Home > China Guide >> Pingyao Travel Guide


In the central area of Shanxi Province lies an ancient county typical of rural counties in North China--simple and steeped in ancient tradition. What's different is that this county is linked firmly to a certain prosperous time in Chinese history. It played quite an important role in the economic development of Shanxi during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Pingyao County is 94 kilometers (58.4 miles) southwest of Taiyuan. With an area of 1,260 square kilometers (486.5 square miles), there are five towns and nine villages under its prefecture. Unlike those cities or counties south of the Yangtze River, Pingyao was not endowed with charming natural scenery but with a group of accomplished businessmen. Pingyao was the birthplace of the Jin Businessmen, who were one of the two famous Chinese business groups during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. Owing to this, the first Chinese exchange shop was opened in Pingyao. Then, for the next hundred years, Pingyao was home to almost all of the large exchange shops in China. To a certain degree, Pingyao was to China during the eighteenth century what Wall Street is to the US, which not only helped promote the economic development of Shanxi, but also left us with a magnificent old city and a series of grand residences.

Pingyao has now become quite a hot tourist attraction even though it is no longer economically prosperous. It boasts the famous Pingyao Old City which was included in the United Nations World Cultural Heritage in 1997. From the top of the grand City Wall, you have a bird\'s-eye view of the Old City, a complete city built almost a thousand years ago. In the Ancient Ming and Qing Street, you can experience the town's former glory while exploring the rows of residences and shops all constructed in the original architectural style.

Today, Pingyao\'s economic and government center has gradually moved outside the Old City. A residential area and commercial buildings have sprung up around the Old City. Department stores, super markets, hotels, and other entertainment venues show this ancient county\'s renewed vitality. While it does its best to keep its valuable old culture and heritage, Pingyao continues to develop into a modern new county.


Qiao Family

The prosperity of the Qiao Family originated with Qiao Guifa who was an orphan and made a living as a servant during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1711 - 1799) in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). Read More...

Rishengchang Exchange Shop

TheRishengchangExchangeShop,oneoftheearliestexchangeshopsinChina,islocatedonWestStreetinPingYaoCity,ShanxiProvince.Therectangularcompoundfacesnorthandis65meters(71yards)longand20meters(22yards)wide.Intotalitoccupiesover1,300squaremeters(approximatelyathirdofanacre).Itwasestablishedin1823duringtheQingDynasty(1644--1911).Atthattimeithadover35branchesinChina'smajorcities.InDecember1995,ShanxiProvincialGovernmentlisteditasaProvincialKeyCulturalRelicundertheReservationanditisnowtheChineseExchangeShop

Ancient Ming and Qing Streets

Pingyao is an ancient city which was established in the centre of Shanxi Province, and is well-known for the Local Resident Houses of the famous Jin (short name of Shanxi) Merchants who indulged in business and then returned many years later when they were quite rich. Read More...

Shuanglin Temple

LocatedintheQiaotouVillageaboutsixkilometers(fourmiles)toPingyao,theShuanglinTempleisreputedtobethe'ancientpaintedsculpturesmuseum'.Thetemplehousesmorethan2,000colorfulsculpturesreflectingtheexquisiteskillsoftheartisansoftheSong,Yuan,MingandQingDynasties.TheShuanglinTemplewasincludedintheWorldHeritageListbyUNESCOasanimportantculturalsiteofPingYaoCityin1997.Originally,theShuanglinTemplewascalledtheZhongduTemplebutitwasrenamedShuanglinduringtheSongDynasty(960-1127).InChinese,Shuangmeanstwoordouble

Pingyao Ancient City

Being one of the four wholly-protected ancient cities in China, Pingyao Ancient City is thought of as the 'treasure house' of ancient Chinese architectures. Read More...