On the west side of the County Government Office, there is a county prison. The prison includes male and female prisons for both civil and homicide cases. The Department of Supervision is on the north of the prison, being a place for the official of the prisons like living and dinning area. Temple of Ten and Temple of Horse are also located on the west side of the County Government Office, but unfortunately I miss it during my visit. There is a empty square right outside the prison, I believe it was the exercise place for the prisoners.
In Chinese Prison: 监狱 (Jian Yu)
Pingyao County Government Office is located on the middle of Zhenfujie Street. This is the biggest attraction in ancient Pingyao City. This 26,600 square meters government office compound was built in symmetrical layout. On the main axis includes The Gate, The Ceremonial Gate, The Court Hall Complex, The entryway to a large old style house, The Civil Court, and The County Magistrate's Residence. On west side of the office compound includes a county prison and the Department of supervision. On east side of the office compound includes a garden with Flower Hall, Grain Hall, Chess Pavilion, Song Dynasty Well.
The Gate: It is also called " Yamen 衙门 " in Chinese. It is facing South with a screen wall opposite it. It played an important role in exorcising evil spirits. The gate has a Fengshui Tower on the east and was a theater tower on the west.
In Chinese: 大门 (Da Men)
The Ceremonial Gate: This gate was usually closed, only used when there was a ceremonial of welcoming new high ranking official to the office or special events. There were two side gates on each sides, the eastern door was the one normally used, the western door was for those condemned to death.
In Chinese: 仪门 (Yi Men)
The Court Hall Complex: Facing South, this Ming Dynasty building was the principal building at the government office complex and served as the courtroom where important cases, including homicides were tried by the county magistrate and major activities were held.
In Chinese: 大堂 (Da Tang)
The Entryway to Magistrate's Residence: No outsider allowed to enter this door. There was a "Doorman" who was responsible to pass legal documents, letters, and other items to the magistrate through this entryway.
In Chinese: 宅门 (Zhai Men)
The Civil Court: The county magistrate worked and mediated civil disputes in this Ming Dynasty building. The east side held the secretary room and records room is on the west. The secretary's office handled the county magistrate's correspondence, names cards, and invitations The records office kept track of documents, letters, and files regarding judicial lawsuits.
In Chinese: 二堂 (Er Tang)
The County Magistrate's Residence: The main room is his bedroom, meeting room and study room. There are living halls and guest rooms on east and west side of the courtyard. On the normal day, he was the only one who stayed here. Based on the rule in Qing Dynasty, magistrate did not allow to stay here with his family.
In Chinese: 内宅 (Nei Zhai)
The Tower of the Fox Immortal: It was built during Yuan Dynasty. The Fox Immortal was celestial being who protected the official seat.
In Chinese: 大仙楼 (Da Xian Lou)
County Government Office: 县政署 (Xian Zheng Shu)
Pingyao Theater is located on Temple of City God street, next to Temple of Confucius. This theater was called Li Le Tang 礼乐堂, during Qing dynasty. It was an ancient entertainment center for the City of Pingyao. It was a resting place for merchants to the city, with dancing and singing performances. It is a theater now having local folk art and traditional performances to the tourists.
In front of the theater is the Nine-Dragon Wall, it was similar to the one in Forbidden City, Beijing. This Nine-Dragon Wall was made early Ming Dynasty. It was originally located in Temple of Prince of Pingyao, and was destroyed during Chinese Revolution. It was repaired during restoration of the City.
Pingyao Theater: 大戏堂 (Da Xi Tang)
Nine-Dragon Wall: 九龙壁(Jiu Long Bi)
Temple of Confucius in Pingyao is the oldest Confucius temple in China. It was first built in the early years of Tang Dynasty between (CE 627-649), Zhengguan era, under the reign of Emperor Taizong. During Jin Dynasty (CE 1163) under the reign Emperor Shizong, this temple was reconstructed and renamed as Confucius Temple. It retains its current architectural structure from the original structure of Jin Dynasty. After the earthquake in 1957, during reconstruction process by the local government, they found old books that further illustrate the teaching of Confucius underground the temple. It was a historical moment for them as they could enhance their knowledge through teaching of Confucius. During Tang Dynasty, a place would be categorized in levels of seven grades based on its population, taxes, property, location and etc. Pingyao was categorized as third highest in ranking because of the historical importance of the Temple of Confucius.
