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Ancient City of Ping Yao

Ancient City of Ping Yao

Ping Yao is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Han Chinese city, founded in the 14th century. Its urban fabric shows the evolution of architectural styles and town planning in Imperial China over five centuries. Of special interest are the imposing buildings associated with banking, for which Ping Yao was the major centre for the whole of China in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Vieille ville de Ping Yao

Ping Yao est un exemple exceptionnellement bien préservé de cité chinoise Han traditionnelle fondée au XIVe siècle. Son tissu urbain est l'exemple même de l'évolution des styles architecturaux et de l'urbanisme en Chine impériale durant cinq siècles. Les imposants édifices liés à l'activité bancaire sont particulièrement intéressants et rappellent que Ping Yao fut le plus grand centre bancaire de toute la Chine au XIXe siècle et au début du XXe siècle.

مدينة بينغ ياو القديمة

تشكّل بينغ ياو مثالاً استثنائياً عن مدينة صينيّة تقليديّة مصانة بشكل جيّد أنشأتها سلالة الهان في القرن الرابع عشر. ويُشكّل نسيجها الحضري مثالاً على تطوّر الأشكال الهندسيّة والطابع الحضري في إمبراطوريّة الصين لمدّة خمسة قرون. فالمباني العملاقة المستخدمة في الحقل المصرفي مثيرة للاهتمام وتذكّر بأنّ بينغ ياو كان أعظم مركزٍ مصرفي في أنحاء الصين قاطبةً في القرن التاسع عشر ومطلع القرن العشرين.

source: UNESCO/ERI

平遥古城

平遥古城建于14世纪,是现今保存完整的汉民族城市的杰出范例。其城镇布局集中反映了五个多世纪以来,中国的建筑风格和城市规划的发展。特别值得一提的是,这里与银行业有关的建筑格外雄伟,因为19至20世纪初期平遥是整个中国金融业的中心。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Исторический город Пинъяо

Пинъяо – это уникальный по своей сохранности пример традиционного истинно китайского города, основанного в XIV в. Его городская застройка отражает эволюцию архитектурных стилей и градостроительства в императорском Китае на протяжении пяти столетий. Особый интерес представляют импозантные здания, связанные с банковской деятельностью, важнейшим центром развития которой Пинъяо являлся в XIX-начале XX вв.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Ciudad vieja de Ping Yao

Fundada en el siglo XIV, Ping Yao es un ejemplo excepcionalmente bien conservado de ciudad han tradicional. Su tejido urbano es sumamente representativo de cinco siglos de evolución de los estilos arquitectónicos y el urbanismo en la China imperial. Construidos a finales del siglo XIX y principios del XX, sus imponentes edificios de bancos revisten un especial interés y recuerdan que, en esa época, Ping Yao fue el centro bancario mí¡s importante del paí­s.

source: UNESCO/ERI

古都平遥

source: NFUAJ

Oude stad van Ping Yao

Ping Yao is een goed voorbeeld van een traditionele Chinese Han stad uit de 14e eeuw. De stad ligt in de provincie Shanxi en is vooral bekend vanwege de goed intact gebleven architectuur. Tijdens de Ming en Qing dynastieën (14e tot 20e eeuw) was het een bloeiende handelsplaats. In 1370 – tijdens het bewind van de Ming keizer Hong Wu – werd de stad enorm uitgebreid en omringd met een massieve verdedigingsmuur. Het stedelijk ontwerp werd in dezelfde periode aangepast aan de strikte wetgeving van de Han volkeren. Bijzonder zijn de imposante bankgebouwen die gebouwd zijn toen Ping Yao het financiële leven domineerde in China.

Source: unesco.nl

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Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The Ancient City of Ping Yao is a well-preserved ancient county-level city in China. Located in Ping Yao County, central Shanxi Province, the property includes three parts: the entire area within the walls of Ping Yao, Shuanglin Temple 6 kilometers southwest of the county seat, and Zhenguo Temple 12 kilometers northeast of the county seat. The Ancient City of Ping Yao well retains the historic form of the county-level cities of the Han people in Central China from the 14th to 20th century.

