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World Cultural Heritage in China


World Cultural Heritage in China

By 2014, China boasts 33 World Cultural Heritages Sites, in terms of travel interests, they loosely fall into nine categories.

Photography +Ethnic culture: Yuanyang Rice Terraces

Hiking: The Great Wall (1987) Mt Huangshan Wutai Mountain Wudang Mountain Mt. Lushan

Family Travel: Old Town of Lijiang (1997) Ancient City of Ping Yao (1997) Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui – Xidi and Hongcun(2000)

Honeymoon: West Lake Classical Gardens of Suzhou (1997) Historic Centre of Macao (2005)

Map of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage in China (click the photo to enlarge)

map of china nesco world heritageabsolutechinatours
Distribution map of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites in China

The Splendor of Royal China: Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in Beijing (1998) Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang (1987) Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples, Chengde (1994) Temple of Heaven: an Imperial Sacrificial Altar in Beijing (1998)

Pilgrimage+ Tibetan Buddhist Artifacts+Tibetan Festivals Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa (1994)

China Folk Architecture: Kaiping Diaolou and Villages Fujian Tulou Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System (2000)

UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites in Beijing (click to enlarge)

china unesco world heritage beijing

Buddhism Art: Longmen Grottoes (2000) Yungang Grottoes (2001) Dazu Rock Carvings (1999) Mogao Caves (1987) Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains (1994) Wutai Mountain

Archaeology Site: Site of Xanadu, Yin Xu (2006) ,  Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor (1987) ,  Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian (1987), Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom (2004), Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu (1994)
 peking man site the great wall
Ever wonder what the ancestors of the Chinese look like during 18,000–11,000 B.C? Zhoukoudian offers an insightful glimpse of pre-historical society as well as the chain of human being's evolution.
There goes a famous Chinese proverb: “To prove you are a hero, climb the Great Wall on foot.”

Another marvel of engineering, the Great Wall spans an impressive length of 20,000 kilometers  and a history of over 2,000 years. Its main body, which is punctuated by watch towers, fortresses, passes, military garrisons, and horse tracks, can be visible from the moon.

Near the Great Wall, cultural conflict and assimilation between the agrarian civilization and the nomad civilization has been a fact of life during the past millennia.

A trip to the Great Wall can be a relaxing promenade or a challenging trekking, and the good news is that there are many in-betweens.
 mogao grottoes mausoleum of emperor qingshihuang
Set against the undulating sand dunes, Mogao Grottoes perches at the crossroads of commerce, culture, religions and civilizations.
Its 492 cloisters harbor around 2, 000 painted clay sculptures, 45,000 square meters of murals and countless artifacts dating from the 4th to the 14th century. Tracing the germination, flourish to maturity of Buddhism, Mogao Grottoes stands out as an unmatched example to the power of divine inspiration.
With a cornucopia of artifacts spanning history, politics, military, social events and science, it also serves a timeless repository of middle age civilization.
The tomb of the Qin emperor, at 56.25 km2, is a subterranean palace filled with rivers of mercury, constellations of pearls and gem inlaid into the ceiling and a variety of valuables.
Over 700,000 slaves were summoned to finish it within a lengthy 36 years. A big underground vault, its main opened area to tourists, encompasses 12,000 m2 and harbors a dazzling collection of 8,000 terracotta infantry soldiers, archers, cavalrymen and chariots arranged in battle formation.
With an average height of 1.8m, these terracotta soldiers display a high level of artistry with individualized facial expressions, attires, weapons and postures. The bustling markets nearby ensure pleasant shopping experiences. Bring a ubiquitous replica terracotta warriors home is possible.
 forbidden city qufu
The resplendent abode of 24 Ming and Qing emperors of the Celestial Empire, the Forbidden City is a fittingly enchanting sight.
Enclosed behind its moats and 9,9m-high walls are 980 majestic buildings, tranquil courtyards and winding corridors.
This priceless architectural gem manifesting  the splendid Chinese civilization, is not to be missed.
Once forbidden grounds off limits to commoners in the past, the Confucius Mansions, Confucius Temple and Confucius Cemetery sparkle as wonderful places to communicate with Confucius, as well as to familiarize with his family members and eminent disciples.

This sprawling architectural complex takes up one fifth of the whole Qufu city. Enclosed are mansions with ornate pillars and eaves with unmatched artistry. From Sep 26 to Oct 10, a grand Confucius Worship Ritual is hosted to commemorate this great thinker. It offers an interesting insight into the dying customs once prevalent across China millennia ago.
 chengde summer resort potala palace
Verdant forests, bleak rock outcroppings, rolling pastureland, glistening lakes, royal gardens and a melding of monasteries of diversified architectural styles turn a trip to Chengde an outdoor adventure and cultural Odyssey.

