The Temple of City God (Chenghuangmiao) in Pingyao

Why is The Temple of City God so Special?

As one of the best preserved temples in China, the Temple of the City God is located in the southeast of Pingyao Ancient City. The whole construction is of a grand scale, and covers an area of 7,302 square meters (approx. 8,733 square yards). The temple has a long history and has been renovated several times.

Architectural Features

The city god temple faces south and looks very spectacular. Among them, wonderful wood carvings, stone carvings, painted sculptures and murals reflect exquisite craftsmanship. The two murals here are rare art treasures in China. The beautiful coloured glaze decoration forms a particularly interesting feature. The roof here is decorated with blue and green coloured glaze, which looks very special and beautiful.

Historical introduction

The national key cultural relic protection unit city is a Taoist temple with the city god temple as the main body and the three temples in one place. This

The temple group was founded no later than the Yuan Dynasty. According to historical documents, the city god temple was rebuilt in 1554-1555 due to fire, and most of the buildings were restored. However, in the 90 years after the Republic of China, the city god temple was repeatedly damaged by people. it was not until the beginning of the 20th century that its buildings were completely restored to their original state and the elegant demeanour of the past can be restored.

Structure of The Temple of City God

The city god temple complex is well-organized and magnificent, with roofs of various forms in ancient Chinese buildings. the glazed ornaments left over from the Ming and Qing dynasties are brilliant and dazzling.

Main attraction

The whole temple is composed of Temple of the City God, Caishen (god in charge of fortune in Chinese legends) Temple, and Zaojun (god in charge of food) Temple.

Temple of the City God

It includes many constructions such as Hall of the City God, Theatre Hall, and Sleep Hall. Hall of the City God is the court of law of the city god, thus the atmosphere in the hall is serious and gloomy. The city god is sitting upright in the shrine with the judges and ghosts standing to the side. Sleep Hall is the place where the city god lives with family dependants. The room downstairs is the site where the city god deals with special legal cases and receives guests, while the room upstairs is his bedroom.

Caishen Temple

Three main figures are in the shrine to be worshipped. The sculptures in the shrine are delicately carved and symbolize delight and auspiciousness. The painting on the wall vividly depicts the great occasion of minority’s coming a long way to present tribute to emperor. Besides Caishen Temple, there are also Zhenwu Pavilion and the Theatre Hall of Caishen.

Zaojun Temple

Cooking god is one of the most respectable and reliable gods in Chinese people’s mind. Legend says that the cooking god is dispatched to supervise people’s acts indoors and report the fruit of his work to the highest god every twelfth month of the lunar year. In order to avoid bad deeds being reported, people prepare a kind of delicious dessert for the cooking god named ‘Tanggua’. When spring comes, the 100-year-old clove trees bloom and give off perfume, adding vitality to the temple.

The Temple of the City God is deeply rooted in the religious culture and well reflected in the folk customs. It is a special site that visitors should never miss when visiting Shanxi.

How to get to Temple of the City God

1. Take a tourist bus to Pingyao Ancient City from Taiyuan Railway Station at 6:30am.
2. Take a bus from Taiyuan Jiannan Bus Station to Pingyao at 8:00, 8:10, 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning.

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