Founded in the 14th century and covering an area of 225 hectares, the Ancient City of Ping Yao is a complete building complex including ancient walls, streets and lanes, shops, dwellings and temples. Its layout reflects perfectly the developments in architectural style and urban planning of the Han cities over more than five centuries. Particularly, from the 19th century to the early 20th century, the Ancient City of Ping Yao was a financial center for the whole of China. The nearly 4,000 existing shops and traditional dwellings in the town which are grand in form and exquisite in ornament bear witness to Ping Yao’s economic prosperity over a century. With more than 2,000 existing painted sculptures made in the Ming and Qing dynasties, Shuanglin Temple has been reputed as an “oriental art gallery of painted sculptures”. Wanfo Shrine, the main shrine of Zhenguo Temple, dating back to the Five Dynasties, is one of China’s earliest and most precious timber structure buildings in existence.

The Ancient City of Ping Yao is an outstanding example of Han cities in the Ming and Qing dynasties (from the 14th to 20th century). It retains all the Han city features, provides a complete picture of the cultural, social, economic and religious development in Chinese history, and it is of great value for studying the social form, economic structure, military defense, religious belief, traditional thinking, traditional ethics and dwelling form.

Criterion (ii): The townscape of Ancient City of Ping Yao excellently reflects the evolution of architectural styles and town planning in Imperial China over five centuries with contributions from different ethnicities and other parts of China.

Criterion (iii): The Ancient City of Ping Yao was a financial center in China from the 19th century to the early 20th century. The business shops and traditional dwellings in the city are historical witnesses to the economic prosperity of the Ancient City of Ping Yao in this period.

Criterion (iv): The Ancient City of Ping Yao is an outstanding example of the Han Chinese city of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (14th-20th centuries) that has retained all its features to an exceptional degree.

Integrity

Within Ancient City of Ping Yao’s property boundary, the heritage information and overall material and spiritual values have been well preserved. The urban plan and layout of the county-level cities of the Han people in Central China from the 14th to 20th century are well retained, the attributes carrying the heritage values including the city walls, streets and lanes, stores, dwellings and temples remain intact, and all the information that reflects the cultural, social, economic and religious development in this period have been well preserved. The spirit and culture of the heritage property have been well inherited and continued. All the above have so far not been destroyed or much affected by modern development.

Authenticity

Through over five centuries of continuous evolution and development, the Ancient City of Ping Yao with its associated temples of Shuanglin and Zhenguo has preserved authentically the elements and features that reflect the Han cities from the 14th to 20th century, including the overall layout, architectural style, building materials, construction craftsmanship and traditional technology, as well as the internal relations between the overall cityscape and the elements. Ancient City of Ping Yao truly reflects the traditional dwelling form and lifestyle of the Han people as well as the materialized features of trade and finance. It is an ideal place to research traditional Han culture.

Protection and management requirements

Ancient City of Pingyao was designated a National Historical and Cultural City by the State Council in 1986. The protection and management of the property have been in accordance with the 1982 Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Cultural Relics and the Implementation Regulations of Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Cultural Relics (amended 1991), the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Urban-rural Planning, as well as international conventions including the Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage. At the same time, in order to permanently preserve and sustainably use the Ancient City of Ping Yao, the Management Committee of World Cultural Heritage-Ancient City of Ping Yao (the special protection and management body), has been established, with offices under it to implement a series of laws, regulations and plans for the protection and management of Ancient City of Ping Yao, including the Regulations on the Protection of the Ancient City of Ping Yao and Detailed Plan for the Protection of the Ancient City of Ping Yao.

The Outstanding Universal Value of the property and all its attributes are under authentic and integrated conservation by making and implementing conservation and management plans, specific measures for intervention and maintenance of the fabric, and the improvement of the heritage setting. The site management body will strictly implement protection and management regulations, effectively control the development and construction activities in the heritage areas, curb the negative effects of various development pressures on the property, coordinate the demands of different stakeholders, and rationally and effectively maintain the balance between heritage conservation, tourism development and urban construction. The research, interpretation and communication of heritage value will be strengthened, and the roles of the property as a spiritual home and for cultural continuity will be realized, so that a sustainable and harmonious relationship between urban conservation and development of the historic city can be achieved.

