The City Walls
The city walls of Pingyao were constructed in 1370, in the 3rd year of Emperor Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty. They enclose an area of about 2.25km² (0.87 sq miles). The town is laid out on a standard Chinese plan. It is accessed by six gates, one each on the north and south walls and two each on the east and west walls. The town is laid out in a typical ba gua (or eight diagrams) pattern, which is based on Taoist cosmology, and therefore has a strict grid pattern.
The walls are 12m (39ft) high, and are made of mud faced with brick. A 4m (13ft) wide and 4m (13ft) deep moat can be found just outside the walls. Originally there were four structured towers at the four corners but they no longer exist. However, there are 72 watchtowers and more than 3,000 battlements. The top of the walls are 3-6m (10-20ft) wide, which is enough to support a broad carriageway, and the number of defensive works supposedly represents the number of Confucius’s disciples and other students. The walls are considered among the best-preserved ancient city walls on this scale in China. Do take the time to walk along them as they afford a fascinating view into the houses and lives of the people living next to them.