Pingyao as a county in the Central of Shanxi province and Pingyao ancient city is the great historical sites in Pingyao downtown, with 80 km away from Taiyuan, provincial city of Shanxi province.
Without airport, Pingyao can be reached only by air from Taiyuan Wusu Airport (90km away). For taking trains, Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station (10km southwest of ancient city) offers high spend train between Beijing-Pingyao (4hrs), Xian-Pingyao (3hrs), Taiyuan-Pingyao (30 minutes), etc.
In Pingyao Ancient City, there are many historical sites along the way for you to travel at least one day. Taking tourist buses in Pingyao ancient city, you can enjoy a comfortable tour by a fast look at whole city with small charges of 20-30 yuan. Or you can rent bike to cycling around leisurely.
Built completely in accordance with traditional urban planning style and layouts of cities of the Chinese Han nationality, the Pingyao Ancient City kept the basic layout to reflect the urban planning style between 1368 and 1911 during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
The four city walls built around make the Pingyao Ancient City is like that of a turtle. The southern gate is like the head, the northern gate is the tail and the four barbican entrances in the east and west are the four legs of turtle.
Inside the city walls, the street pattern is a shape of “土” and the architectural layout is followed by Chinese eight tri-grams. All keep the style of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Four avenues, eight side streets and seventy-two lanes interweave with one another. They have clear functions and good-ordered layouts.
The residences are all Siheyuan (quadrangle courtyard) made of black bricks and grey tiles with clear axes and bilateral symmetry, most decorated with exquisite wood carvings. In addition, there are temples, big and small, and rows upon rows of old-fashioned shops.
Built in 1370, with a circumference of 6.4 km, the ancient city walls are still largely intact and are considered among the best-preserved ancient city walls in China. With 12 meters high and 3-6 meters wide on top, the city walls have six barbican gates. The north and south sides have one gate each, and the east and west sides have two gates each, making Pingyao ancient city like a shape of turtle. There are 3000 crenels and 72 watch towers on the walls symbolizing the 3000 disciples of Confucius and 72 saints, who built this city walls, according to legend. Standing on the top and have a bird view of whole Pingyao City is more delighted with an extra￥20.
Rishengchang Draft Bank, the first modern bank in China, is located on the Ming & Qing dynasties Street. Founded in 1823 and survived for over 100 years, Rishengchang was the economic lifeline in 19 century of Qing dynasty, with its branches spreading 30 cities of China, and the business had extended to Europe, the United States, and some Asian countries.
Now renovated into a museum of over 20 exhibition halls, Rishengchang Draft Bank displays historical materials and its original appearance for tourists to learn about China’s banking history.
In the central axis of ancient city, the Ming & Qing Dynasties Street, also called South Street, is the main commercial street in Pingyao, stretching over 400 meters. Used to be the important financial and trade center from the 19th century to the early 20th century, this street remains 78 lively ancient shops, including ancient bank, insurance company and merchants houses, etc. All are the historical witnesses to the economic prosperity of the Ancient City of Ping Yao in this period.
Now as one of China’s cultural and historical landmarks, it offers tourists a great chance to discover the antique charm of the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Built in Northern Song dynasty and reconstructed in Ming and Qing dynasties, The Temple of City God is a well-preserved construction complex with wooden buildings and brick carvings around. Located in the north side of Ming and Qing Dynasties Street and facing the Government Office, this temple consists of the memorial archway, temple gate, opera tower, praying hall, principal hall and sleeping palace in the two linked courtyards. With the colored tile on the roof and the vivid statuary in the halls and frescoes on the walls, this temple attracts most tourists to explore the local fancy architecture.
Located in the center of Pingyao ancient city, the Government Office was built in North Wei dynasty and formed its scale in Ming and Qing dynasties. With a history of over 600 years, it was the administration in Feudal China, like today’s court to justice and upholding the public’s trust. There are kinds of cruel torture and ancient jails displayed for tourists to know the process of trial. And it’s a fun to watch how the governor to settle a lawsuit in the ancient way, performed by real persons.
