About Pingyao Ancient City
The size of Pingyao county is 1260sq kilometers, with population of 530,000, shared among 29 ethnic groups.
What to wear
Pingyao has a continental climate with four distinct seasons. Spring and winter is usually windy with not much rain. Summer and autumn is mostly sunny but rainy.
During the 2nd Pingyao International Film Festival (11-20 October), temperatures in Pingyao can differ greatly between day and night, 20°C for the hottest and 3-4°C for the coldest. Please take warm clothes with you especially when watching films at the “Platform” open-air cinema.
What to do
Pingyao Festival Palace & PYIFF
Pingyao Festival Palace is located in the northwest corner of Pingyao Ancient City that used to be an old diesel engine plant. Covering an area of 11,000 square meters, it has one open-air theatre and five cinema auditoriums that can accommodate a total number of 2,200 seats. All cinemas are equipped with internationally standard digital video projector that supports films in 3D and 4K.
As the main venue for the Pingyao International Film Festival, Pingyao Festival Palace is also open to the public throughout the year with current movie releases. In addition, it presents a series of carefully curated programs on a regular basis, including “Pingyao Special Presentations” for special film screenings, “Pingyao Voice” for academic talks and forum, and “Pingyao Scope” for contemporary exhibitions.
Tickets are available on-site, or online via ticketing platforms including Maoyan (猫眼), Tao Piaopiao (淘票票), Nextentertainment (娱票儿), Meituan (美团) and Dianping (大众点评) by searching the keyword “Pingyao Festival Palace”.
Business Hours of Pingyao Festival Palace: 10:00 – 22:00
Initiated and founded by filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke, with Marco Müller as Artistic Director, PYIFF is an annual festival screening outstanding world movies in the year. It is a film festival with clear objective with short but sharp list of films.
The 2nd PYIFF will be held from 11th October to 20th October 2018.
Old city wall of Pingyao
The old city wall of Pingyao is one of the most well-preserved city wall in the world. The city wall was well functioned as protection of the city, with 72 watch towers and 3000 crenels. The numbers represent the 72 disciples and 3000 students of Confucius. The architectural style embodied the ancient Chinese ideology of civilians and the military working hand in hand.
The Ancient City of Pingyao has six gates. There is no need to buy tickets if you want to go inside of the ancient city. However, if you want to enter some specific attractions, such as Old city wall of Pingyao, ‘Piaohao’ Museum of China, County Office, Xietongqing Museum and other 22 small attractions, then you need to buy the tickets. Tickets are valid for three days, but cannot be used to repeat the visit.
All-inclusive ticket for The Ancient City of Pingyao attractions: 130 yuan per person.
Opening hours for attractions: 8:00 a.m.—18:00 p.m.
Ticket office: Tickets are available at the Ecological parking lot of the Ancient City of Pingyao, the outside of Xia Xi Men(Xia Xi Gate), Bei Men(North Gate), Confucious' temple, ‘Piaohao’ Museum, County Office and other attractions.
Rishengchang Exchange Shop(‘Piaohao’ Museum of China)
Pingyao Ancient City is one of the origins of Jinshang culture of China. The first draft bank which specialized in money transfer and saving accounts in China, Rishengchang Exchange Shop, was established here in 1823.
Rishengchang is regarded as the ‘grandfather’ of modern Chinese banks. A century since its establishment, the exchange shop was the life-stream of the economy in China. There were 51 ‘piaohao’ (exchange shops) in China in Qing dynasty, and 22 of them were in Pingyao. At that time, over 50 percent of financial institutions in the country were based in Western Street in Pingyao, therefore it can be seen as the ‘Wall Street of China’.
Built in the Northern Wei Dynasty (around 386 to 534 A. D.), the County office of Pingyao is one of the most well-kept ancient Chinese government houses. It is the offices of government officials, as well as a jail. The county office is an enormous premise with over 300 guest rooms.
The City God Temple
Built in the Ming Dynasty, the City God Temple is one of the most well-kept ancient City God Temples. It is an important place for religious activities in ancient China. Emperors made the City God and the mayor look after the spiritual world and the human world respectively. This reflects the traditional belief of 'man and deity rule hand in hand'.
The Censorate of Pingyao
The Censorate was the place where Censors in Ming and Qing Dynasties handled official duties. The Censorate of Pingyao is located in the middle section of South Street of Ancient City. It was built in the middle of Ming Dynasty. It is the only county-level Censorate with the most perfect regulations, the largest volume and the best preservation nationwide. Relying on the ancient building, The Censorate of Pingyao has been built the only public-spirited Museum of censorial culture in China. The exhibition area of the Museum covers an area of 2591 square meters and the building area of 1533 square meters. It is an important platform and a “living specimen” for displaying and developing the ancient excellent censorial culture.
Traditional handcraft experience
Experience the making of traditional handcrafts in craftsmen workshops which inherited a century of culture. Most famous Pingyao crafts include Pingyao hand-made lacquerware and paper cutting.
Mega indoor immersive theatre See You Again Pingyao
Walking along and experiencing an exciting story through the century long history of Pingyao. The show is not performed on traditional theatre stage. There is no auditorium and audiences will have to walk and immerse themselves into the set and interact with the performers.
