Pingyao (Chinese: 平遥; pinyin: Píngyáo) is a county in central Shanxi province in China. It is located approximately 715 kilometres (444 mi) southwest of Beijing and 80 kilometres (50 mi) from the provincial capital, Taiyuan. During the Qing Dynasty, Pingyao was a financial centre of China. The ancient city, whose history dates back some 2,700 years and which is renowned for its well-preserved city walls, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a major tourist attraction. It is still inhabited by some 50,000 residents.
Pingyao still retains its city layout from the Ming and Qing dynasties, conforming to a typical Ba gua pattern. More than 300 sites in or near the city have ancient ruins. Preserved Ming- and Qing-style residences number close to 4,000. The streets and storefronts still largely retain their historical appearance.
In the Spring and Autumn Period, the county belonged to the kingdom of Jin. It was part of the kingdom of Zhao in the Warring States period. In the Qin Dynasty, it was known as Pingtao. During the Han Dynasty, it was known as Zhongdu county. In 1986, the People's Republic of China designated Pingyao as one of the Chinese Historic and Cultural Cities. It became a World Heritage Site in 1997, including the outlying Zhenguo Temple and Shuanglin Temple.
Date of Inscription on the List of UNESCO WHS: 1997
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