5. Pingyao in central Shanxi province, Central China
Pingyao in Shanxi Province is a well-preserved Ming Dynasty town, surrounded by a completely intact 6 km Ming dynasty city wall. During the Qing Dynasty, Pingyao was the financial center of China. What's unique here is this well-preserved ancient city with its grand, solemn city wall, its residences and shops, and even the government office all in the style of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911). In 1997, when it was declared a World Cultural Heritage site for its Old City, Pingyao gradually opened up to the outside world and more and more people have come to have a look at this old city representing the prosperous past of Shanxi during the Ming and Qing eras.