifty-five officially recognized ethnic minorities, twenty-five can be found in Yunnan. Here visitors could find snow-capped mountains, mysterious deep valleys, peaceful highland lakes, magnificent Karst hills, tropical rainforests, and torrential rivers.

As the capital of China, Beijing is the political, cultural, and intellectual center of the country. Beijing has so much to offer travelers. The celebrated tourist center is filled with historical highlights, the most well known ones are: Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Ming Tombs...

Tibet Autonomous Region, a mystical land called "the Roof of the World", more than 50 peaks in this area are higher than 7,000 meters, and 11 peaks exceed 8,000 meters. Mt. Everest - the world's highest peak is located in Tibet. Tibet offers fabulous things to see, including unique Buddhist monastery, breathtaking high-altitude lakes, stunning views of the snow mountains and brilliant Tibetan culture.
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