Pingyao town houses

 The Pingyao town houses are the best-preserved town houses in China



Courtyard House 445

One of the great delights of Pingyao is that so many of the town houses have been preserved and many of them have been converted into guest houses.


Pingyao Guest house entrance
The guesthouse where we were staying, facing out onto the main Street.

There are few recognisable hotels in the western style within the town itself, but instead most visitors take great pleasure in staying in one of the converted guest houses, and discovering how a typical Chinese upper-class house really worked: though the guest houses have for the most part been cunningly adapted to accommodate the needs of western, or should one say the international visitor.








Courtyard 6431They are placed round a series of courtyards, not square but rectangular, long and narrow stretching back from the street frontage.

There was no verandah or corridor as a Roman villa: the rooms mainly faced out on to the central courtyard.

Discussion in courtyard 233The courtyard was a useful meeting place no doubt originally used as a workplace, though today it  forms a convenient meeting place for the guests.




Passageway 1228Rear courtyard 225There was however a corridor at the back (left) which led through a winding path to a second inner courtyard (right).








Pingyao - living room and bedroom
Our bedroom in the hotel. The bed was in the corner, quite high up, and we didn’t know which way to sleep. But note the modern insertion of a shower/washroom at the right-hand side – and the television in the left-hand corner


In our room, the bed consisted of a niche in the side wall at waist height, so one had to climb up to get into one’s bed. However to one side a small washroom had been cunningly inserted with all the modern facilities: even though the shower was simply inserted on one wall, it worked well.




Dining hall 1216In our guest house the one modern alteration was the addition of a large dining hall where we dined.








Celebrating 218 It was for us a memorable occasion because we had incautiously let on that it was in fact our wedding anniversary and a cake was conjured up and presented to us which we shared among the whole party.






Cake 1220It was unexpected but very pleasurable.











Arch 1146Earlier in the day while lunching in Taiyuan in a grand converted cinema, we found that a wedding party had preceded us and we were photographed in a splendidly ornate heart-shaped arch.









On to the Banks of Pingyao


5th December 2014