I decided go to Datong during the China Spring Festival by High speed train. The first stop was the Hanging Temple near Datong, really amazing. The Hanging Temple is outstanding not because of its particular construction on a sheer precipice but also, maybe more important, it as homage to various religions, including Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. Very impressive to walk on these staircases and look down. The monastery is very well preserved because the cliff has a big overhang to protect it from sun and rain.
My second stop was the Yungang Caves, one of China’s four most famous “Buddhist Caves Art Treasure Houses”. It extends one kilometer from east to west and can be fallen into three major groups. And this makes this place very special, realizing how old these statues and caves are and still so beautiful despite the air pollution in the region from the mining industry.
After two days in Datong, I traveled further to Pingyao. Pingyao is an UNESCO World Heritage site! The little town (founded in the 14th century) is so well preserved and until this very day, the town looks much the same as when it was the county seat of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The best thing was riding bicycle around town. The city wall stretches for about six kilometers. The town is protected by a city moat. And Pingyao is the cradle for modern banking. The first bank was set up by rich merchants and traders and played a big role in the 19th and early 20th century.
I can write a lot about it but I think it’s better if you just take a look at my pictures or maybe even better, come here and see for yourself!