The founder of the Temple, Confucius, was named this temple as Confucius Temple during Spring and Autumn Period. After he became an important person to give idea, knowledge, teaching to the Emperor of Tang Dynasty of how to make a great country and succeed in politic and war, this temple was changed name to " Propaganda Temple", in Chinese " Wen Xuan Wang Miao 文宣王庙 " . From history, this temple has changed several names due to emperor dynasty's culture belief and status.
I really enjoyed my visit to this Temple of Confucius because of its amazing ancient courtyards, the architectural building of Dacheng Hall, 大城殿 , which is the main building in the Temple. Inside the hall, there is a statue of Confucius. On both side of him are the four statue of his disciples as well as 10 others philosophers' statues. The other section of the temple is the The museum of Chinese Imperial Examination.
In Chinese: 文庙 (Wen Miao)
Due to preserve the history and culture of Chinese Business of Commerce, Pingyao government has established this museum to highlight not only the business in ancient Pingyao, but how the Chinese business cultures were distributed to the Chinese communities in the whole world. This museum comes with a meeting room, a research center, and a resting hall. This museum has been supported by all the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the business communities in China. It plays an important role to the Chinese business as it displayed the business progress of Chinese people in China and the Chinese throughout the world.
I knew Chinese Chamber of Commerce since I was little. My father always told us what was going on in his meeting at the Chinese Camber of Commerce in Papar, Sabah. Interesting to know that the business history and culture can pass on for so long and so far.
I am more interested to see this ancient architectural building, the ancient staircases, the views from the rooftop. Check out my photos!!
In Chinese: 中国商会博物馆 (Zhong Guo Shang Hui Bo Wu Guan)
This museum has an unique brick wall architectural entrance. It shows you the traditional Pingyao residency garden and architectures. Pingyao ancient residential houses were designed with quadrangle courtyard. They always have a clear axis with three courtyards in rows. They have between 3 to 5 principle rooms with brick walls to prevent cold in the winter, and hot in the summer. The wing-rooms have wood-structural walls and have roofs sliding toward inside. Facing the main gate always come with a screen wall made of bricks, and sometimes it decorated into auspicious design with glazed tiles.
Most of the idea of designs are based on traditional Chinese Feng Shui, mainly to have prosper on their business and health.
The outer courtyard has an ancestors worship room on the west-wing and a kitchen on the east-wing. In front of the principle room has two passageways to the bedding-room. There are five spaces in the principle rooms for different functions.
In Chinese: 古民居博物馆 (Gu Min Ju Bo Wu Guan)
Wei Tai Hou Museum (Wei Tai Hou Draft Bank) is on the West Street, next to Rishengchang Exchange Shop. It is 1300 square meters with 3 courtyards. The entire property has 40 rooms plus halls. Currently, 18 rooms exhibits the traditional architectures, furniture, courtyards of the bank to showcase how the bank operated during ancient Pingyao.
Wei Tai Hou used to be in silk business. Since 1826, it transformed itself become an important financial institution in Pingyao. During that time, it has 5 brunches including Wei Tai Hou Draft Bank. All their brunches have different names and "Wei" became a popular name during ancient Pingyao. It was a second largest bank in Pingyao after Rishengchang Exchange Shop.
Check out the rooms in Wei Tai Hou Draft Bank in my custom tips.
In Chinese: 蔚泰厚博物馆 (Wei Tai Hou Bo Wu Guan)
Temple of Erlang is located on the north street and facing east, which is one of the famous Taoism temples built during Ming Dynasty. It is an example of Pingyao ancient courtyard gardens as a temple. It has three sections of courtyard with different gods' and ancestors' halls. You will see a stone wall once you enter the main entrance. Once you enter the first courtyard, you will see the bell tower.
