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Home Shanxi Travel Guide Pingyao Travel Guide Pingyao Ancient City – A UNESCO World Heritage

Pingyao Ancient City – A UNESCO World Heritage

Pingyao Ancient City is located in the middle of Shanxi Province, China. As a UNESCO World Heritage, it is famous for its well-preserved Ming and Qing Dynasties buildings and urban planning. In the late 19th century, Pingyao Ancient City, as a bank and trade center, played an important role in the development of China’s economy and finance.

In Pingyao Ancient City, tourists can wander around the city’s old streets and lanes, visiting Rishengchang Draft Bank and Shuanglin Temple, etc., appreciating local traditional performances and tasting local cuisine. Pingyao Ancient City provides tourists with a unique chance to go back to the past and indulge in China’s rich cultural relics. So when traveling to Pingyao, Pingyao Ancient City is a must-visit site.


Pingyao Ancient City Facts

  • In Chinese: 平遥古城
  • Location: Pingyao County, Middle of Shanxi Province, China.
  • Opening time: 08:00-18:00 (April to October); 08:00-17:30 (November to March).
  • Ticket price: CNY 125 yuan/person.
  • Time needed: 1 day.
  • Best visiting time: March to mid-June, mid-September to November, and Chinese Spring Festival days (January or February).
  • Best for: History and culture lovers, architecture lovers, and photographers.
Shanxi Pingyao Ancient Town
Pingyao Ancient Town

Highlights to See in Pingyao Ancient City

1. Pingyao Ancient City Wall:

Pingyao Ancient City Wall is one of the most well-preserved ancient city walls. This wall is 6km long and has 6 gates and 72 watch towers. Tourists can wander around or ride a bike on the top, and at the same time appreciate the panorama of this ancient city.

2. Rishengchang Draft Bank:

Rishengchang Draft Bank was established in 1823, the first modern bank and also the largest bank in China. It plays an important role in the development of the modern banking industry. Now it is a museum for tourists to learn about China’s bank industry history and culture, and to know the bank’s influence on the economy and society.

3. Ming & Qing Dynasty Ancient Street:

Ming & Qing Dynasty Ancient Street, also named South Street, is the main street of Pingyao Ancient Town. It ever was China’s finance center in the 19th century and early years of the 20th century. Now, it is still a prosperous place with many traditional buildings, local special dishes, stores, and trades.

4. Xietongqing Exchange Store:

Xietongqing is a bank with a long history, established in 1856 and suspended in 1913. It was one of the largest and most influential banks of that age. There are 33 branch banks at home and abroad. Its headquarters is located in Pingyao Ancient town, with an area of 2,800 square meters and seven courtyards. Now it has been changed to a museum showing China’s bank’s unique history and culture.

5. Temple of the City God:

Temple of the City God is a well-preserved Ming Daoist temple in Pingyao Ancient town. Tourists will have an opportunity to view the complex buildings and relics and to experience the vigorous religious atmosphere in Pingyao Ancient City during their Pingyao tours.

6. Pingyao Ancient Government Office:

Pingyao Ancient Government Office is the office place of the Pingyao government. Now it is a museum showing Pingyao’s administration history for tourists.

7. North China First Escort Agency:

North China First Escort Agency, a unique scenic spot, was established in the Ming Dynasty. It was intended to protect the precious goods in dangerous trade routes of that time. The original buildings and exhibitions of this agency give tourists a chance to witness the trade and safety history of that period and know the role of this agency.

Rishengchang Former Bank Pingyao
Rishengchang Former Bank

Featured Activities to Experience in Pingyao Ancient City

Pingyao Chinese Spring Festival

Pingyao Chinese Spring Festival, held since 2000, is one of the grandest festivals in Pingyao, and an important way of knowing local culture customs. Tourists can experience kinds of local special activities, such as red lantern hanging, spring couplets writing, firecrackers setting off, lion dance, stilt shows, Yangko dance, etc.. This place is widely recognized as the best place to experience Chinese Spring Festival culture in northern China.

Pingyao International Photography Festival

Pingyao International Photography Festival, held originally in 2001, is an international activity. It attracts many photographers from America, Germany, Australia, and other countries across the world to share their special perspectives on Pingyao through their camera lenses. If you like photography, don’t miss this activity during your Pingyao tours in Pingyao Ancient City.

Best Time to Visit Pingyao Ancient City

The Ancient City of Pingyao, as a scenic spot, is open for tourists all year round. It is recommended to visit in Spring and Autumn, especially in September. At that time, the weather is moderate. In addition, the Pingyao International Photography Festival is held.

Winter is an excellent time for tourists to experience the mysterious atmosphere created by the ancient buildings covered with snow. Also, the Chinese Spring Festival is held.


Nearby Attractions of Pingyao Ancient City

  • Wang’s Family Courtyard: Wang’s Family Courtyard is a large residential complex. It shows the unique architecture, arts, and culture of the Jin and Shang Dynasty.
  • Shuanglin Temple: A UNESCO World Heritage, it is called the Oriental Color Sculpture Art Gallery. In the temple, there are more than 2,000 color sculptures of various gods and characters in the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties.
  • Zhenguo Temple: Zhenguo Temple is a Buddhist temple with a long history. It owns one of China’s oldest wooden buildings and the rare sculptures of the 10th century, providing a glimpse of China’s rich culture and architectural heritage.


How to Get to Pingyao Ancient City

Pingyao Ancient City is located in the middle of Shanxi Province, about 100km (60 miles) or a 2-hour drive away south of Taiyuan, about 290km (180 miles) or a 5-hour drive away south of Datong.

Tourists can get to Pingyao Ancient City by high-speed train, by train, by long-distance bus, or by private car. There is a High-speed Railway Station, a Railway Station, and a Long-distance Bus Station in Pingyao. Tourists can also take a flight to Taiyuan Airport, and then take a train or bus to Pingyao.

Hot travel routes to Pingyao Ancient City include:

  • Beijing to Pingyao route: about 4 hours by Bullet train or about 10 hours by regular train;
  • Xi’an to Pingyao route: about 3 hours by Bullet train or about 9 hours by regular train;
  • Taiyuan to Pingyao route: about 30 minutes by Bullet train, about 1.5 hours by regular train, or about 2 hours by Bus;
  • Datong to Pingyao route: about 3-3.5 hours by Bullet train or about 6-7 hours by Bus.


Recommended Pingyao Tours with Pingyao Ancient City

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