Historical Places of China

China, with a history of more than five thousand years, is a treasure house of innumerable ancient architectural delights. One must visit all these places to relive the history and traditions of Chinese culture.

The famous historical places of China are:

•  The Great Wall of China

•  The Forbidden City

•  The Temple of Heaven

•  Yungang Grottoes

•  Xidi and Hongcun Villages

•  The Summer Palace

•  The Old Town of Pingyao

•  Taoist Buildings on Mount Wudang

•  The Confucian Temple, Cemetery and Family Mansion in Qufu

•  Classic Gardens in Suzhou

•  The Ancient Town of Lijiang

•  The Mausoleum of the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty and Terracotta Warriors and Horses

The Great Wall of China- In around 220 B.C ., under Qin Shi Huang , sections of earlier defense walls were joined together to form a united defense system against invasions from the north. Thus, the Great Wall became the world's largest military structure . Its historic and planned importance is matched only by its architectural implication.

The Forbidden City - Also called the Imperial Palace, the Forbidden City is located in the heart of Beijing city. It was the palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the last two feudal periods of the Chinese history. Completed in 1911, the layout, size, color and the overall decorations including furniture reflect the order of the rule and demonstrate the supremacy of the imperial power and the strict hierarchic system.

The Temple of Heaven- Situated in the southern part of Beijing is China's largest complex of ancient sacrificial buildings . Founded in the first half of the 15th century , The Temple of Heaven is a dignified complex of fine cult buildings set in gardens and enclosed by historic pine woods. Its overall layout symbolizes the relationship between earth and heaven which stands at the heart of Chinese cosmogony.

Yungang Grottoes- Situated in the southern foot of Wuzhou Mountain . It constitutes 252 caves and 51,000 statues towards the west of Datong city in Shanxi Province . They represent the marvelous achievement of Buddhist cave art in China in the 5th and 6th centuries.

Xidi and Hongcun Villages, Museums of Ming-Qing Architecture in Southern Anhui- The long-established buildings of Yixian Country , located at the foot of Mt. Huangshan , Anhul Province have long been regarded as typical examples of Anhil-style architecture. The two traditional villages of Xidi and Hongcun conserved to a remarkable extent the facade of non-urban settlements of a type that largely disappeared or was transformed during the last century.

The Summer Palace- Located in northwest suburban Beijing is the largest and most complete regal garden existing in China. First built in 1750 , largely destroyed in the war of 1860 and restored on its original foundations in 1886, it's a masterpiece of Chinese landscape. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a pleasant collection of outstanding aesthetic value.

The Old Town of Pingyao- Pingyao is a small town in central Shanxi Province, a province that has a history of 2,700 years . Built during the reign of King Xuan, Pingyao is an extremely well-preserved example of a traditional Han Chinese city, founded in the 14th century . Its urban structure shows the evolution of architectural styles and town planning in Imperial China for over five centuries.

Taoist Buildings on Mount Wudang- Set in the Hubei Province , it's not only a scenic spot but also a scared mountain to the Taoist believers. With high mountain peaks and thick forest it presents a graceful scenic beauty. The main peak, Heavenly Pillar Peak is surrounded by seventy-two peaks. It's said that Zhenwu , a God worshiped by the Taoist disciples was born in this mountain, where he meditated and achieved immortality.

The Confucian Temple, Cemetery and Family Mansion in Qufu- The temple, cemetery and family mansion of Confucius , the great thinker and philosopher, statesman , politician and educator of the 6th-5th centuries B.C , stands in Qufu, his birthplace in the Shandong Province . After his death, people built the temple to worship him and constructed the Confucius Family Mansion for his ancestors. The family cemetery , by far the largest, oldest and well preserved, contains Confucius' tomb and the remains of more than 100,000 of his descendants.

Classic Gardens in Suzhou- Thought to be most charming in southern China, Classic Gardens lies next to Taihu Lake on the Yangtze River Delta . In total there are nine gardens with several dozen still in good condition, including the most renowned ones- the Humble Administrator's Garden , the Fisherman's Net Garden , the Lingering Garden and the Circular Hill Villa . They are generally recognized to be masterpieces of the genre. Dating from the 11th-19th century , the gardens reflect the deep metaphysical importance of natural beauty in Chinese culture in their thorough design.

The Ancient Town of Lijiang- At the bottom of the Yulong Snow Mountain in north-western Yunnan Province is the ancient town of Lijiang. The town is screened by a mountain and it faces a river. Yunnan is crisscrossed with ancient streets and lanes, paved with vivid color stones and lined up with houses of wood, stone and mud structure characterized by their pretty simple and practical styles. Its architecture is remarkable for the blending of elements from several cultures that have appeared over many centuries. Lijiang also possesses an ancient water-supply system of great complexity and ingenuity that still functions effectively today.

The Mausoleum of the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty and Terracotta Warriors and Horses- Soon after declaring himself the First Emperor of the Dynasty, the Emperor of Qin built his own mausoleum north of the Lishan Hill in Lintong, Xian, Shaanxi Province . This archaeological site, which was not discovered until 1974, still has thousands of statues yet to be unearthed. The emperor is buried here surrounded by famous terracotta warriors, at the centre of a complex designed to mirror the urban plan of the capital, Xianyan. The small figures which include horses, chariots and weapons, are masterpieces of realism and are also of great historical importance.


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