Founded in the 14th century, the Ancient City of Pingyao, located in China’s Shanxi province, is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Han Chinese city. The property includes three parts: the entire area within the walls Pingyao, Shuanglin Temple (six kilometers southwest county seat), and Zhengguo Temple (12 kilometers northeast of the county seat).
The Ancient City of Pingyao is an outstanding example of Han cities in the Min and Qing Dynastes (from the 14th to 20th century). It retains all a complete picture of the cultural, social, economic and religious development in Chinse history.
It was listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.
Pingyao was constructed during the reign of King Xuan of the Zhou Dynasty. The King Xuan ‘s original purpose for building Pingyao was withstand the attacks from north. Afterwards, Pingyao was developed into a functional city, the starting place of the commercial business and the birthplace of China’s most rudimentary from of a modern bank. Pingyao also retains most its ancient charm in building like the Temple Confucius, the Qingxu Temple and a great number of residential building.
The Old town of Pingyao was constructed according to traditional planning and building style of the Han ethnic group, and was designed according to the functions of its different parts. Today Pingyao still has 3797 country yard houses, 400 of which are especially will preserved.
The Zhengguo Temple located in the northeast part of the city, was build 1,000 years ag, and its Hall of Ten Thousand Buddha is the third oldest existing wooden building in China.
The Shuanglin Temple, with 10 halls, is located in the southeast part of the town. It was build in 571, during the Northern Qi Dynasty(550-577). Since the temple is home to more than 2,000 painted clay statues from the Yuan Dynasty(1271-1368) through the Ming Dynasty, it is known as the Treasure House of Painted Sculptures.