|Ancient City of Pingyao|
First off is something that is VERY hard to miss, the city walls of Pingyao. Built during Zhou Dynasty, it stands 12 meter high and offers physical protection to the residents of the town. You could walk on top of the wall which offers a time of seclusion from the hustle and bustle and also a nice panoramic view of the town.
The Ancient Ming-Qing Street showcases old one-story residences and shops built with bricks and stones. It was fun to just walk around the area any time of the day to haggle souvenirs, taste authentic street food and peoplewatch.
|streets of Pingyao by night|
I headed off to Temple of the City God (城隍庙 Chénghuángmiào), located southeast of Pingyao. It is said to be one of the most preserved temples in the country so I was really anxious to see it.
The temple presents wonderful sculptures and paintings that I truly loved! Some parts looked kind of creepy actually, as some were gory that depicted the punishments in hell.
|Temple of the City God|
|Zhong Kui Temple feautures sculptures that depicts the punishments in hell. How gory and interesting!|
|Three of the Six Cao Fu|
|At the Kitchen God Temple, first time to see kitchenware and statues of human cooking in a temple|
|Reincarnation Temple that celebrates the fertility god.|
I headed off to Confucius Temple (文庙 Wénmiào) afterwards and it would have been nice to know about China's old system of education but there were no English texts for historical documents such as examination papers and calligraphy lessons which would have been great to understand as these were the only remains of 1300 years the Confucian Imperial Educational System.
|old calligraphy texts|
|pains of solo traveling, figuring out how you can take your own "selfies"|
After lunch, I went straight to Rishengchang Draft Bank （日升昌Rìshēngchāng), the pioneer of the exchange shops in China opened in the 18th century, marking the foundation of the country's financial system. The area is well-maintained and they even added manequins to make the atmosphere almost near to reality. The architecture of the courtyards, furniture and magnificent designs are sure to make even someone who was least interested about banks enjoy the place.
|the mannequins add a color inside the bank, frankly I don't think I'd enjoy it here if not for these nice additions|
|reception area for the guests|
|traditional Chinese kang bed|
With all the banks and businesses present in the city, it was no argue that security must be heightened and armed escort agencies were developed. The First Museum of Armed Escort in North China (中国镖局博物馆 Zhōngguó biāojú bówùguǎn) provided a great outlook of the security and escort service being provideded during the olden times. It was pretty cool to see equipment used by these armed escorts or biaohang and it is like being inside a kung fu master's house.
|different weapons of the escorts|
|imagine how difficult it could be to wear this heavy armor|
|you can try out shooting arrows but for a fee|
Last off my list is the most interesting of all, Pingyao County Government Office (衙门 Yámén) that served as local government office for the county. The entire complex introduces beautiful courtyards and gardens, if I didn’t know it was a government compound, I would have mistaken it for a mansion of a rich merchant.
One could spend more than an hour exploring to what seems like a big maze of simple yet magnificent buildings and learn about Pingyao’s traditional government, history and way of living.
Be sure to make time of the court trial performances held here at these schedules:
Sat- Sun: 9:30, 11:00, 3:30, 4:50
Mon-Fri: 9:30, 11:00, 3:30
|old way of living in Pingyao|
|the judge in this play|
|very realistic court performance!|
|the Prison's courtyard|
|old prison rooms|
|these equipments were used for punishing prisoners, so morbid!|
There are also some places you can go outside of city walls which are recommended to visit with your own transportation since it is very far. I was able to go to Shuanglin Temple, Wang Family Courtyard and Zhangbi Castle that I will talk about on another post.
Pingyao offers interesting sights to see, though it would probably be better to have a guidebook or translator in English. Nevertheless, I totally enjoyed this exploration of Pingyao and I can say that the trip here was one of my favorites so far in China.
More of China here