China # 16 – Pingyáo, the ancient walled city – September 2014

August 17, 2018

OK, Pingyáo was not on our list of “must see” places as we traveled across China. At the time, our primary Lonely Planet China guide book did not even mention it, but once again our personal guide, Green, knew better. To our pleasure and amazement, Pingyáo is China’s best-preserved ancient walled city. Moreover, it is not some made-up tourist attraction. Thousands of local residents live here, down narrow alleys and behind creaking wooden doors that lead into courtyards where laundry was hung to dry, bicycles leaned against ancient rock walls and locals gossiped in the sun.

Pingyáo – a reflection of old China

While most of the historical sections that were once part of other cities we had seen had been bulldozed and replaced with ugly block buildings and grey apartments, Pingyáo has managed to keep its old spirit intact.

As we strolled the ramparts of the amazing ancient city of Pingyáo, we had to snap a couple of memory shots.

As we strolled the ramparts of the amazing ancient city of Pingyáo, we had to snap a couple of memory shots.

Walking along the ramparts of the magnificent city walls gave us a mosaic of tile rooftops and a private look into backyards. A unique birds-eye view of some of the wonderful old buildings including the Confucius Temple, the City God Temple and a Taoist Temple. Back on street level, there were doorways to peak into and bronze statues that depicted the history of the old financial center back in 1823. Roof peaks and arches were elaborately adorned with carved or sculpted dragons and other symbolic images.

Strolling on top of Pingyáo's massive wall gave us an interesting bird's eye view of the old city.

Strolling on top of Pingyáo’s massive wall gave us an interesting bird’s eye view of the old city.

The city center was free of cars, with bicycles and electric scooters taking locals to where they needed to go. Interesting foods were everywhere to tempt us, as well as souvenirs. The city is famous for its beautiful lacquerware.

Despite being somewhat of a tourist town, (predominantly Chinese – we only saw two Westerners), the local people were uncommonly friendly, and not the norm in China, even the bathrooms were clean and where they should be—except for the young children who still didn’t need one.

This beautiful gate is one of the main entrances into Pingyáo.

This beautiful gate is one of the main entrances into Pingyáo.

After strolling the streets for a day to visit some of the temples and historic sights, we were both ready for a relaxing foot and leg massage, a specialty along the pedestrian mall. We found a quiet restaurant to enjoy an early dinner. Later we treated ourselves to a fabulous folkloric dance and show depicting the history of this ancient city. It was called “又见平遥” (Youjian Pingyáo – See Pingyao Again). At night, Pingyáo took on new personality. Temples were lit and streets were hung with colorful lanterns.

We spent a quiet night in front of Green’s hotel. Pingyáo would be one of the few places we stayed for two nights, one of our favorite stops along what we imagined may have been part of the New Silk Road leading to Beijing and the busy ports of the Yellow Sea.

Note: We couldn’t resist posting all the photos below to give you a better impression of fabulous Pingyáo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment




Answer this (to show you're not a robot) *