• Registration Year


  • Registered Sector

    Ancient City of Ping Yao

  • Historical Function

    Commerce and administration.

  • Administrative Status

    County town of Ping Yao County.

Location and site

Shanxi Province, in Northern China. Adjacent to Beijing, Ping Yao is in a county of the same name, and lies at the confluence of the Hui Ji and Liu Gen Rivers.

Urban Morphology

The old city of Ping Yao is located at one end of the delta formed by the confluence of the Hui Ji and Liu Gen Rivers. The fourteenth century ramparts, restored in the 1980s, form a ring around the city with a diameter of 6 km. The ramparts are between six and ten metres high and up to ten metres deep in places. The old city of Ping Yao within the walls slopes gently outwards for 2.25 km2. It is made up of more than 100 streets and lanes laid out symmetrically in straight lines. Ping Yao has six large temples, some of them very old, such as the Shuang Lin Temple (sixth century) and the Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas in the Temple of Zhen Guo (tenth century).

These precious buildings are fundamental technical and decorative reference points in Chinese architecture, and contain an extraordinary range of rare statues, including the oldest painted statues in China. Beside the religious buildings are the large industrial complexes, some of which date back to the fourteenth century, as well as more recent commercial structures. Thanks to the prosperity of its commercial and banking enterprises, Ping Yao also has many private residences of great interest, which have mostly lasted to this day. Altogether Ping Yao’s historical buildings are exceptionally well-preserved. All building construction, restoration and utilization within the old city is strictly regulated.

Registration Criteria

The ancient city of Ping Yao is an extraordinary example of a Han city of the Ming and Ch’ing dynasties (from the fourteenth to the twentieth century). It has retained these characteristics to an exceptional degree. It offers a remarkably complete picture of cultural, social, religious and cultural development in one of the most influential periods in Chinese history (criteria ii, iii and iv).

Historical Reference

  • The Ping Yao region has been inhabited since neolithic times times. An urban settlement has been in existence since the Western Chou dynasty (1066 to 771 BC). The town was fortified with earthen ramparts during the reign of King Xuan (827-782 BC).
  • With the installment of the prefecture system and counties in 221 BC, Ping Yao became the administrative capital and is so to this day.
  • In 1370, under the reign of Emperor Ming Hong Wu, the town grew considerably. A massive defensive wall was added to he fortifications, made of brick masonry. The internal street plan was modified drastically, according to the Han people’s rules of town planning.
  • From this era onwards, Ping Yao continued to evolve as a Han city under the Ming dynasty (1368-16440. In the sixteenth century, it became one of the most important commercial cities in northern China, a position it holds to this day. In the second half of the nineteenth century, Ping Yao’s banking community dominated financial activity in China. The first Chinese banknote was minted here.
Mr. Li Suping
Chief of the County Government

County Government Building Shuguanglu
Ping Yao, Shangxi Province, China
+86.354 562.4396
+86.354 562.4297