China Tour Guide : World's Window To China — Travel E-Online

The Ancient City of Pingyao

Pingyao is a small town in the center of Shanxi Province ,whose history goes back 2700 years,when it was first built during the term of King Xuan(827-782BC)of the Western Zhou Dynasty. Since the“Province and County System” by Emperor Qin in 221 BC,the city has been the county seat in all the times. Despite so many events or incidents, it survived practically as it was in the 600 years or more since Ming and  Qing dynasties,and ranks as the only intact ancient city of Ming and Qing dynasties well preserved in China.

There wasn’t any accurate record about when this acient city what we see now has been build.during the long history,it has experienced prosperous and also has witnessed many battles.the city walls that we see, is extence of the old city walls in Ming Dynasty .eventhough it have been overhaouled many times in Qing Dynasty,but its style has never changed.

The city wall stretches for about six kilometers.The town is protected by a city moat,both three meters deep and wide. Outside the city is a drawbridge.Witnin the city,four big streets and eight small streets radiate to join with 72 lanes.

Preserved in the ancient city are near 4000 traditional quadrangle residences of common people,over 400 of which are fairly intact, in addition to the few even more cherished houses of Ming Dynasty and those rare houseesof Yuan Dynasty. These are typical of shelters  in northern China and Shanxi province,specifically with the following features:1.Perfect combination of cave dwelling and quadrangle courtyard; 2. Rectangle layout with an enclosed but elaborate space; 3.Mostly shed or flat roofed;4. Grand courtyard as a whole but elegant inside;5.Carefully observing Chinese geomancy as well as other customs.

So many ancient houses,city walls,streets,lanes as well as other cultural sites of Ming and Qing Dynasties are so perfectly preserved in Pingyao City that it is really the only one found in areas of Han people in China. Numerous precious cultural relics keep in the ancient city of pingyao. the construction coverd with coloured glaze situated in the southwest part is the Temple of Town God and the temple of the god of the wealth.its have beautiful shaped and magnificent view.and those modern construction beside them is pingyao middle school.As a general rule,build buildings is forbidden in this ancient city.but this is a exception.on the face of it,they take their education seriously.

In 1986,State Council announced the city as a state city of history and culture,and in December of 1997 UNESCO inscribed it on“World Heritage List” with their consideration that“The Ancient City of Ping Yao is an outstanding example of a Han Chinese city of the Ming and Qing Dynasties(14th一20th centuries)that has retained all its features to an exceptional degree and in doing so provides a remarkably complete picture of cultural,social,economical,and religious development during one of the most seminal periods of Chinese history.”

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