Jinzhong financial center of the Qing dynasty

Jinzhong Travel Guide of China

Things to do in Jinzhong

  • Pingyao Ancient City

    Pingyao Ancient City

  • Qiao Family Compound

    Qiao Family Compound

  • Wang Family Compound

    Wang Family Compound

The name of Jinzhong is probably newer to you than the ancient city of Pingyao that is often mentioned. Indeed, the renowned ancient city of Pingyao is actually under the rule of the city of Jinzhong in Shanxi. This ancient region is where traders became prosperous and began to live an imperial-like lives in the nineteenth century. Simply visit the Qiao Family's Compound and Wang Family's Compound to understand how traders lives changed immensely.

Overview of Jinzhong

The origin of the city of Jinzhong began more than 3,000 years ago in the Shang Dynasty. At the time, small villages took shape in this region near the Yellow River. It was not until the Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC) that Jinzhong was administered. "Jin" is the abbreviated name of Shanxi Province. For over 2,000 years, the life there in Jinzhong went on without any major change.
Then, the Qing Dynasty was established in the late seventeenth century and it brought with it the desire for economic development. It was then today's Jinzhong developed, including the ancient village of Pingyao. It is in Pingyao that the first Chinese bank opened in 1824 and this fortified town was so successful that it became the financial center of China. Wealthy merchants in Pingyao were known throughout China, under the name of Jin merchants, referring to Jinzhong and Shanxi Province.
The area was so prosperous that the merchants begin to live an imperial-like life where they had large homes that were at the time only available to royals. Some are still standing today and can considered small, independent villages due to their size. Unfortunately, the prosperity came to an end when the Qing Dynasty fell and China's financial center moved to the east coast. The Jinzhong region then fell into oblivion. Although this was a major blow for the locals, this allowed them keep some traditional components that would’ve been ruined by modernization, thus contributing to their tourist industry.

Must-see in Jinzhong

The main attraction in Jinzhong is the ancient city of Pingyao. This fortified city has retained its charm and has a unique history. Considered to be one of the four best-preserved traditional towns of China, Pingyao has even been listed as World Heritage by UNESCO.
During your trip to Jinzhong, do not also miss the two most impressive family residences: the Qiao Family's Compound and the Wang Family's Compound. The former owners of these homes used their wealth to build the huge houses, some of which are equivalent to an imperial palace.
Lastly, you can also visit the Chang family compound. Formerly the largest Shanxi family home with 600,000 sqm, 3/4 of the area of the mansion was transferred to the financial center.

Best time to visit Jinzhong 

If you travel to China in autumn, please go to Jinzhong. However, the rest of the year is also a great time to visit. There tends to be rain during the summer but it doesn't influence the trip whatsoever. The winter is dry and cool but not unbearable.

  • Best time to visit

    Apr. May. Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. 
  • Altitude

    1000M Altitude Jinzhong
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