In August we travelled by train to the old city of Pingyao, in Shanxi Province, on a 2.5 day trip to see the sights. We strolled the streets and lanes and looked at temples and old courtyard residences, and saw a whole lot of colourful characters on the city streets.
During the Ming and Qing dynasties, Pingyao was an important center of trade, and its old city walls, cobbled streets and lanes, temples, government offices, and the old residential compounds of wealthy merchants have been well-preserved.
To see what we got up to on the trip, take a look through all the photos below!
One of the big towers in Pingyao.
Ancient Pingyao had a special office for administration of bodyguards. Here, one of our hikers begins his training.
Hire a costume; dress up like the old days!
We took a look at a store selling antique swords.
A Pingyao resident, out for a ride.
A clay sculpture of a Buddha, at Shuanglin Temple.
We spotted these little figurines in a corner of the Shuanglin Temple.
Porcelain Buddhas for sale.
Outside the White Cloud Temple.
The eaves of the White Cloud Temple are decorated with wooden carvings.
Pingyao’s Night Market.
The wares of an antiques shop.
During Pingyao’s heyday some families became rich through trade, and built large compounds. Here’s a courtyard inside one of those family houses.
Interesting sculptures at an antiques market.
The courtyard inside the boutique hotel where we stayed.
The Risenchang Exchange was one of the first banks in China.
For the small sum of 10 RMB the scribe will write and send an old-style cheque to your home.
Our great local guide explains the intricacies of one of the family courtyards.
A guest room inside the courtyard.
Antique furniture inside the guest room.
This fellow was carting about a portable sound system loaded with old-style music, and would stop every now and again for an impromptu dance session.
A local dancing team, ready to go.
We made a circuit of Pingyao’s city walls, and got good views of the roofs and courtyards below.
Another shot from inside the Bodyguard Administration courtyard.
More bodyguard training.
We saw a reenactment of an old ceremony.
A restaurant done up in traditional style.
The Temple of the City God.
The knocker and lock on the door in the Temple of the City God.
Shadow Puppet show.
On one of the evenings we arranged for a lesson in the art of paper-cutting.
Paper-cutting is a tricky business.
Shanxi Province “Jin” opera performance.
The White Cloud temple has been located here for more that 1,200 years.
The caretaker of the White Cloud Temple makes the rounds accompanied by dog and cat.
Interlocking pieces of carved wood support the roof of the temple.
A dragon decoration on the tiled roof of the temple.
An ancient locust tree on the temple grounds.