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City Wall of Pingyao & Temple of the City God

City Wall of Pingyao

As one of the key cultural relics of Pingyao, the City Wall of Pingyao is the most complete city wall from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties in China. The city wall was originally built in the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th Century BC – 771) with short earthen structures. But it was extensively rebuilt in 1370 in the early Ming Dynasty with bricks and stones for military purpose. During the 500 years' rules of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the city wall was repaired for some 26 times. However, the present shape and structure generally remain as they were after the first reconstruction.

The perimeter of the city wall is about 6.4 km. (4 miles) long and its height about 10 m. (32.8 ft.) It has a spectacular design, with six city gates on all sides; one each in the north and south and two each in the east and west. There is a small square called 'Urn City' outside each gate that opens to another gate. This is where enemies would be caught easily.

There is also a moat that measures 3.3 m (11 ft) deep by 3.3m wide. It is said that the design of the city gates signifies a tortoise of longevity: the south one facing a river - its head; two wells outside the gate-its eyes; the north-its tails; the four gates in the east and west-its four limbs; the zigzag streets and alleys in the county-the patterns on its back. This is where the nickname of Pingyao, 'City of Tortoise' originated, implying that it will last forever.

For its military function, the city wall was built with a jut wall every 40 to 60 m. (131 – 197 ft.) interval, each with an observation tower. Crenels are also opened on the wall for battle purposes. There are a total of 3,000 crenels and 72 towers, which signifies the 3,000 disciples and 72 saints of Confucius.

The City Wall had played an important role in guarding the county and has now become a significant structure in Pingyao, It yearns to reveal its historical importance to visitors of what the county has gone through in its bygone era.

Temple of the City God of Pingyao

The Temple of the City God of Pingyao is an ancient Taoist temple with deeply religious, historical and cultural value. It is one of the most complete examples of the same kind of buildings in China.

The temple was originally built in the Northern Song Dynasty(960-1127) and was rebuilt many times during the Ming and Qing Dynasties due to the ruins. It now remains the style of the architecture of Qing Dynasty, with an area of about 7,302 square meters (1.8 acres).

The structure of the building is quite spectacular and distinctive. With the Main Hall of the City God in the center, the temple congregates four parts of Hall of Liucao (officials of the nether world), Hall of Tudi (Gnome), Temple of Zaojun (Kitchen God) and Temple of Caishen (God of Wealth). Great gate, opera tower, halls, and bedrooms are arranged into four parallel courtyards, which have taken account of different functions. The whole structure is not only designed in the style of a temple, but also like a government house.

The temple exudes highly aesthetic and architectural values. It stores exquisite statues, murals and various forms of sculptures, where one can not only find the cultures of Taoism and Confucianism, but also those of the public. The design of double eaves, cloisters, pavilions and the glazed components is also most worth appreciating.

 Travel Tips: The Temple of the City God is located in the east of Pingyao County , the middle part of Cheng Huang Miao Street. An all-inclusive ticket of the scenic spots of Pingyao costs CNY 120, which includes the Temple of the City God, Rishengchang Exchange Shop , City Wall of Pingyao, Ancient Ming and Qing Street, and almost 20 other famous ancient cultural relics in the county.