Pingyao, China

Nominated in 1997 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Pingyao has over 4,000 Ming and Qing era courtyards all surrounded by brick-and-stone walls that are over six kilometers in circumference including 72 watchtowers and 3,000 crenellations. It is also home to China’s first bank, Rishengchang.

Pingyao, China is famed for its importance as China’s first banking capital and for its well preserved Ming and Qing era architecture. Founded by King Xuan of the Western Zhou Dynasty in the 9th century BC, it soon rose to be the financial center of the Qing dynasty. At its height, there were over 22 draft banks in Pingyao and more than 400 branches countrywide. This allowed Pingyao to grow into the beautiful, traditional walled city we know today.

As the city developed and modernized, many historic structures have been destroyed or damaged. GHF and the Pingyao County Government are working together to preserve this ancient city. GHF and Pingyao have been extremely successful with numerous accomplishments over the years ranging from a conservation manual created in partnership with UNESCO to completely preserving 4 courtyards with 13 others in progress, and the creation of a heritage park.

Within the community, GHF has partnered with the Pingyao Municipality in the creation of a Preservation Incentive Fund with over 60 households selected for grants. There have also been numerous workshops in the city to train international and local instructors on conservation techniques and maintenance of heritage sites.

Project Details


Location: Shanxi, China, Eastern Asia, Asia Organiser(s): Pingyao Municipality, Tongji University, UNESCO, Global Heritage Fund Funder(s): American Express Funding received: 3,352,600 Commencement Date: 01/2007 Project Status: Completed
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