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City Wall of Pingyao

China, an East Asian country is one of the world’s oldest civilizations. It has a vast cultural history of more than five thousand years and an outstanding natural beauty. On the other hand, this country has remained a comparatively isolated and secluded one, and being a land of mystery, this country is not known to the western half of the world. However, China is rapidly developing and has grown in the phase of modernization, with an immense speed and is also welcoming the outer world to interact and do business with them.

Pingyao, a small city about 90 kilometers away from Taiyuan, the capital city of Shanxi Province, is famous for its well preserved ancient city wall. As it borders on the southern edge of the Taiyuan Basin and joins the Loess Plateau to the south, it has been an important communication hub in old days along the bank of the Yellow River. Its advantageous location benefited the city to be a famous commercial center over the country.

The city's history can be traced back to the Western Zhou Dynasty. The present wall is one of the best examples from the Ming Dynasty when China saw a construction campaign over the land. The city wall makes up an unbroken rectangle and features a rammed-earth-and-brick structure that goes 6.2 kilometers around. It rises 10 meters high with 8-12 meters wide at the bottom and 2.5-6 meters on the top. Interestingly, the shape of the city strikes the association with that of a tortoise, a Chinese traditional symbol of longevity. Around the wall there are altogether six city gates with each in the north and south respectively while in the east and west each opened two. These resemble the limbs of the animal. The south and north gate is counted as the head and tail while the east and west as four feet. Two wells resembling the eyes of the tortoise stands just outside the south gate and the crisscrossing streets inside the city are taken as the streaks on the shell. It is reputed as the tortoise city, which in the mean time harbors a good and naive wish for the immortality of the city.

City Wall of Pingyao justifiably so, enjoys a very positive reputation with worldwide travelers, and is one of the most visited place.

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