A good place to start your Pingyao experience is the magnificent city walls; they date from 1370 and are among the most complete in the nation. At 10m high and more than 6km in circumference, they are punctuated by 72 watchtowers, each containing a paragraph from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. You can wander around the walls gazing down into the old town.
Part of the southern wall, which collapsed in 2004, has been rebuilt, but the rest is original. Pingyao’s fascinating city gates (城门, chéngmén) are some of the best preserved in China; the Lower West Gate (Fèngyì Mén, Phoenix Appearing Gate) has a section of the original road, deeply grooved with the troughs left by cartwheels (also visible at the South Gate).