The ancient city of Pingyao is located in Shanxi Province and is home to some of the best-preserved traditional architecture in all of China. Pingyao's city wall was first built during the Zhou Dynasty (11th century - 256 B.C.) and was expanded in 1370, the third year of the reign of Ming Emperor Hongwu. Since 1997, it has been listed as a World Heritage Site.
Now Pingyao city is the only one in China completely reserved, as it was hundreds of years ago, no modern buildings, only narrow stone-plate streets with many Chinese-style shops. Located on the trade route between Beijing and Xi'an, Pingyao developed into a merchant center where enterprising locals set up the nation's earliest banks. These institutions were the first in China to use checks, and business peaked in the 19th century, when the city was the undisputed financial center of the Qing government.
Several old courtyards have been turned into museums, most notably the homes and offices of Pingyao's old tongs, or banks. One of the most remarkable aspects of a visit here is realizing that this remote place was immensely important to China's financial history. This journey will retrace the memories of Shanxi's prosperous past, by visiting luxurious mansions once inhabited by the powerful merchants, buildings that once housed shops and banks, and century-old structures adorned with rare and exquisite woodwork.
Day 1: Fly to Taiyuan, capital city of Shanxi province and drive to Pingyao, financial center of Qing Dynasty now has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Day 2: Today is set aside explore Pingyao and we will visit several of the ancient courtyards and a complex of old private houses exhibiting their collection of art and furniture, all converted into museums. In addition to appreciating the ancient architecture, we navigate the ancient city around by bike or foot.
Day 3: We return to Taiyuan with a visit to Shuanglin Temple en route and fly back home in the afternoon.
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Asia China Local Culture Cultural Journey Archeology/History