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Ancient Ming and Qing Street & Rishengchang Exchange Shop

Ancient Ming and Qing Street

The Ancient Ming and Qing Street, that is the South Avenue of Pingyao, is an essential cultural relics of the county. Reputed as the 'Wall Street of China', it used to be the most prosperous part of the county and the financial center of China.

The Ancient Ming and Qing Street is located in the centre of Pingyao and forms the axis of the county. The street which stretches for over 750 meters, is unique in its concentration of as many as one hundred shops and local houses in the style of the ancient Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) architecture. In the past the businesses that these shops encompassed involved nearly all fields of commerce including finance, medicine, silk, clothing, fans, lanterns and general merchandise, Now, although some shops have become museums or have changed the types of business they house, all retain their original appearance, making this street an excellent location to see historic buildings of the Qing and Ming period. The street is also a place where some local souvenirs can be purchased and some of the unique local snacks can be sampled.

The ancient City Tower, which is situated in the center of the street, is the highest building of Pingyao and also forms its axle center. It is also the best point to overview the county.

 Travel Tips: An all-inclusive ticket to the sights of Pingyao costs CNY 120 and includes entrance to the City Wall, Rishengchang Exchange Shop, the Temple of the City God, the Ancient Ming and Qing Street, and other about 20 scenic spots in the county. Many of these are located beside the Ancient Ming and Qing Street, such as the museums of some former exchange shops, Weishengchang, Xietongqing and Baichuantong.

Rishengchang Exchange Shop

Rishengchang Exchange Shop, located in the West Avenue of Pingyao County, was the first bank of China and used to be the financial center of the whole country.

The predecessor of the exchange shop was the Xiyucheng Pigment Shop run by Lei Lvcheng and directed by Li Daquan. With the booming of business in Pinyao, the traditional way of mailing silver money under a professional firm furnishing armed escort, became quite inconvenient and unsafe. Circa 1824 during Qing Dynasty, the shopkeeper Lei suggested Li changed the shop into an exchange shop, dealing with the agiotage speciality. Through the honest and professional management, the shop had control of national finance, and extended their businesses abroad for over 100 hundred years. Once a popular saying about the shop went that 'A draft can be circulated all over the world'. After the creation of the Republic of China, the shop gradually declined and was replaced by the more advanced banks.

Rishengchang Exchange Shop has now been rebuilt as the Chinese Exchange Shop Museum. From over 20 exhibit halls that are opened there, one can find the developing process of Chinese national banks and benefit from their successful experience.

 Travel Tips: An all-inclusive ticket to the scenic spots of Pingyao costs CNY 120, which includes Rishengchang Exchange Shop, City Wall of Pingyao, Ancient Ming and Qing Street, Temple of the City God and almost 20 other famous ancient cultural relics in the county. The county is not very big, so you can travel on foot to see all these attractions.