Previous Home Up Next

By night train from Beijing, we arrive in Pingyao. The train is late, we almost get out one station too early, in a city that looks very industrial and not very interesting. That doesn't say much, all cities in the world look like that when seen from the train. But contrary to the other city, Pingyao station seems to say "You're welcome here".

One of the main streets of Pingyao

 One of the smaller streets

Pingyao panorama

In the 19th Century, Pingyao used to be the financial heart of China. This is the place to find China's first bank, the Rishengchang. And China's first escort service. No, not the kind of escorts with nice beautiful ladies, we're talking about armed escorts, to protect the gold and other valuables that were transported from Pingyao throughout China (and vice versa).

City defenses

Marian tries to impress a statue

City wall

Since 1997, Pingyao is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Partly, this is because of the banking history, but more important is the impressive 6 km long city wall that surrounds the historical centre of Pingyao. This wall predates the Great Wall!!  And the historical centre itself, of course, with many buildings from Ming and Qing dynasties.

A load of stones
An old woman


A prisoner ?


View from the wall


At one of the city gates you can climb the wall. You have a nice view over the city when you walk on the wall. On the other side of the city, you can descend again. Walking through the city streets, the city looks completely different than from above.

One of the things I like about Pingyao, its the great number of nice bars. Find a bar from where you can watch the street, install yourself with a nice cold beer, and start people-watching. This is fun!

At one of the many bike rental shops in Pingyao, we rent some bikes to see the city wall from the outside. And I discover there's more about Pingyao than just the historical centre, there's a modern city too which is really nice. This is the real China!


 The Wang Compound


From Pingyao, we book an excursion that takes us to the Wang's family Compound, which is a large complex of interconnected courtyards. Those Wang's must have been very rich.

And we also visit two temples, the Shuanglin and the (almost similar looking) Zhenguo Temple (for which we have to travel one-and-a-half hour extra).

After that, we've developed a real temple-allergy. We don't want to visit any other temples on this holiday, unless there's something special to see. Like a monastery with real monks, for example; I'd like to see that.

 Interconnected courtyards

Previous Home Up Next