As a business in ancient China, escort agency developed to its peak in Qing dynasty with the frequent logistics needed to protect. The North China First Escort Agency, the great escort agency in Qing dynasty, was established by three famous armed escorts, surnamed Wang, Zuo, Dai. Together with the demise of Qing dynasty, this agency was perished gradually.
Now as a museum, it tells the story of these three escorts and the escort agency history in Qing dynasty. In the front yard, there are some essential escorting stuffs displays, including flag (the logo), vehicles, containers, weapons, etc. And other facilities around for tourists to have more knowledge about this escort agency.
Pingyao Chinese New Year, held from the twelfth lunar month of 23 to the 15th day of the first month since 2000, is another great way to get close to local culture during the Spring Festival. Tourists will experience various activities in the period, like seeing lanterns, watching dramas, making dumplings, writing spring couplets, setting off firecrackers and more.
From September 19-25, the annual PIP attracts thousands photographers from USA, Germany, and Australia and more counties to share their special perspectives of Pingyao through their lens. If you love photography, don’t miss out this festival when traveling during the time.
Show Time: 14:00-15:30; 20:00-21:30 (except for Mondays)
Location: No 154, Shuncheng Road, Pingyao City (nearby the city walls)
As the first indoor performance in northern China, Another Glance at Pingyao tells a simply story which happened in the late Qing Dynasty, about the young lord of Qiao’s Family Compound had managed to rescue the Wang’s orphan by sacrificing his life. By changing different backgrounds from ancient streets, city walls to courtyards, this 90 minutes show gives audiences a chance to go into the Pingyao local life and discover the prosperity and recession of Pingyao ancient city during Qing dynasty.
There is no strict stage boundary, and audiences are walking over watching in short distance, sometimes the performers will get into the crowd and have interactions with audiences, which is rare in Chinese stage shows.
>>Check more about Top 7 Impression Shows in China
There are three treasures in Pingyao: ancient city and two temples, which refer to Pingyao Ancient City, Shuanglin Temple and Zhenguo Temple.
Hailed as the “oriental treasure-house of painted sculptures,” Shuanglin Temple has over 2000 painted sculptures in whole temple and the highest is about 3 meters, and the lowest is for 30 centimeters. All of them are delicate and well-preserved, especially the Thousand-hand Avalokitesvara and Dharmapala Weituo. Besides, there are kinds of ancient buildings and murals to enjoy around.
Built in 963 and reconstructed in 1816, Zhenguo Temple is famous for its architecture. Divided into two courtyards, there are kinds of halls, including Heaven Kings Hall and bell and drum buildings in the front courtyard, the Wanfo Hall in the middle and the back courtyard is filled with Hall of Avalokitesvara Buddhisatva. Among them, the Wanfo hall is the great wooden building for over 1000 years and has a reputation as an “imperial treasure”.
Note: These two temples are chargeable.
Tickets are not needed to sightsee Pingyao, while most of scenic spots in Pingyao ancient city are charged. So the Combination Ticket is sold for tourists to visit the ancient Ming and Qing streets and other 20 sights, including the city wall, Rishengchang, the county government, Qingxu Guan, Temple of City God, the ancient Ming and Qing streets, Baichuan Tong, Xie Tongqing Money House, the Museum of Tianjixiang, Lei Lvtai’s former house, the Museum of the Chamber of Commerce, Tongxinggong Escort Agency, the Museum of Ancient Residences, North China First Escort Agency, the Museum of China’s Escort Agency, Weishengchang, Huiwulin, Wen Temple, the Exhibition Hall of Chinese Unique Newspapers and Weitaihou.
Special concessions: Every June 16, 24 and 29, all tickets are on sale at half price.
In Pingyao ancient city, there are many residential hotels of local features. Like the 5-star Yunjincheng Hostel and Tianyuankui Guesthouse are located in Ming and Qing Dynasties Street. Nearby the city walls, there are many courtyard-styled hostels with cheap price.
Top 3 Pingyao tours chosen by most customers to explore Pingyao in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Taiyuan / Pingyao / Taiyuan
Pingyao / Xian
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