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Pingyao, a small county in Shanxi province, is one of the four wholly-preserved ancient cities in China. Its main attraction-- Pingyao Ancient Town has assembled much well-preserved ancient architecture inside like temples, old exchange banks, former wealthy residences, etc. In 1997, UNESCO inscribed the city on the World Cultural Heritage list.
Pingyao is a county in the middle of Shanxi Province about 100km south of Taiyuan that is most famous for its ancient walled city and its history as the first financial center in China. As one of the few remaining ancient walled cities in China it draws people from far and wide to admire the well preserved Ming and Qing Dynasty architecture of its buildings. The area has a strong agricultural background, producing crops and cotton and is quite famous for its beef.
Originally called Ancient Tao and then Pingtao, it was changed to Pingyao during the Northern Wei Dynasty (220-280) to avoid the use of the name Tao, as the Emperor's name was Tuoba Tao and it was considered unlucky to use it.
There are three important national treasures in Pingyao. One of them is the wall which was built in 1370 and is 6km long, 12m high and lined with 72 towers. Shuanglin Temple is another and is located about 7km south in Qiaotou Village. The Buddhist temple has a history of 1,400 years and is famous for its 2000 painted terracotta sculptures that show the craftsmanship of the artisans of the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. Zhenguo Temple, about 12km to the north is the third. Dating back over 1000 years it is known for its painted sculptures representing the 5 dynasties. Also it is one of the 3 oldest timber buildings in China and noted for its special design.
Some wealthy families built residences in the area through the centuries and some of these are famous in China for their size and grandeur. The most famous would be the Qiao Family Compound built in 1756 and the Wang residence which both have museums and are known for their wonderful architecture. Others include the Cao and the Qu compounds.
The Rishengchang Exchange Shop, founded in 1823 in the ancient city is credited with being the first draft bank in China and led to the city becoming the country's first financial center which at its peak, held half the banks in China.
- Air quality: ★★★☆☆
- Foreigner-friendly degree: ★★★★☆
- Public security degree: ★★★★☆
- Hygienic degree: ★★★☆☆
- Traffic jam degree: ★★☆☆☆
- Internationalization level: ★★☆☆☆
- Consumption level: ★★★☆☆
- Language: Mandarin, Pingyao Patois
- Best traveling season: Jan. Sep. Nov.
- Tourist resources: landscape, historic relics
- Airport to downtown: 18 km
- Demographics: Han (99.7%), minority groups (0.3%)
- Key words: ancient city, Qiao's Grand Courtyard, old city wall, Rishengchang Exchange Bank, traditional architecture, special and local product.
Local Delicacies: Pingyao Buckwheat Noodles (Pingyao Wantuo 平遥碗托), Pingyao Beef (Pingyao Niurou 平遥牛肉)You Flour Noodle (Youmian Kaolaolao 莜面栲栳栳), Flour Cat's Ear (Maoerduo 猫耳朵).
Local Specialities: Guanyun Beef (Guanyun Niurou 冠云牛肉), Pingyao Polished Lacquer (Pingyao Tuiguangqi 平遥推光漆), Pingyao Long Yam (Pingyao Changshanyao 平遥长山药), Shanxi Mature Vinegar (Shanxi Lao Chencu 山西老陈醋), Fen Liquor (Fenjiu 汾酒), Pingyao Coloured Glaze (Pingyao Liuli 平遥琉璃), Pingyao Folk Paper-cut (Pingyao Minjian Jianzhi 平遥民间剪纸), Pingyao Hand-made Cloth Footwear (Pingyao Shougong Buxie 平遥手工布鞋), Pingyao "Changshengyuan" Yellow Wine (Pingyao Changshengyuan Huangjiu 平遥"长升源"黄酒), Pingyao Liuhetai Pillow (Pingyao Liuhetai Zhentou 平遥六合泰枕头).
- 平遥县旅游咨询服务热线 Pingyao Tourist Information Service
- 0354-5690000 or 0354-5621411
- 平遥县旅游局投诉 Pingyao Tourism Complaints