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Pingyao Travel Guide

Introduction to Pingyao

Pingyao is a famous historical town originally called Pingtao or Gutao in the  past. Located in central Shanxi province and the southern rim of Taiyuan Basin, it is 94 kilometers away from Taiyuan—the capital of Shanxi province. Currently, Pingyao is the best-preserved ancient town built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties and the World Heritage Commission under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has already placed it on the list of World Cultural Heritage Sites.

With Fenhe River running through it, the Tongpu Railway and the Datong-Yuncheng Highway in its prefecture, Pingyao boasts convenient transportation that connects its different areas.

Its history of 2,700 years makes it rich in cultural heritage. The ancient city wall remains splendid and majestic; the Wanfo (means a thousand Buddhas) Palace of the Zhenguo Temple built in the seventh year during the reign of Emperor Liujun of the Northern Han Dynasty (963AD) is a rare and precious wooden structure; the Qingxu Taoist Temple built in the second year during the reign of Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty (675AD) still attracts numerous pilgrims; the Shuanglin Temple has long been crowned as “the treasure house of Eastern colored sculptures;” and the Dacheng Palace of the Confucian Temple can hardly be found in any other place around China.

As one of the origins of the Shanxi Business Culture that prevailed for hundreds of years in the Qing Dynasty, Pingyao is home to “China’s Wall Street.” Traces of the Shanxi Business Culture are everywhere in the native ancient banks that have a glorious past.

There are a myriad of traditional dwelling houses preserved in Pingyao ancient town. Being well-preserved, they are not only rich in historical and architectural value, but also remain practical as they are the very places where local people live. The dwelling houses can vividly represent the complexes of the Ming and Qing Dynsties featuring wooden and caved structures. Magnificent colored paintings, exquisite woodcarvings, lively stone lions and rare screen walls can be found everywhere in Pingyao. You’ll be amazed by what it has to offer. No wonder that Pingyao enjoys a reputation as “the treasure house of cultural heritages and the shining pearl of the world.”