Halls inside Temple of Erlang:
1) God of Earth
2) Hall of God Horse
3) Hall of Yuan Chen
4) Hall of 28 constellation
5) Hall of Yuan Jun
6) Hall of Dongfue
7) Hall of Gods of Three Stars
8) Hall of the God of Wealth
" The Jade Emperor was born on the 9th of January of Chinese lunar calender. This God is the highest Heaven God in Taoism. On the 25th of Decemberof lunar calender. People worship this God for praying a peaceful year. " (Notes from Signboard)
In Chinese: 二郎庙 (Er Lang Miao)
Fengyi Gate is located west side of the wall, on west street. This is the nearest gate to the Railway Station. Outside the gate is a busy and modern shopping streets. Unfortunately, the street is very dirty and dusty. I believe this is the busiest gate for the people in and out the City.
In Chinese: 风仪门 (Feng Yi Men)
Fengshui Tower is located on Zhengfujie, east of the County Government Office's main Gate. The entrance to the tower is through a door on the east side of the County Government Office. You can get a good view of Zhengfujie, being the most popular street in Pingayao with most of the YHA guesthouses are located here. I still puzzle myself with the name of this tower. The signboard on the East side shows " Ting Yu Lou 听雨楼"，means Listen the Rain Tower. On the West side tower, the signboard shows " 观风楼 , Guan Feng Lou"，means Fengshui Tower. Anyway. I think you should not skip the views from here.
In Chinese: 观风楼 (Guan Feng Lou)
I passed through a narrow ally to the East of County Government Office. Basically, it is a garden with Chest Pavilion, Flower Hall, Grain Hall, and a Song Dynasty Well. The Song Dynasty Well is interesting as it was dug early in the Song Dynasty. The inscription above it was destroyed during war. It is said that a common carp once appeared here.
Ying Xun Gate is one of the main entrances to the Pingyao Wall. Outside the gate, it is a big square, and most of the events like traditional dancing, parades are held in here. I did not go into this gate because I already entered Gongji Gate in the morning. The ticket is only applied to enter a gate to the wall. I took some pictures outside the gate.
In Chinese: 迎薰门 (Ying Xun Men)
Taihe Gate is located southeast of the ancient Pingyao, nearby the Temple of Confucius. After visiting the Temple of Confucius, I walked toward east to the wall, and passed by an ancient Catholic Church. I was trying to look for the main entrance to the Church, but it was closed. Anyway, the catholic building with the cross that built in this ancient neighborhood looks great! I walked along the wall, then I saw Taihe Gate. It is neither an attraction nor entrance to the wall. It is a passageway allowing people in and out of the city. It was very quiet and nice here. The 凸 shape gate looks amazing from outside the wall.
In In Chinese: 太和门 (Tai He Men)
In a small section of the Temple of Confucius is the museum of Chinese Imperial Examination. It is also called Choa San Academy, 超山书院， was built in 1844 during Qing Dynasty. During Ming Dynasty, there were no college or university in Pingyao, but only school for religious education. Pingyao has long history of religious study of temple of many great thinkers. Only till Qing dynasty during the reign od Emperor Kangxi (1700), they started to have teaching of Confucius. Many famous great Confucius thinkers had taught here before including Xu Ji Yu 徐继畲 (1795-1873). He was a thinker of modern China, governor of Fujian Province before serving as the president of Chaoshan Academy for as long as 10 years. His book, Ying Huan Zhi Lue, was famous as it took the lead to introduce westerm learning into China.
In Chinese: 中国科举博物馆 (Zhong Guo Ke Ju Bo Wu Guan)
Temple of City God was originally built in 1859 during Ming Dynasty. Due to fire, the temple and the outside buildings were destroyed. In 1864 during Qing Dynasty, a local magistrate Wong Pei Yi contributed his pension funds and silvers to re-built this temple. The temple retains its outlook until today.
It has 7302 square meters. The main entrance is facing south, with four courtyards. The compound comes with building arches, gates, peaking opera theater, and of course the four main temple halls. The four main temple hall including God of the Kitchen on the east side of outer courtyard, God of Wealth on the west side of the courtyard. The main hall is for the worship place to the City God. The back courtyard comes with Zhenwu Building. Zhenwu or called Lord of Profound Heaven was the god in-charge of the nature and fight for demons in the north China who was the northern god of the four Daoist gods.
Oh! Quite amazing rooftop with animals statues.
This is one of the four stars rating attractions in Pingyao, so don't miss it!!
In Chinese: 城隍庙 (Cheng Huang Miao)