Arrival in Taiyuan

Trip Start Jun 16, 2008
Trip End Jul 20, 2008

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Flag of China  , Shanxi,
Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The train arrived this morning in Taiyuan at 7AM.  My tour guide was waiting for me as I walked off the train.

Our first sto was for breakfast.  Now that I was in a smaller city and less touristy spot, I have begun to discover that I will have to adapt a bit more.  For example there are no toilets here but rather pits in the floor; even at the nice hotels.  Next, the food is more difficult too.  I don't always know what I am eating but I choose what looks like it may be acceptable to my stomach.

The first site we visited was Jin Ci Temple.  Jinci Temple is world-famous because it is an ancient ancestral temple, something which is rare in China.  Jinci Temple has a long history, which can be traced back to the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC to 711 BC), when King Cheng made his younger brother Yu a leader of one of his states. Yu was an intelligent leader who devoted all his energies to making the state prosperous, so his descendants built a temple for him after his death, in order to honor his achievement.  Jinci Temple was, to a certain extent, an imperial garden. Accordingly, some three hundred tablets were inscribed for it with writings by emperors, officials and poets, and these now line a scenic path in the temple. The most famous stele was written by the Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty in 646, and it was kept in a pavilion which is now known as 'Zhen Guan Bao Han Pavilion'. Taizong was one of the great emperors of Chinese history. The time from which he inherited the throne from his father became known as the Prosperity of Zhenguan, and people referred to the calligraphy written by him as ' Bao Han', meaing a kind of treasure.
Next we went to Qiao Jia Dayuan which was an old business center over 300 years ago.  This whole area really felt like nothing had changed and I was walking back in time.

From Taiyuan, we drove to the city of Pingyao which is known as being a very ancient city.  The first stop here was the Shuanglin Temple.  It was a series of Buddha temples built in the Ming Dynasty.  One impressive room had a large Buddha surrounded by 1,000 carved Buddhas.

Then we drove into the ancient city of Pingyao which is still surrounded by an ancient city wall.  Once inside we climbed to the top of the north tower for a view of the entire city and the city wall.

Next we visited Rishengchang Bank.  It was established in 1823 as China's first private bank. It was the biggest draft bank at that time and had been famous for "Hui Tong Tian Xia"(Business Connecting The Whole World).

Finally we made it to the hotel.  At 8PM I had dinner with my guide at the hotel.
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Where I stayed
Local Inn
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