Pingyao Ancient City

Pingyao's ancient city walls 400
Pingyao – Ancient City Walls
Photo by: madiko83, Creative Commons

Pingyao Ancient City gives you a taste of the old city life. Pingyao was recognized as the financial center of China of old. This ancient city is now known for its preserved city wall duly declared as heritage site by UNESCO.

As China’s old financial center, the city has more than 20 financial establishments carrying as much as half of the whole country’s wealth. Pingyao is famous for its agriculture and beef products up to this day. The city also produces cotton, lacquerware, and grains.

During the Ming Dynasty, the walls and architecture of this city enjoyed symmetrical design complemented by a well-planned layout of the city, streets, rooftops, and courtyards. Because of its symmetry, the site seemingly looks like a square city.

Until now, the city walls stand as it had when it was first erected in 1370 AD. The walls are complete with the equal intervals of watchtowers that are beneficial during war to avoid intruder attacks. In 2004, through the efforts of UNESCO, the walls were reconstructed and preservation methods were instituted.

Pingyao Ancient City walls have six barbican gates with 2 main entrance gates at the back and front seemingly following a turtle pattern (head and tail plus 4 legs). The walls are 12 meters high running a perimeter of 6000 m. A 4 m wide moat is found outside the city’s wall structures. It boasts of 72 watchtowers and approximately 3000 battlements.

Interesting tourist stops within the city include Rishengchang Bank (the primary bank in the 19th century), the Tian Ji Xiang Museum showing historical artifacts, and the Bell Tower exemplifying classic Northern Chinese Han architecture.

A visit to the Pingyao Ancient City will make you feel like you were living in the ancient early 19th century where battles are done through swords, arrows, and cannon balls.

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