As a timeless symbol representing China’s feudal kingdom in its twilight years, Chengde today keeps drawing a steady stream of hikers, backpackers, photographers and pilgrims yearning for relishing in the same scenery adorned by Qing emperors centuries ago.

The Eight Outer Temples, built during the reign of Emperor Kangxi and Qianlong, boasts 8 esteemed temples. At 22m high, the statue of Guanyin is not easily forgotten.
Built by the greatest Tibetan King, the over 1,300-year-old Potala Palace dominates the skyline of Lhasa as the most recognizable iconic landmark. This theocratic sanctuary is home to countless statues, murals, Thangka paintings and jewel-encrusted stupas of Dalai Lamas.
A visit to Potala Palace aids you to apprehend the profound Tibetan Buddhism, which unites all the Tibetans as a whole. Its two indispensible parts, the Jokhang Palace and Norbulingka (the Dalai Lama's former summer palace), well worth of a visit also.  
 wudang architecture complexes lushan world geopark
Mount Wudang is one of the best places to see Buddhist temples and Taoist monasteries in China. The awe-inspiring landscape is studded with 77 temples, 36 nunneries, 12 pavilions and 39 arched bridges, which exemplify the highest standard architectural achievements spanning the Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Among its intervening 72 peaks lay 24 deep valleys and 36 cliffs bearing the calligraphical inscriptions. These statuesque mountains remain mist-shrouded all year around, creates a spectacular vision.

Mount Wudang is also immortalized by numerous sword-fighting novels and lives up the fame of “the cradle of Daoism and Wudang Sect of Martial Art.”
With dwarfing peaks, deep gorgeous, waterfalls, cliffs, lakes, forests and wildlife, Lushan is a dreamland shared by the rich and famous, the spiritual as well as the learned and powerful.
It is misty for more than 200 days within a year. During its zenith, around 2,000 19th-century colonial villas grace its remote valleys, mountain slopes and even summits.

Hiking along the zigzagging trails to Three Tier Waterfall early in the morning, enjoying a picnic near Lulin Lake (the favorite swimming pool of Chairman Mao), walking into Meilu Villa(the abode of Chiang Kai-shek and his wife Song Meiling), watching a romance movie within People’s Hall and savoring up a cup of steamy hot Clound Mist tea, you will understand why Lushan is so irresistible.
 old town of lijiang pingyao
The Old Town of Lijiang, which has survived wars and earthquakes, is restored to its former splendor one decade ago. Its meteoric rise from an anonymous village perched on the outer rim of Himalayas and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, to a world renowned top retreat, can be attributed to its wonderful cityscape, exceptional rich ethnic culture and historical significance.

One of our customers remarked: “It is amazing that the locals have adapted so well to time, yet preserved so much of their culture.”

A trip to the Old Town of Lijiang usually includes a stopover to Basha Village, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lugu Lake and Tiger Leaping Gorge.
History is alive in the Ancient City of Ping Yao, a walled kingdom teemed with over 3,797 intact Ming and Qing-era civil quadrangle buildings crisscrossed by winding alleyways. Some of these quaint buildings are restored into boutique hotels, inns, museums and souvenir shops. Almost everyone will visit the Qiao Family Courtyard House and the Wang Family Courtyard House, which boasts 313 rooms and 1,052 rooms respectively.

Time you visit during the Lantern Festival, when grand parades and performances such as tightrope walks, Lion Dance, Dragon Dance and Shadow Play occur. From Sep 16 to 25, the whole city comes alive thanks to Pingyao International Photography Festival, during which countless photography masterpieces from home and abroad are displayed.
 jiangnan classic gardens summer palace
A 2,500-year-old water town south of the Yangtze River, Suzhou bears an air of elegance, grace and romance that few cities can compete with.

It is a city physically and culturally defined by water. Its exquisite gardens and interlaced canals lend an air of sophistication and aristocracy.

Suzhou gardens are simply unparalled in terms of layout, design principle and decoration. Built to harmonize with nature, under the principle of maximize the feeling of a large space in a confined quarters, they deserve the honorable title as “paradise of contemplation.”
For further appreciation of Suzhou’s sights, faith and lifestyles, Tiger Hill, Yunyan Pagoda, Tongli Ancient Water Town and Taihu Lake offer vivid introduction.
Once the most resplendent garden under the sun, Summer Palace was looted and leveled to the ground during the 19th century.
A stroll along the splendid ruins will give you a faint impression about its original grandeur.
 temple of heaven the dazu rock carvings
It is a sacred place where Ming and Qing emperors host elaborate worship ceremonies of heaven and earth. Many travelers are entertained by its Echo Wall possessing magical acoustic properties. Whispering your words in one end of the wall, they can be clearly heard in the other end.

