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Pingyao Attractions

Pingyao Old City map
Pingyao Old City Map (Click to enlarge)
  Attractions inside the Ancient City of Pingyao:
 Pingyao City Wall
 Ancient Ming-Qing Street
 Rishengchang Exchange Shop
 Temple of the City God

 Two famous temples outside the ancient city:
 Shuanglin Temple
 Zhenguo Temple

 Renowned compounds in counties near Pingyao:
 Wang's Compound
 Qiao's Compound
 Cao's Compound 
 Chang's Compound
 Qu's Compound

The past prosperity of Shanxi lies in Pingyao while the soul of Pingyao lies in its Old City. There is no charming landscape. No green mountain or clear waters. What's unique here is this well-preserved ancient city with its grand, solemn city wall, its residences and shops, and even the government office all in the style of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911). In 1997, when it was declared a World Cultural Heritage site for its Old City, Pingyao gradually opened up to the outside world and more and more people have come to have a look at this old city representing the prosperous past of Shanxi during the Ming and Qing eras.

Pingyao City Wall
City Wall
Surrounded by the turtle-like ancient City Wall, Pingyao Old City is like a huge historical museum. Every street or building here has numerous stories to tell about the past one-thousand years. In the center of the Old City, the nearly 200 years old Rishengchang Exchange Shop is the first 'bank' in Chinese history and is known as the 'Father of the Bank in China'. It tells of the prosperity of the Jin Businessmen in Chinese history. The well-preserved County Government Office on Zhengfu Street (also Yamen Street) shows a complete picture of the solemn law court and prison of the Qing Dynasty while in Chenghuangmiao Street, the Temple of the City God and the Confucius Temple reveal a glimpse of local folk life. Along Ancient Ming-Qing Street, the old buildings in antique architecture styles may bring you back to the old China of that time.

Outside the Old City, there are two temples worth visiting. One is Shuanglin Monastery which is about 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) southwest of the Old City. It is famous for the over 2000 vivid painted sculptures created during the Yuan (1271-1368), Ming, and Qing dynasties. The other is Zhenguo Temple. It is 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) northeast of the Old City. With a history of over one thousand years, this temple is famous for its wood-structured main hall. It is one of the three oldest wood buildings in China.

Qiao
Qiao's Compound
Wang
Wang's Compound
What's more, most of the famous residences in Shanxi are clustered around Pingyao. About 40 kilometers (24.9 miles) to the north lies the famous Qiao's Compound which boasts a unique layout and various delicate carvings. Another one is the Wang's Compound which is about 35 kilometers (22 miles) to the southeast. It is regarded as a Chinese architectural museum for its abundant artistic architectural elements such as the various elaborate sculptures. Other compounds include the Cao's Compound proved popular with every visitor due to its unique appearance and charming styles, the Chang's Compound , the largest one in scale and the Qu's Compound having a history dating back over 300 years.
Ancient Ming-Qing Street, Pingyao
Ancient Ming-Qing Street
City God Temple, Pingyao
City God Temple
Tips:
1. There is no charge to enter into the Old City.
2. Most of the historic buildings (like the exchange shops and the County Government Office) in the Old City need tickets, but most of them do not sell tickets separately. If you would like to visit most of the spots here, a joint ticket is necessary and it can be bought at the gates of the Old City.
3. Price of the Joint Ticket: CNY 150 (20 spots are included like the City Wall, the County Government Office, the Temple of the City God, the Rishengchang Exchange Shop, and the Ancient Ming and Qing Street)