Pingyao still retains its city layout from the Ming
dynasties, conforming to a typical Ba gua
pattern. More than 300 sites in or near the city have ancient ruins. Preserved Ming- and Qing-style residences number close to 4,000. The streets and storefronts still largely retain their historical appearance.
The city walls
of Pingyao were constructed in the 3rd year of the Hongwu Emperor
(1370). The walls have six barbican
gates. The north and south sides have one gate each. The east and west sides have two gates each. This pattern is similar to that of a turtle (the head, tail and four legs), earning Pingyao the moniker "Turtle City."