Most of China's ancient walled cities were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. At the time of the Cultural Revolution however, the once prosperous Pingyao in Shanxi province was actually quite impoverished due to the 1914 Xinhai revolution. The city's merchants and banking clans were dissolved, and the town faded into obscurity, allowing it to go unnoticed during future upheavals.
Today, Pingyao is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has survived the modernisation of China quite well, with the ancient core of the town like stepping back in time. There isn't even a McDonald's!
The town is surrounded by earth walls, which were unfortunately undergoing minor repairs when we visited which meant that nearly all of the walls were shut. However, the winding alleys that go off from the main North, South, East and West streets are very interesting to explore.