Pingyao Ancient City
Location: Province: ShanXi
It is one of the best-preserved ancient cities in China and the only ancient county town in China to have successfully applied for World Cultural Heritage status for the entire city. Pingyao was once the financial center of China in the late Qing Dynasty.
There are six gates in the ancient city, with the north gate near the Pingyao Bus Station, the west gate near the Pingyao Railway Station, and the south and west gates being the most popular among tourists. You don’t need an entrance ticket to enter the ancient city, but if you want to climb the city walls and visit attractions such as the ticket number, you need to buy an ancient city pass. The ancient city is not large enough to be explored on foot, but you can take a tram if you prefer not to walk.
The layout of the streets of the entire ancient city for the “soil” shape, usually from the lower West Gate into the city, along the West Street to the “ancestor of modern banking in China,” Rishengchang ticket number, where you can not only learn about the history of the development of ancient banking but also let the long-robed horse coat of the old treasurer with the first way to write a bill of exchange to you, a special sense of history.
The South Street, which runs north and south, is the central axis of the old city. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, South Street controlled more than half of the country’s financial institutions and was known as the “Wall Street of China”. Today, it is also the most prosperous part of the old city and is known as the Ming and Qing Ancient Street. Most of the attractions in the ancient city are concentrated here, with the landmark building of the ancient market building as the center, and the distribution of synergistic celebration ticket (China Money Museum), Wei Tai Hou (Ticket Museum), Bai Chuan Tong, China Dart Museum, Tong Xing Gong Dart Board, Wei Sheng Chang, China Rare Newspaper Exhibition Hall, Tian Ji Xiang and other attractions, restaurants, musical instrument shops, cafes, bars and so on. You can walk along the streets, eat here, buy some souvenirs, and then continue your visit south.
The ancient magistrate’s court in Pingyao, to the south of the old city, is a place where you can see a lot of ancient documents and torture instruments.
The ancient city walls are not only majestic but also very well preserved. Climbing the walls, one can have a panoramic view of the old city. The South Gate (Yingfeng Gate) is the most exquisite of all, and it is close to the residential areas, so you can see how people live in the old city. If you have plenty of time, you can walk around the city along the city wall to get a comprehensive view of the old town, which takes more than an hour. In the evening, you can watch the sunset from the city wall, the view is beautiful.
Aside from the old town itself, the two other major attractions in Pingyao are the Zhenguo Temple and the Shuanglin Temple. Not a single nail is attached to the entire temple, and all structures are made of wood, while the Shuanglin Temple has over 10 large halls with painted statues from the Yuan Dynasty to the Ming Dynasty.
After touring the ancient city of Pingyao, you can pick a few sites of interest to visit and then take a bus to the Qiao family compound to continue the tour before returning to Taiyuan. It is recommended to stay overnight in the ancient city to see the night view, or rent a bicycle and go to the small alleys to experience the real Pingyao, see the human customs or take photos of photography are all great subjects. The city is full of old courtyards that have been transformed into new buildings. The city is full of guesthouses converted from old courtyards, which are usually inexpensive, and you can find clean and tidy places to stay for tens of yuan.
At the end of the Qing Dynasty, the Empress Dowager Cixi once passed through Pingyao and enjoyed the beef so much that she made it a tribute to the Imperial Palace. There are many shops in the ancient city with the name “Guangyun Beef”, but it’s hard to tell if it’s real or fake, and the prices are usually on the expensive side.