The crown jewel of all the religious sites here is the Hall for the Prayer of Good Harvest, which is highly symbolic in geomancy. The three-tiered Circular Altar, which features rows of marble slabs in multiples of the number 9, was the place where the emperors, facing north, to deliver their annual presentation to Heaven.
Over 1,000 years ago, Buddhism and Taoism fought bitterly to win imperial favor and ascendancy in Chongqing. Buddhism won the final battle. Today, over 70 sites in Dazu County houses a dazzling array of painted clay statues dating back to the Tang and Song Dynasties. Showcasing Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian influences, the Dazu carvings range from thumb-sized figurines to a 31m colossus of reclining Buddha requiring the labor of hundreds of artisans.
 xidi and huncun yungang grottoes
Xidi and Hongcun stand out as excellent examples of Anhui-style civil buildings. The over 900-year-old Xidi allures for well-preserved mansions, while Hongcun is notated for many ornate archways. In April, the white-washed and black-tiled houses set against a sea of golden rapeseed blossoms, are especially stunning. They are top two places to see carvings of stone, clay and wood in China.
Buddha statues in Yungang Grottoes cry out for attention for their sheer scale, consummate artisanship and a melding of Persian, Indian, even Greek and Byzantine influences. Clinging precariously to the cliff is the Hanging Temple accessible by winding walkways.
 yinxu longmen grottoes
With history dating back to the Shang Dynasty, Yin Xu is recognized as the first Chinese capital firmly proved by oracle inscriptions and solid historical records.
Longmen Grottoes is famous for a 17m-high statue of the Losana Buddha. Its face is based on the portrait of Empress Wu Zhetian, a key royal sponsor. Take your time to see over 10,0000 Buddha statues and 2800 calligraphy inscriptions. Do not miss the “Water Banquet” in Luoyang, the Peony Festival and the White Horse Temple, which is the oldest Buddhist temple in China.
 ming thirteen tombs mt qingcheng
Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties is famous for its pristine status, massive scale and genius layout. 13 tombs devoted to Ming emperors, concubines and princes occupy the valley ringed by hills on three sides. By far, it stands out as the biggest and best-preserved royal tomb complex on earth.
Blessed with 10 intact Taoism cloisters, Mount Qingcheng lives up to its fame as “the birthplace of Taoism”. Trekking, paddling, praying, sightseeing, visit the Ancient Town of Taian and sample local signature dish: Chicken Strewed with Ginkgo are must-dos.
 Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom History-Centre-of-Macao
 Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom (2004)
The seemingly deserted ruins and royal tombs of the Koguryo Kingdom existed from 277 BC to AD 668 are hotpots among archaeologists. Some ingeniously structured tombs without using a single pillar, serve as convincing proofs to the wisdom of an already extinct civilization.
It is the oldest, biggest and best-preserved architectural complex embracing Chinese and western styles. It is also a beautiful testament to the ongoing cultural conflict and assimilation during the past four centuries.
 diaolou building complex tulou
Kaiping Diaolou is a hybrid architectural gem featuring a melding of the Oriental and Occidental traditions. Do not miss it during your trip in Guangdong.
Fujian Tulou is the best gift the Hakka people present to us. These rammed earth castles set against the idyllic countryside in southeast China’s coastal Fujian can easily foster a sense of belonging.
 wutai mountain west lake
Mount Wutai is one of the best places in China to see Buddhist temples, which are an eclectic mix of Han Buddhist, Tibetan and Mongolian Lamaist traditions.
The true glamour of West Lake lies in the rippled reflections of legends, myth and enigma that have attracted Chinese visitors for millennia.
site of xanaduyuanyang rice terraces
Site of Xanadu is the summer palace of Khublai Khan. It is the place where Marco Pola was greeted by Khublai Khan. It is the place dreamed by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Trekking, photographing, visit ethnic villages amid the terraced rice paddies are top things to do in Honghe Rice Terraces. Time your visit during Hani New Year to enjoy Long Table Banquet.
beijing hangzhou grand canalsilk road 
Beijing Hangzhou Grand CanalSilk Road
Author:  Sophia    Posted on Dec 27, 2013


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