The doorways of Pingyao

Updated: 2015-10-26 10:56

By David Kindred(

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The doorways of Pingyao

[Photo by David Kindred/For]

In September, at the invitation of China Daily and the Shanxi Tourism Bureau, I had the privilege of traveling with 15 other foreigners through Shanxi province.

The theme of the tour was “Shanxi in the eyes of foreigners”.

There was much to see and many stories to tell. For me, the highlight of the tour was the day we spent in the old town of Pingyao, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and considered to be the best ancient walled-city in China. Many tourist guides list Pingyao as one of the best walled-cities in the world.

The cobbled streets and many of the buildings date from the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911).

What struck me immediately was just how “alive” much of the old town was. People actually live in these homes! They carry on their daily lives as if living in an ancient home is the most natural thing in the world. Which, for them, it is.

As I wandered the streets and lanes and back alleyways, I began to focus on one detail that, in this foreigner’s eyes, became a metaphor for the lives of the people who had lived in these homes over many generations.

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