"An ancient,exotic city" Top 5 Page for this destination Pingyao by albaaust

Pingyao Travel Guide: 193 reviews and 841 photos

Pingyao is an enchanting ancient town renowned for its city wall and the streets, shops and buildings which are largely preserved untouched from the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Originally the city was named Pingtao, meaning peace and pottery. During the Han Dynasty (206B.C-220 A.D.), the city changed its name to Pingyao (meaning a far away, peaceful city). In 1370, the old city wall was rebuilt in brick for military purposes and still exists as constructed.
It was also known as the Turtle City because of its layout. The square shaped city wall of three li (1.5 km) in each of the four sides conformed to the ranking standards of cities and towns laid out in the Rites. The four main streets, eight side streets and 72 alleys are said to be laid out like on a turtle’s back. Thus, for some the city symbolized impregnable defence, good luck and longevity.

As Pingyao was once a base for the wealthy (it was one of the birth places of Shanxi’s banking and commercial businesses) the banks, temples, shop fronts, imposing residences and courtyards of the main street are legacies of this past wealth and are outstanding tourist exhibits. They are remarkable historical relics of what life was like for rich business people and the associated businesses linked to banking.

It is for this reason that more than one day is needed to fully appreciate the richness of the city and the numerous sites you can visit.

Pingyao is 9 hours by train from Xian, 100 kilometres from Taiyuan (2 hours taxi drive) and over 12 hours by train from Beijing.

See also our general page China

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Ancient, authentic
  • In a nutshell:This was a highlight!!
  • Last visit to Pingyao: Dec 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (33)

Comments (6)

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Aug 28, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    Another interesting page about your travel adventures. I especially like the stories about your train trips.

    • albaaust's Profile Photo
      Aug 29, 2013 at 3:08 AM

      Thank you very much for rating my tips of Pingyao Holger. We still have very fond memories of this exotic place. Guess where we go after Russia? Yes..Germany! I'll be visiting your pages as I recover from the visa process to Russia!!!

  • Paul2001's Profile Photo
    Oct 4, 2007 at 5:24 PM

    I loved Pingyao and wished I had spent more time there. Your page is excellent. By the way I stayed in the same hotel and also felt very highly of it.

  • RusskiPower's Profile Photo
    Sep 25, 2007 at 3:10 PM

    Thanks for the page, v informative!

  • elpariente's Profile Photo
    Jun 3, 2007 at 1:18 AM

    For sure that Pingyao is now in our list of "must see " Very good photos and tips Gracias!!!!

  • Museeuw's Profile Photo
    Feb 19, 2007 at 2:25 AM

    Hi. My wife suggested we visit Pingyao when we're in China, but I wasn't sure about it (also because my wife hasn't been there herself). But after reading your pages, we're definitely going. Thanks!

  • aussirose's Profile Photo
    Feb 3, 2007 at 7:32 PM

    What an enchanting place Alice! So interesting. It must have been lovel biking through the old village!...and your vivid expressions are captivating! Great job!! Cheers, Ann :o)


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