Performance times: Tuesday to Sunday - 14:00, 19:00
Duration: 90 min
Price: RMB 238
(Extra performances on weekends in peak season, normally at 10:30, 16:00 and 21:00)
Venue: See You Again Pingyao Theatre, 154 Shuncheng Road. Northwest of Upper West Gate of Pingyao Ancient City
Jinzhong City is named after its location in central Shanxi Province (“jin” means Shanxi and “zhong” means centre), bordering Taihang Mountain to the east and Fenhe River to the west. With unique geographical location, Jinzhong has become an important place that connects North, Northwest and Central China. It also enjoys beautiful landscape and abundant cultural heritages. Among all 5,538 immovable heritages, there are 65 national historic sites, ranking first in Shanxi Province in number. And there are 94 national and provincial intangible cultural heritages in Jinzhong City.
Jinzhong is the home of private business residence culture represented by the Qiao and Wang Family compounds, Shanxi merchants legacy represented by the draft bank and the escort agency, intangible cultural heritages represented by Zuoquan folk music and Pingyao polished lacquer ware as well as great landscape represented by Mian Mountain and Wujin Mountain. The unique geographical location, profound cultural heritage and rich natural scenery have managed to attract countless tourists from home and abroad.
The Shuanglin Temple and Zhenguo Temple
The Shuanglin Temple and Zhenguo Temple are two temples near Pingyao and were both inscribed on the World Heritage list.
Shuanglin Temple - There are over 2000 coloured clay sculptures which show the advanced level of clay craftsmanship in Song to Qing dynasty (AD 960 - 1912). UNESCO commented it as a "truly unique treasure".
Zhenguo Temple - The history of the temple begin in Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period (AD 907 - 960). Zhenguo Temple's Ten-Thousand Buddha Hall is one of China's oldest wooden buildings. What makes it different from other wooden architecture is, the hall is entirely a hip and gabled structure, not a single nail is used. This is the reason for it to be lasting for over a thousand years.
Wang Family Compound
It is being praised as the 'Forbidden City in normal household, and is a masterpiece of Qing dynasty residential architecture. The architecture is magnificent as a palace, and it was built in strict accordance with feudal system construction regulations for Chinese residential buildings. The buildings cover a total of 250 thousand sqmetres.
Qiao Family Compound
Located in Qiao Jiabao Village, Qi County, Shanxi, the compound was owned by a legendary merchant family. You can learn more about the history of merchants in Shanxi, Jinshang, from the story of this family. The Qiao Family Compound is the chief location in the Zhang Yimou film Raise the Red Lantern.
Located in Southwest of Taiyuan, it is the earliest imperial garden that still remains in China. The architecture of the temple blends perfectly with the surrounding nature, and it preserves the ancient history from Western Zhou to Qing dynasty.
Jiajia Zhuang, Fenyang
Located in the eastern foot of Luliang Mountain, next to China National Highway 307 and Xiafen Expressway. Fenyang is an ancient county with 2600 years of history. Jiajia Zhuang is a popular spot for ecotourism, and is a national 4A class touristic spot.
Gu Street - Situated inside Jiajia Zhuang, the street is filled with over 300 workshops and street-food stalls. Filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke's theme restaurant 'Mountains May Depart · Kitchen' is also located here.
Jia Zhang-ke Art Centre and Open Village - You can submerse yourself in the amazing natural scenery and experience Chines folk culture in the Folk Culture Park in the Jiajia Zhuang. At the same time, you can also get a sense of the charisma of contemporary pioneer art in the art centre. The Hengding Industrial Cultural Park, which is not far away from Gu Street, is where the Art Center and Open Village will be built.
Located at the Eastern foothills of Taiyue Mountain, Qinyuan County has the largest forest cover in Shanxi Province. As an old saying goes, “winter is the best season to experience traditional lifestyle, and summer is the best season to visit Qinyuan”. The unique landscape and pleasant climate give Qinyuan a special charm. And the abundant culture and rich history endow Qinyuan with great heritages.
Known as “the oxygen bar”, Lingkong Mountain is full of the lush greenness. Mingling with dense clouds of incense, Bodhi Temple with a history of over 1,400 years is always thronged with devotees. The site of old military headquarters is the place to look into both the past and the future. The Qinheyuan National Wetland Park is surrounded by misty mountain peaks in the clouds and steep-sided valleys. In a word, with its beautiful green landscape and rich cultural heritages, Qinyuan will become an ideal shooting location.
What to eat
*Pingyao beef - Rich in colour and flavour, Pingyao beef has a long history, but there is no record of when it was first made. It was famous since the Ming and Qing dynasties, even been exported to various Asia countries.
*Kaolaolao - A significant noodle dish in Shanxi province, it has over 1000 years of history. The dish is a perfect combination of visual and culinary pleasure.
*Pingyao wantuo (bowl noodles) - A refreshing and tasty Han Chinese noodle snack. Can be served cold or cooked in stir-fry. This dish was invented by a local famous chef in the Qing dynasty.
*Best place to enjoy street food: Ming Qing Street, Snack Street (Outside Lower West Gate), Northern Street and Western Street