We arrived in Pingyao, one of the last preserved ancient walled cities of China. Pingyao used to be the major financial center of China during the Ming and Qing Dynasties (18th/19th century). The city has largely preserved the architecture of the buildings and motor vehicles are limited within city walls. We are staying at Harmony Guesthouse, which is in a traditional courtyard style, and we sleep in a raised platform bed called a kang.
We explored the city walls, which are still intact from the Ming Dynasty. We walked about ¾ of the way around, which took an hour and a half. You can get a nice view of the city and the inner courtyards.
We also stopped in a few of the museums—the most interesting was the old bank museum, Rishengchang. It was the first bank in China in 1824 and one of the first places in the world to use checks. Some of the other museums were under construction when we went in and weren’t really well maintained.
Mostly, it was better to wander around the town and look at the old architecture to get a sense of what old China used to be like. Most of the shops didn’t have anything interesting to sell. One casualty today: Mike lost his REI hat somewhere along the way. =(