China travel guide to the Middle Kingdom
Home to almost twenty percent of the world's population, China is one of the most exciting places to visit and live. Aside from its rich history and culture, wonderful tourist spots have become major attractions not only to locals but to millions of foreigners from different parts of the world.
Picturesque scenes are available in almost every major city and visiting all of these major sites needs a lot of time, effort, patience and a good China travel guide. So, plan your vacation ahead and make sure that the Great Wall in northern China, the Forbidden City (now operated as the Palace Museum) in Beijing, the terra-cotta warriors of Qin Shihuangdi’s tomb near Xi’an, and the Mogao Caves, are at the top of your list.
Since economic reforms were implemented in 1979, the government has promoted tourism as a means of earning foreign currency. China’s tourism sector has developed very rapidly. The government has constructed major hotels, increased air travel to China and within the country, and opened historic sites to tourists. Millions of visitors travel to China for its beautiful landscapes, interesting and diverse culture, and important historical attractions.
The Great Wall stretches across northern China. It consists of a series of walls built by the Ming dynasty in the 15th and 16th centuries to protect China against invasions from the north. The strongest walls were built near Beijing, the Ming capital. Sections of the Great Wall have been restored, mainly for purposes of tourism.
The Great Wall was built in the 3rd century to protect China’s northern border, and for impressive stone and earthen fortifications built along a different northern border in the 15th and 16th centuries AD, long after the ancient structure had mostly disappeared. Ruins of the later wall are found today along former border areas from Bo Hai in the east to Gansu Province in the west.
The Forbidden City - China Travel Guide
In the middle of Beijing, the capital of China, a compound of 800 buildings makes up the Forbidden City, built starting in the early 15th century. From 1420 until 1911 the city served as the home for two dynasties of Chinese emperors, the Ming and the Qing. Most of the buildings standing today date from the late 18th or early 19th centuries. It is here that you can see traditional architectural pieces up close and marvel in the treasures of the Imperial family and its court. You will find this magnificent piece of history sitting directly across from Tiananmen Square, the heart of Beijing. Here you will find the main entrance into the museum although smaller entrances are still open through the east and north gates.
The majority of structures found within the walls of the Forbidden City are post-18th Century architecture. While some of these buildings have experienced levels of damage caused by the Gobi winds, the Manchus, and the 21st Century looting by the Japanese and Kuomintang forces, most of them are still standing firm.
Terracotta Army - China Travel Guide
There are more than 6000 life-size figures and horses made of terra-cotta. The figures were modeled after the emperor’s real army, and each face is different. They were supposed to guard the crypt and protect their ruler on his afterlife journey.
This is one of the places to visit in China. Your experience will never be the same once you set foot on this area. Viewing Emperor Qin Shi Huang's terracotta army guarding his burial site and protecting his entry to the afterlife from the earthen side of a continuing archeological project is certainly one of the most memorable parts of any trip to China. The site was made a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1987.
A visit to the terracotta army is made from Xi'An, the capital of Shaanxi province. Xi'An lies to the southwest of Beijing. It is approximately a one-hour flight, or an overnight train ride from Beijing. Xi'An is China's first historic capital, made primary city by the first emperor, Qin Shi Huang.
The Terracotta Army Museum lies 2 km east of The Tomb of Qin Shihuang, known as the First Emperor, who unified China 2,200 years ago. Emperor Qin, from whom China gets its name, ordered the creation of this model army.
Dunhuang Caves - China Travel Guide
Dunhuang is best known for nearby caves that contain Buddhist frescoes, ritual objects, and documents dating from the 4th to the 12th century ad. These may be the best-preserved examples of Buddhist frescoes in China. Dunhuang has 492 caves, with 45,000 square meters of frescos, 2, 415 painted statues and five wooden-structured caves. The Mogao Grottoes contain priceless paintings, sculptures, some 50,000 Buddhist scriptures, historical documents, textiles, and other relics that first stunned the world in the early 1900s.
The Mogao Caves, or Mogao Grottoes (also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas and Dunhuang Caves) form a system of 492 temples 25 km (15.5 miles) southeast of the center of Dunhuang, an oasis strategically located at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road, in Gansu province, China. The caves contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of 1,000 years. Construction of the Buddhist cave shrines began in 366 AD as places to store scriptures and art. The Mogao Caves are the best known of the Chinese Buddhist grottoes and, along with Longmen Grottoes and Yungang Grottoes, are one of the three famous ancient sculptural sites of China. (Jade Sanchez)
|UNESCO World Heritage Sites in China|
• Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang
• Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor
• Mogao Caves
• Mount Taishan
• Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian
• The Great Wall
• Mount Huangshan
• Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area
• Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area
• Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui – Xidi and Hongcun
• Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties
• Longmen Grottoes
• Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area
• Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains
• Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa 7
• Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples, Chengde
• Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu
• Lushan National Park
• Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area
• Ancient City of Ping Yao
• Classical Gardens of Suzhou
• Old Town of Lijiang
• Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in Beijing
• Temple of Heaven: an Imperial Sacrificial Altar in Beijing
• Dazu Rock Carvings
• Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System
• Yungang Grottoes
• Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas
• Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom
• Historic Centre of Macao
• Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries - Wolong, Mt Siguniang and Jiajin Mountains
• Mount Wuyi
• Yin Xu
• Kaiping Diaolou and Villages
• South China Karst
• Fujian Tulou
• Mount Sanqingshan National Park
• Mount Wutai
• China Danxia
• Historic Monuments of Dengfeng in “The Centre of Heaven and Earth”