Ruins of Pingcheng City is located at the northern area of Datong. In the past, Ruins of Pingcheng City is the capital city of the early Northern Wei Dynasty from 398 to 494. The excavation of Ruins of Pingcheng City has great values in studying the city’s layout of Northern Wei Dynasty and the ancient Chinese etiquette. In 1988, Ruins of Pingcheng City was selected as the National Key Cultural Relics Protection Unit.
History of Ruins of Pingcheng City
More than 1,500 years ago, Tuoba family from Xianbei nationality became the emperor royalty, and then moved the capital to Pingcheng City. They established their capital here, which lasted for 96 years. There were more than 60 large buildings such as the Palace of Astronomy, Tianhua Palace, Ziji Palace, East Palace, West Palace, and Wanshou Palace. After Northern Wei Dynasty emperors’ reign period, the population of the capital reached to 1 million.
In 494, Emperor Xiaowen moved the capital to Luoyang. In 524, the city was almost destroyed during the uprising of the northern people. In 1372 of Ming Dynasty, General Xu Da built the Datong City on the basis of the outer city of Ruins of Pingcheng City. The southern city walls were completely built by Xu Da. The north, west and north sides were thickened with bricks on the original outer city walls.
Features of Ruins of Pingcheng City
Ruins of Pingcheng City lies near the Datong Great Wall by Fangshan Mountain. Pingcheng City was divided into three parts: palace area, outer city and outer city walls. The perimeter of the palace area is 4 kilometers. The perimeter of the outer city is 10 kilometers, which had 12 gates in total. Inside the outer city, there are about 100 pavilions and temples. The perimeter of the outer city walls reaches 16 kilometers. The whole city has very orderly layout, which formed the checkerboard-shaped architectural pattern.
The Ming Hall was the important part of Royal Building complex of Northern Wei Dynasty. Locating at the south part of the city, it has an area of about 70,000 square meters. The Ming Hall has a round roof with a square body. The Lingtai Pavilion on the top of the hall was used to observe the sky. The Tai room, the main hall, and the distribution rooms were built below the pavilion. These rooms were used to handle the political affairs, sacrifice and worship the honorable ancestors.
The site of grain cellar located 150 meters northeast of the Ruins of Pingcheng City. There were more than 50 pillar stones and 5 round grain cellar ruins on the rammed earth pavilion. The grain cellar is round, with a diameter of 10 meters and a depth of 4 meters.