Pingyao, Shanxi Province Travel Information
While travelling in China you may consider a stopover in Pingyao. The city of Pingyao is situated in Shanxi Province, about 100 km south of Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province in central China. Pingyao can easily be reached by CRH high speed train. From the Beijing West Railway Station, the journey from Beijing to Pingyao by high speed train takes only about 4 hours.
The history of Pingyao can probably be traced back to Spring and Autumn Period (771 – 476 BC) during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, where there was already a settlement with a city wall.
Pingyao in its modern form, however, was not founded until the 14th century during the Ming Dynasty. Pingyao is today one of the most attractive historic old town in China. The old town is surrounded by a square city wall 6 km long, 1.5km on each side. The Pingyao City Wall was constructed in the Ming Dynasty (1386-1644) and is today one of the best-preserved city walls in China. From the city walls you have s beautiful view of the roofs of the old town Pingyao.
The heydays of Pingyao came during the Ming Dynasty, when Pingyao became a flourishing trade city and the center of a huge commercial network stretching from south China as far as Mongolia and today’s Russia. Pingyao became so affluent through that trade that finally a handful of resourceful merchants introduced in the city a virtual system of payment by pieces of paper, a precursor of today’s paper money. In 1823 the “Sunrise Prosperity Draft Bank” was founded in Pingyao, and that is now regarded as China’s first bank. The Building of the Bank can be visited during a city tour of Pingyao.
Also recommended is a visit to the Taoist Cheng Huang Temple close to the “New Eastern Gate” south-east of the town. The well-maintained Cheng Huang Temple is dedicated to the guardian spirit of the city of Pingyao. In the interior of Cheng Huang Temple is the “Temple of Wealth”, where many Chinese can be observed praying, hoping to get ultimate material wealth.
There is plenty of accommodation available in Pingyao. Some of these hotels are old buildings that have been transformed into tastefully furnished boutique hotels.