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Pingyao 平遥 The Eternal City, China

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Pingyao dates back 2,700 years, and is one of the best preserved ancient cities in the world. During the Qing Dynasty this city was a financial center of China. It is still inhabited by 50,000 residents and is renowned for its well-preserved ancient city wall, and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Pingyao still retains its city layout from the Ming and Qing dynasties, conforming to a typical Ba gua pattern. More than 300 sites in or near the city have ancient ruins. Preserved Ming- and Qing-style residences number close to 4,000. The streets and storefronts still largely retain their historical appearance.

The city walls of Pingyao were constructed in the 3rd year of the Hongwu Emperor (1370). The walls have six barbican gates. The north and south sides have one gate each. The east and west sides have two gates each.

This pattern is similar to that of a turtle (the head, tail and four legs), earning Pingyao the moniker "Turtle City." The walls measure about 12 metres high, with a perimeter of 6,000 metres. A 4-metre wide, 4-metre deep moat can be found just outside the walls. Aside from the four structured towers at the four corners, there are also 72 watchtowers and more than 3,000 battlements.

reporter: Ilona Kauremszky
video: Stephen Smith
music: Kevin MacLeod http://incompetech.com
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