Long Description

The Ancient City of Ping Yao is an outstanding example of a Han Chinese city of the Ming and Qing dynasties (14th-20th centuries) that has retained all its features to an exceptional degree and, in doing so, provides a remarkably complete picture of cultural, social, economic and religious development during one of the most seminal periods of Chinese history.

The Ping Yao region has been settled by humans since Neolithic times. There has been an urban settlement on the site since at least the Western Zhou dynasty, as it was fortified with earthen ramparts during the reign of King Xuan (827-782 BC).

With the implementation of the system of prefectures and counties in 221 BC, Ping Yao became the seat of a county administration, and continues to play that role. In 1370, during the reign of the Ming Emperor Hong Wu, the city was greatly extended. It was fortified with a massive new defensive wall and the internal layout was greatly altered, reflecting the strict rules of planning of the Han peoples.

The circuit of walls built in the late 14th century measures 6 km in length, the precise dimension for a city of this grade according to Han prescriptions. There are six fortified gates and 72 massive bastions along its length. Since that time it has evolved steadily as a Han city during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It emerged as one of the leading commercial cities in northern China during the 16th century, and retained that status well into the present age. In the second half of the 19th century the banking community of Ping Yao dominated Chinese financial life.

Ping Yao City is located at the end of the alluvial fan resulting from the confluence of the Hui Ji and Liu Gen rivers. The area enclosed is 2.25 km2 , comprising six large temple complexes, administrative offices for county and municipal administrations, and other public buildings as well as office buildings. The internal street layout is symmetrical and rectilinear. The main cross-streets are lined with shops built in the 17th-19th centuries which effectively preserve the historic townscape.

Ping Yao contains a number of cultural monuments protected by national, provincial, or county designation. The 10th-century Ten Thousand Buddha Hall of Zhen Guo Temple is a fundamental reference for the study of early Chinese painted statues, as well as for its architecture. The 12th-century Main Hall of the Confucian Temple is a classic example of this form of structure, where large oblique beams are used to bear the main roof timbers, instead of the more conventional technique using brackets. The Shuang Lm Temple, founded in the 6th century, is also renowned for its collection of over 2,000 decorated clay statues dating from the 12th-19th centuries. The Qing Xu Daoist Temple, founded in the 7th century, consists of 10 main buildings. Its Dragon Hall is noteworthy for the rare constructional technique used, a system of suspension beams and pendant columns. A group of more recent temples, include the 19th-century Temple of the Town God, the Auspicious Temple and the Temple to General Guan Yu.

The County Administrative Building is a complex that contains elements from the 14th to the 19th centuries. The two-storey wooden City Tower is the highest structure within the historic city. It owes its present appearance to a reconstruction in 1688. From the same period comes the Hui Ji Bridge, built from stone with stone balustrades on either side.

The prosperity deriving from trade, and later from the draft banks, resulted in Ping Yao being endowed over the centuries with many high-quality, well built private houses, and these have survived to a large extent. They follow the feudal and hierarchical Han tradition closely, with distinguishing local features. They are built round four sides of an open courtyard, and fall into three main groups. The first are conventional single-storeyed structures in wood and brick, with tiled roofs. Next come the below-ground structures in brick with corridors lined with wood and extended eaves. The third group is two-storey buildings, in which the underground structure is surmounted by a wooden second storey.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

The Ping Yao region has been settled by humankind since Neolithic times. There has been an urban settlement on the site of the nominated property since at least the Western Zhou Dynasty, since it was fortified with earthen ramparts during the reign of King Xuan (827-782 BC). With the implementation of the system of prefectures and counties in 221 BC, Ping Yao became the seat of a county administration, and continues to play that role.

In 1370, during the reign of the Ming Emperor Hong Wu, the city was greatly extended. It was fortified with a massive new defensive wall in masonry and brick and the internal layout was greatly altered, reflecting the strict rules of planning of the Han peoples.

Since that time it has evolved steadily as a Han city during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It emerged as one of the leading commercial cities in northern China during the 16th century, and retained that status well into the present age. In the second half of the 19th century the banking community of Ping Yao dominated Chinese financial life.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation