Roam around Shanxi: experience thousand-year-long-history charming province
2013-04-17China travel Guide
Shanxi, as one of the birthplaces of Chinese nation, always impresses visitors with its profound history and culture. Now that we are approaching May, Shanxi witnesses the best travelling season. During these days, the climate is warm and there is no better place than Shanxi to make your May Day holiday unforgettable and unique.
Old town – dream a beautiful dream
Pingyao Old Town, the only ancient town as a whole declared as World Cultural Heritage in China, enjoys a history of more than 2,700 year. This place is also reputed as the birthplace of Merchants of Shanxi. As yet, you can still see the intact city wall of Ming Dynasty (1638-1644) and magnificent ancient architecture omplex. Whenever you roam on the flagging, pass though the alley, you will feel you were transcending time and space.
In the Pingyao Old Town, the most famed street is the Ming-Qing Street, where shops are here and there. As it used to be the headquarters of merchants of Shanxi, many surrounding dwellings and shops are well decorated and look imposing. If you are fond of plays, you can also head for Pingyao Grand Theatre, which used to be the venue for entertainment, and appreciate Shanxi-flavoured plays there.
When night falls, you are suggested looking for simple and elegant taverns to stay in, most of which are long-history quadrangle dwellings. At night when red lanterns are hung around the tranquil tavern, you can fall asleep in company with the soft red light and dream a beautiful dream.
Ancient monastery – try vegetarian food
After leaving Pingyao Old Town, you can move to one of the four most sacred Buddhist mountains – Wutai Mountain. It is said that it was on that mountain that Manjusri showed his presence and power. On the Mt. Wutai, you can still discover the spectacular Buddhist architectures row upon row. Besides, those ancient and grand Buddhist towers, murals and statues will take your breath away.
On the Wutai Mountain, in the Baiyun temple, Puhua temple, Cihang temple and any other monasteries, you can try special vegetarian food that is unavailable in other places. After praying for blessing, you can have a try on these long-history, well-made and tasty food, which will leave an indelible impression on your memory and make your trip an unforgettable experience.
Grottoes – look back into history
Sixteen kilometers distance from western Datong to Wuzhou Mountain leads you to one of the largest grottoes across China – Yungang Grottoes. Yungang Grottoes enjoys a history of more than 1,500 year, and is acclaimed as one of the four most marvelous grottoes in China (other three include Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang, Majishan Caves in Tianshui)
Stretching a kilometer from east to west, Yungang Grottoes were constructed against the mountains from the south foot of Mt. Wuzhou. Known as the gem of oriental art, the grotto often strikes visitors with its bright-coloured, vivid Buddha statues which will not only feast your eyes but also fill your spirit.
Food – Shanxi can be counted as the kingdom of noodles, where diversified sorts of noodles are available, such as sliced noodle, chemian (noodles made by pulling) and the like.
Shopping – paper-cut, a commonplace in Pingyao, is a traditional exquisitely-made art and craft that is worth buying and collecting. Besides, Chengni inkstone, Wutaishan inkstone, walking stick made of Xianglong bamboo are also popular souvenirs of Shanxi.