Pingyao - Lost in Time
Pingyao, China, 2008-07-29 12:00 by Martin and Laerke
Our next stop in China was Pingyao which might be the most beautiful and best preserved walled city in China. During the Ming Dynasty Pingyao was a bustling merchant city, which did trade with areas stretching from south China to Mongolia. Here some of the first banks were established by wealthy merchants – later in the 20th century the city fell into poverty, which resulted in the city streets not changing in the past 150 years.
The beauty of the red lanterns swaying gently against grey brick walls attracts plenty of tourists – on weekends and holidays megaphone wielding Chinese tour groups assault the city. Beyond the souvenir strip the town is relaxed and you can feel the cozy atmosphere of this lovely city. We stayed in an old courtyard house, where we had a traditional bed, which is a mattress elevated from the floor and taking up almost the whole room. There wasn’t much to do in Pingyao but we enjoyed walking around the old city, watching life unfold; old men playing mahjong and women shopping for fruits and vegetables in the small street side shops.