My last post was about Beijing, which was a smoggy city that didn’t really do it for me. We left China’s capital and travelled south and west to the province of Shanxi (not to be confused with the province of Shaanxi, where we would be heading next) to historic Pingyao.
An ancient city surrounded by imposing and equally ancient stone walls, it was also cloaked in thick autumn fog the entire time we were there. Yet, unlike in Beijing, where the smog made the city feel bleak and somewhat depressing, the gloomy and quieting weather suited Pingyao down to the ground.
The city’s walls were built around 1370. Its oldest building dates back to 1136. Everything is grey stone and cobblestone streets, ancient moldering temples and red paper lanterns. Moving through the quiet streets (note – we were not there during peak tourist season) and cool mists, it’s not difficult to imagine you’ve been transported back across the centuries: this place reeks of history. Buildings are heated by coal and the smell permeates the air; I have to imagine this is a smell that has meant home to Pingyao residents for decades upon decades.
More details about the city to come, but for now, here is part one of a series of photo impressions from the place. (Yes, I took way too many pictures while we were there 😉 )