UNESCO World Heritage Sites
More than 40 sights in China are on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List, and more World Heritage Sites are added almost every year. Some of the more famous sights include the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Great Wall. No less interesting are the sites of the Peking man in Zhoukoudian, the Emei Shan mountain landscape, the old town of Lijiang or the Wuyi mountains in the province of Fujian. UNESCO publishes a complete list (Internet: www.unesco.de ).
The 35,000 sq km tropical island of Hainan lies in the South China Sea and is heralded as the “Hawaii of tomorrow”. In the capital Haikou there are countless high-rise buildings and modern shopping centers, but historical China can still be found in the old town. The city of Sanya, located in the south of the island with its beautiful beaches, palm trees and crystal clear water, has become a well-known holiday resort with modern hotel facilities.
- Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in China, including compulsory schooling and higher education.
Although the water level of the Yangtze River has risen sharply since 2010 due to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, the imposing limestone walls still tower steeply in many places. Cruises are offered, for example, from Chongqing to Yichang (Internet: www.yangtze-river-cruises.com ). Guilin also offers cruises on the Li Jiang, which flows through beautiful landscapes with interesting limestone formations.
Hohhot, which means “the green city” in Mongolian, is the capital of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and probably the most colorful city in China. Mongolian rodeos are held under oriental domes, as well as excursions into the grass steppe with horsemanship demonstrations and to villages inhabited by Mongolian tribes.
Known as the “roof of the world,” Tibet has only been open to visitors since the 1980s. Tibet’s isolated location, extraordinary ancient lifestyle and religious customs are the main attractions of the country. The most famous sight in Tibet is the Potala, the former palace of the Dalai Lama. Other buildings worth seeing are the Drepung Monastery and the Jokhang Temple with a golden Buddha. Travelers need a special permit to visit the Tibet Autonomous Region (Internet: www.tibet-tour.com ).
Harbin – City of Ice Sculptures
Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang Province, has a Russian character. The industry of the north-east is concentrated here. There are some parks and war memorials, the Drachenturm (television tower) is one of the tallest free-standing steel truss towers in the world. You should definitely visit the famous ice sculpture festival, which takes place every year in January and during which delicately worked ice sculptures several meters high can be admired throughout the city. In the evening hours the sculptures are illuminated.
Chengde is a mountain resort popular since the Qing Emperors. Of particular interest is the Summer Palace of the Qing Emperors, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and whose Imperial Gardens are a masterpiece of Chinese landscape and garden architecture. The Eight Outer Temples are examples of the architectural styles of the different tribes (Han, Mongol and Tibetan). The Buddha statue in the Temple of General Peace is over 22 m high and is considered the largest wooden sculpture in the world.
Shenyang, once the imperial capital, is now a large industrial city. The ruins of the imperial palace and the two imperial tombs Dongling and Beiling, both of which are located in a spacious park, are worth visiting. From the viewing platform of the television tower you have a fantastic view of the city. There are some ski slopes in the nearby Qipanshan Mountains, which are particularly suitable for beginners.
The city of Wuxi, which is almost entirely surrounded by the Yangtze River, is an up-and-coming economic center and holiday resort on the northern shore of Lake Tai. Boat trips on the lake and the Yangtze River are possible. The main attractions are the lakeside gardens, parks and sanatoriums, as well as the Hui-Shan Pottery Factory. The Buddha statue at Lingshan, the Liyuan Garden at Li Lake, the Yuantou Zhu Park and the Qingshan Temple are particularly worth seeing.
Hengqin Ocean Kingdom – the largest aquarium in the world
The Hengqin Ocean Kingdom on Henqgin Island near the southern Chinese province of Macau is the largest aquarium in the world. In one of the seven underwater worlds, visitors can even marvel at gigantic whale sharks through a huge acrylic glass pane. The aquarium belongs to the Zhuhai Chime-Long Ocean Kingdom Theme Park (Internet: zh.chimelong.com ).
Suzhou – city of gardens
Suzhou is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in China, dating back over 2500 years. Here visitors will find silk factories and beautifully landscaped gardens, some of which have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Over 400 historical sites and features are protected, including such euphonious names as the Pavilion of Gentle Waves, Garden of the Humble Steward and the Beautiful Lingering Garden. The Grand Canal and Tiger Mountain are also worth a visit.
The Yungang Grottoes in Shanxi Province are early Buddhist cave temples and an impressive testament to Chinese stone carving. A total of 42 grottos and 210 niches with a total of over 51,000 Buddha statues belong to the complex, most of which were carved out of the sandstone as early as 460-525 AD. Yungang Grottoes are on the UNESCO World Heritage List and the Monuments List of the People’s Republic of China.
Terracotta Army in Xi’an
Xi’an was once one of the largest cities in the world. It was the capital of 11 dynasties. The city’s most famous attraction is the Qin Shi Huangdi Tomb with its terracotta army of over 6000 life-size terracotta soldiers and their horses. They were buried with Emperor Qin who unified China. There are also numerous tombs, bell towers, pagodas, pavilions and museums, including an Archaeological Museum displaying finds from the Neolithic city of Banpo (now in Xi’an).
Xuankong si – Hanging Monastery
The Hanging Monastery near the city of Hunyuan in northern Shanxi Province is an architecturally impressive structure and is on the list of monuments of the People’s Republic of China. The monastery was built at a dizzy height along a cliff, with the rock serving as the back wall. Wooden girders support the elaborately decorated buildings, which are connected to each other by narrow bridges.
Part of the impressive Great Wall is easily accessible from Beijing: near Badaling you can get a glimpse of this 5400 km long granite and brick structure, which is 2600 years old and one of the seven wonders of the world. A section can also be visited at Mutianyu, Simatai and Juyongguan. The mighty Shan Hai Guan Gate at the beginning of the Great Wall near the small seaside resort of Beidaihe is impressive.