Pingyao is the best-preserved historic town in the region populated by the Han ethnic group. The old town and city walls are remarkable in their scale and completeness. In 1997 Pingyao was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, who stated “The Old Town of Pingyao is an outstanding example of the Han cities in the Ming and Qing dynasties, retaining all the features of these periods. Pingyao presents a picture of unusual cultural, social, economic, and religious development in Chinese history.
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Top things to do in Pingyao
Temples & villages near Pingyao
Qiaotou village, in the countryside south of Pingyao, is home to the Shuanglin temple, a Buddhist place of worship notable for its collection of more than 2,000 colourful clay statues. Dating from the 12th to 19th century, the temple has been designated as a Unesco world heritage site. Further south is the Family Wang Courtyard, a luxurious residence that was established in the mid-17th century, and gradually expanded for over a century. This large complex encompasses 123 courtyards and 1,118 houses, and it is worth taking time to explore as there is much to discover. There are many superb examples of Ming and Qing architecture, and some beautifully carved lattice screens and windows. The cave dwellings just outside the compound are also worth visiting.
Walking tour of Pingyao's ancient centre
The centre of Pingyao is a relic from when the city was enclosed by a fortified perimeter wall, which is now the last intact Ming dynasty wall in China. Visit some of the most important buildings from the Ming dynasty period: the Rishengchang Exchange Shop, which is the oldest bank in China, the County Government Office on Zhengfu Street, the Temple of the City God, and the Confucius Temple. Afterwards, stroll along the cobblestoned Ming-Qing Street, which is lined with Qing dynasty-era architectural works and shops with hanging lanterns.
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