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© 2010 John Holstein
"Ancient City Pingyao" has two sides, the tourist sector--mainly the central north-south street (shown here) and two east-west streets--and the residents' sector, which comprises most of the smaller lanes. If you don't like tourist sites, you'll find plenty in the residents' lanes.
Qing Xu Guan, a Taoist temple. See more photos here.
Cheng Huang Temple. Don't let the tourist vehicles scare you off. Just get there early in the morning. More photos here.
The spirit of the Confucian Temple has been killed by overzealous restoration and pandering to souvenier-hunting hordes of tourists. Fortunately, the other temples haven't been attacked yet.
Inside one of the halls in the Confucian Temple.
Er Lang Mio. Get a closer look here.
The Residential Sector
Most of the residences are multi-family compounds, formerly the single-family mansions of rich traders, aristocracy and government officials. Most of these compounds have a separate wall inside the main gate which is supposed to prevent evil spirits; and most of these walls have the ideogram "fu" (good fortune) that you can see in this photo. See more shots of residences here.
See more Pingyao people here.
One of the very few trees in Pingyao, it is 1,200 years old.
The new Pingyao surrounding the walls of ancient Pingyao. This quickly growing city has both very noticeable poverty in neighborhoods like that shown above, and growing wealth in a smaller, more sophisticated sector. The sprawling apartment complex in the photo is only one of many going up in Pingyao and all of the other cities I visited.
Signs of the changing times in new Pingyao, just outside Ancient Pingyao's wall.
On the road: from Pingyao to Taiyuan. The road is filled with these malevolent 22-wheel road hogs. More photos here.
This mural is at ZhenGuo Temple, outside Pingyao. For photos of that temple, visit this page.
More photos of Shuanglin Temple here.