#3 in Best Places to Visit in China - Pingyao is a county in the Shanxi province of China. Pingyao Ancient City is a famous tourist attraction in China. Many who travel to China come to Pingyao to see the well maintained ancient city. Historically Pingyao is known to have played a significant role in the economic development of this province during the Ming and Qing dynasty rule.
Reaching Pingyao, China
Pingyao is around 715 km away from the capital city Beijing. From the Shanxi provincial capital of Taiyuan, it is just 80km. You can reach Taiyuan by air, and then take a bus or train to reach Pingyao. Train takes about 2 hours.
Pingyao Ancient City Attractions
Pingyao has been retaining its city layout for centuries. There are over 300 sites with ancient ruins in and near the city. The streets and storefronts in the city still retain their historical looks.
Pingyao Ancient City Walls were built in 1370 and are one of the main attractions of Pingyao. The body of the wall was built of earth and was covered with bricks and stones. The locals call the city “Tortoise City”, because the southern and northern gate of the city looks like the head and tail of a tortoise. The eastern and western wall gates look like the legs of a tortoise. People say that the tortoise design was to prevent flood from the North West. Moreover, tortoise is an eternal symbol for Chinese people.
Ancient Ming-Qing Street is another attraction because of ancient feel of the market. Streets of Pingyao, China were the hub of trade from 1368-1644. Today while trade exists most of the business is from visiting tourists. In the Pingyao market you will find exquisite souvenirs dating many 100s of years and great Chinese cuisine.
The Shuanglin Temple is famous for its exquisite collection of more than 2,000 embellished clay statues dated back to 12th to 19th centuries. The Dragon hall in the Qing Xu Daoist temple is renowned for its remarkable construction. It features suspended columns and beams.
The Temple of Town God and the Temple of Guan Yu are the most recent temples. You can see a wooden city tower in Pingyao. It is the highest structure in this historic city. It was built of stones with stone balustrades on both the sides.