Pingyao is an ancient city located in the center of Shanxi Province, China. The ancient city of Pingyao lies about 715 kilometers from Beijing. The city is renowned for its well preserved ancient city wall, and had been included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, together with Zhenguo Temple and Shuanglin Temple.
The ancient city of Pingyao was built in between B.C. 827 and B.C. 782 under the ruling of Emperor Zhou Xuan. The existing city walls were constructed starting from 1370 by the Hongwu Emperor or more commonly known as Zhu Yuanzhang. The city walls are about 12 meters high, with a perimeter of 6,000 meters. The walls have 6 gates, i.e. one each in the north and south and 2 each in the east and west sides. This pattern resembles the head, tail and 4 legs of a turtle, thus earning Pingyao the nickname of “Turtle City”. Along the walls, there are 4 towers at the 4 corners and also 72 watchtowers in between. Besides its ancient city walls, Pingyao is also renowned for its Ming and Qing style architectures. There are more than 300 sites in or near Pingyao that have ancient ruins.
Charming Pingyao, China
Still relatively unknown to the tourists, Pingyao is one of the best preserved ancient cities in China. Believe it or not, bicycles are main mode of transport in Pingyao and the use of cars is prohibited within the city!