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Pingyao Travel Guide

Pingyao Overview

Pingyao is located in the middle of Shanxi Province at north China, with a history more than 2,700 years. Pingyao was the home of a powerful trading family with significant commercial influence even beyond Shanxi, as they were in the trade sector, a nationwide business. Once served as a bustling economic center of feudal China, the current Pingyao Old Town looks like pretty much as the same as it did about 600 years ago. Either Pingyao History or Pingyao Culture plays an important role in China.

The history of Pingyao could be tracked back to Han Dynasty because the Pingyao Ancient Town was designed fully according to the traditional Han People's city planning. The stoic city walls also did its part to shield Pingyao from marauding enemies from the 14th to 19th centuries, allowing Pingyao to swiftly flourish. The walls were first erected in the Zhou dynasty and last rebuilt during the Ming. After the Song army set the earthen walls on fire in AD 960, the walls were covered with bricks. By the 19th century, the once dynamic Pingyao town fell into provincial obscurity and the walls became a psychological prison. Then move forward the Pingyao history. When modernization fever swept through China in the 1980’s, town officials laid plans to demolish the ancient city and rebuild the Pingyao ancient town to accommodate what was hoped to be a future economic boom.

Much of Pingyao is made up of traditional Chinese courtyard dwellings, some of which are still homes for families who have lived here for hundreds of years. These dwellings, called Siheyuan in Chinese have attracted tourists from all over the world, who come to Pingyao to experience the Ming - Qing Dynasty life style. This particular Siheyuan is called Wu Dai Tong Tang, which means five generations living under one roof. Pingyao Ancient Town is also famous for its vaulted ceiling dwellings, which are characteristic of northwestern China. These Yao Dong dwellings are built of masonry and are known to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The doors and windows are decorated with intricate woodcarvings that have survived for hundreds of years and give these houses a quaint yet artistic feel.

Pingyao Facts
Pingyao Climate & Weather
Best Time for Pingyao Travel

Area Code: 0354

Zip Code: 311000

Population: 490,000

Area: About 388.9 square kilometers

Geography: Pingyao is located on the eastern banks of the Fen River, and is in the southwestern edge of the Taiyuan basin. It is adjacent to another Chinese Historic and Cultural City Qi County.

Administrative Division: Encircled by the city wall with the length of six kilometers, four main streets, eight small streets and 72 lanes in Pingyao are intersected with each other in great order but with different functions. The South Street was the main commercial street in Pingyao. The Center Gate was reserved for guests of honor and those high-level officials, while the East Gate was the entrance for the status quo in Pingyao. Then the West Gate was kept for suspected criminals and candidates for death row.

Pingyao enjoys a temperate continental monsoon climate with four distinct seasons. Annual average temperature is about 10ºC. Summer is often hot and rainy mainly in July and August. In Winter, the wind blowing from the north is very cold with average temperature –12 ºC. The temperature varies greatly between day and night. March to October is the best time to visit.

Average Temperatures
-16°C to -2ºC in January while 19°C to 28ºC in July
Most yearly rain falls in Summer and the annual rainfall averages 450 mm.

Climate Data Table for Pingyao

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
14.3 19.6 26.0 34.5 36.5 37.4 36.6 35.5 34.9 28.5 23.2 16.0
-22.7 -19.8 -15.6 -7.6 -0.5 5.5 10.5 8.5 -2.0 -6.9 -20.7 -21.3
Rainfall (mm) 3.2 5.2 13.4 19.9 33.3 55.9 102.1 107.0 51.6 25.6 10.7 3.2
speed (m/s)
2.0 2.3 2.6 2.9 2.6 2.1 1.7 1.6 1.5 1.7 1.9 1.8

Pingyao has mostly mild and dry weather with windy and sandy days. Sunny days account for 2,433 hours annually. The highest temperature is around 30°Celsius in Summer, and the lowest is around -5°Celsius in Winter. The Spring of Pingyao is very short with dry and cold climate. The temperature rises quickly wide variation between days and nights. Summer is the best season to visit Pingyao, and is the rainy season of the city, which accounts for 60 to 70% of the rain of the year. The Summer of Pingyao is very hot and the temperature difference is very large during the days and nights. Autumn is very short in Pingyao, which has many sunny days without severe temperature changes. Winter is the coldest season in Pingyao with an average temperature of around 0°Celsius and strong sandy winds.

Pingyao Tours & Tings to Do