Pingyao Ancient City, UNESCO Site, Shanxi Sheng, China
Pingyao’s old town is typically considered the best ancient walled city in China, and is on many lists of the best walled cities in the world. The city walls of Pingyao were constructed in the 3rd year of the Hongwu Emperor. The walls have six barbican gates.
The north and south sides have one gate each. The east and west sides have two gates each. This pattern is similar to that of a turtle, earning Pingyao the moniker “Turtle City.” The walls measure about 12 metres high, with a perimeter of 6,000 metres. A 4-metre wide, 4-metre deep moat can be found just outside the walls.
Aside from the four structured towers at the four corners, there are also 72 watchtowers and more than 3,000 battlements. In 2004, part of the southern walls collapsed but were reconstructed. However, the rest of the city walls are still largely intact and are considered among the best-preserved ancient city walls on this scale.
This makes the city walls the centrepiece of the UNESCO Heritage Site. Pingyao was the financial centre of China in the late Qing Dynasty. During those times, there were as many as 20 financial institutions within the city, comprising more than half of total in the whole country.
Epic China Culture & Adventure Route © Monika Newbound