Pingyao Pictures Guide, China
An ornate bridge over a small river and entrance to the Confucius Temple. Photo by Zhangzhugang.
Some think this is the best of the dozen sights in Pingyao, it’s large, peaceful, well-preserved, houses plenty of fine statues (87 sculptures of Confucius and his disciples alone) and is English language friendly. It’s also included in the Pingyao Sights ticket.
Qiao Family Compound
Qiao Family’s Compound. Photo by Jim.
The wealthy Qiao Family lived in this elaborate compound in the Qing Dynasty. It was first built in 1756 and was renovated several times, including the addition of a wall in front of the main entrance to discourage ghosts from getting in.
The compound contains 6 major courtyards, 20 smaller courtyards and 313 rooms, with a 10 meter high exterior wall.
The compound is about 40 Km north of Pingyao and is a showcase of exquisite workmanship and architectural mastery. It has been used as the setting for many Chinese films so it’s more of a film set than a museum, which may explain why there are no explanations of anything, anywhere.
Ideally acquire a guide to explain the significance of decorations, motifs and layout as there is no other source of information. Seen from above the Qiao compound’s numerous courtyards form the Chinese character meaning double happiness.
A two hour visit is enough for most people and sharing your space with Chinese tourists is quite likely.
Temple of the City God (Chenghuang Miao)
Entering the Temple of the City God, Cheng Huang. Photo by Zhangzhugang.
This attractive Taoist temple and its typically Chinese courtyards and halls is one of the best preserved temples in China, outside and in.
Entered through a grand three gate wooden arch the temple is an elaborate mass of detailed woodcarvings, stone sculptures and large murals of happy-family/regal emperor heaven above a hell replete with sinners undergoing all sorts of tortures. The City God Temple is in daily use and was built during the Song Dynasty, 960-1227.
Pingyao restaurant photo by Gisling.
Many small restaurants serve Chinese food of course, plus local delicacies (deep fried crunchy cockroach anyone? ) and a few cafes offer western style food but prices are not cheap compared to other Chinese tourist cities.
Pingyao old city is quite small, about 1. 5 kms (1mile) square and a delight to walk around. Furthermore one of the pleasures of the place is that most vehicles are forbidden from entering it, so walking or cycling is the way to get around. However, for those with ambulatory problems there are trishaws and a few electric carts available.