The Pingyao ancient city presents a vast array of cultural relics, including three important cultural relics subject to protection institutions at the state. They are the city wall, the Zhenguo Temple and the Double Forest Temple. The city wall was first built in the Western Zhou Dynasty and was enlarged in 1370, later, was repaired for several times late in Ming and Qing dynasties. It keeps the style of the city wall early in the Ming and Qing dynasties, powerful and broad in scale.
The city wall is 6,157 meters in circumference. The wall body is
compact earth and is covered by bricks and stones. The wall measures 6 to 10
meters high, every 50 meters on the outside wall a horse face building
protrudes, altogether, there are 72 watchtowers and 3000 crenels, they represent
72 excellent disciples and 3000 followers of Confucian. It was called "Tortoise
City", it sits at the east bank of Fen river and at the foot of the Taiyue
mountain. The south gate was looked as the head of tortoise; the two wells near
out of the gate as the eyes of tortoise; the north gate as its tail; the east
and west gates as its legs. The up and down west gates and the up east gate face
to the south, like three legs stretching forward. Only the down east gate faces
to east. According to the tale, people were afraid that the tortoise would run
away, so they straiten its legs with force and tied it to a tower 10 miles away
from it. The city wall and the ancient streets combine to form a big picture of
the Eight Diagrams, like the figure of the tortoise. The design expresses
people's hope for solidity and longevity.
You can make a circuit around the city wall especially at nightfall. That will be a special experience for you. There will be a desolate and absolutely beautiful scene before you. The Shuanlin Temple is situated in the Qiaotou Village 7km southwest of the ancient Pingyao city, first built in 571. It has now a history of 1400 years. In the temple, most of the buildings were set up in Ming and Qing dynasties. The temple faces to the south and covers 14,000 square meters which including 10 main halls and 3 meditation rooms. The temples are on a platform 3 meters high like a castle. The Shuanglin Temple is famous for its colored clay figurines. There are 2052 figurines of Song, Yuan, Ming, Qing dynasty, the big is several meters high, the small is tens of centimeters. The figurines, in different figure, are lifelike. They are indeed the precious flowers in the field of art.
The Zhenguo Temple is 12 km east to the county proper. It was first built in 963. The whole temple sits against north and faces south. There are 13 halls and more than 10 huge figures of Buddha in the temple. The mountain gate and the Tianwang hall combine into one. The Wanfo Hall is the main hall of the temple and it is the earliest wood structure in China. In addition, the colored clay figurines and frescos in the temple are of high art value