Located at the southern foot of Wuzhou Mountain 16 kilometers west of Datong, Shanxi Province, the Yungang Grottoes were built against the mountain and extend about 1 kilometer from east to west. The construction of the caves was started under the auspices of the noted monk Tan Yao in 453 and took 50 years to complete. The 53 grottoes include 1,000 niches with about 51,000 statues – a treasure-trove of cave art that combines traditional Chinese art forms with foreign influence, particularly Greek and Indian.
The Imperial Palace in Shenyang Located in the center of Shenyang, Liaoning Province, Shenyang Imperial Palace, also known as the Mukden Palace, is the former imperial palace of the early Qing Dynasty of China. It was built in 1625 and the first three Qing emperors lived there from 1625 to 1644. In 2004, it was listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site to be an extension of the Forbidden City in Beijing.
The Koguryo Dynasty was a frontier regime that ruled northeast China in ancient times for 705 years (37 BC-668 AD). The Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom, which were inscribed on the World Heritage List, mainly include Wunushan City in Huanren County of Liaoning Province; Wandushan City in Ji'an County of Jilin Province; Guonei City; 39 tombs (12 royal tombs and 27 noble tombs); and the Haotaiwang Stele. People built cities on the hills as well as on the plains (or in the basins) and made the two types of cities mutually dependent. This is the most distinguishing architectural feature of the Capital Cities of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom.
From the 7th century B.C. through to the 17th century, the Chinese spent more than 2,000 years building the Great Wall, which stretched about 200,000 kilometers in total. However, most parts of the Great Wall have disappeared, except for the Ming Dynasty Great Wall. As one of the seven wonders of the medieval world and the only human artifact visible from out space, it was listed as World Heritage by UNESCO in 1987. Winding up and down across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, the Ming Dynasty Great Wall measures only 8,851.8 kilometers now, from east to west, and has been destroyed by erosion and human development in the surrounding regions. The Great Wall has been included on the list of 100 endangered sites by the World Monuments Fund.
The Ming and Qing Imperial Tombs are among the most extraordinary cultural remains tobe found anywhere. These world-famous sites are equal to the pyramids in Egypt. Any visitor to China should include the Ming and Qing Tombs as part of their tour.
the general name given to the mausoleums of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). The mausoleums have been perfectly preserved, as has the necropolis of each of the many emperors. Because of its long history, palatial and integrated architecture, the site has a high cultural and historic value. The layout and arrangement of all thirteen mausoleums are very similar but vary in size as well as in the complexity of their structures.
In December 1929, a Chinese paleoanthropologist named Pei Wenzhong discovered a complete skull of "Peking Man" on Dragon Bone Hill northwest of Zhoukoudian, in the southwest suburbs of Beijing. Later, archaeologists unearthed 40-odd individually fossilized skeletons of "Peking Man", male, female, old and young, all at the same site. Zhoukoudian, therefore, became the most common site for human remains with the most abundant fossils in the world from the same period. The discovery pushed the history of Beijing's civilization back to some 600,000 years. These fossilized remains prove that "Peking Man" was primitive man in an evolutionary process from ancient ape to modern man, and is the ancestor of the Chinese nation.
In 1987, the Zhoukoudian caves were listed as one of the world cultural heritage sites.
Qufu, Shandong Province, is the hometown of Confucius (551-479 BC), a great thinker, statesman and educator in China's history, and founder of the Confucian school of philosophy. The place abounds in cultural relics, of which the most famous are the Confucian Temple, Confucian Cemetery and Confucian Family Mansion.
The Confucian Temple, in the center of Qufu City, was built in 478 BC. There are still 466 halls, pavilions and other rooms intact, covering a total area of 21.8 hectares. Repeated improvement and expansion has turned the temple into a palatial complex with nine rows of courtyards. The Great Accomplishment Hall, the major structure of the temple, is 33 meters tall. It is roofed with yellow glazed tiles and has octagonal eaves. The front 10 stone columns are carved with dragons. In addition to a statue of Confucius, the hall also houses stone inscription of the Ming Dynasty, which tells the life story of Confucius in 120 pictures, as well as a great deal of stone tablets.
Together, the Confucian Temple, Confucian Family Mansion and Cemetery were made part of the world cultural heritage list in 1994.
The Summer Palace in northwest suburban Beijing is the largest and most complete imperial garden existing in China. It was first built in the 12th century as an imperial palace. Renovation and extension in the following several hundred years till the end of the 19th century led it into the scale we see today, and was officially named Summer Palace.
It is acclaimed as a museum of gardens in China, for a visit to this garden bestow on sightseers a glimpse of representative scenes all over China.
The Temple of Heaven in the southern part of Beijing is China's largest existing complex of ancient sacrificial buildings. Occupying an area of 273 hectares, it is three times the area of the Forbidden City. It was built in 1420 for emperors to worship Heaven. The principle buildings include the Altar of Prayer for Good Harvests, Imperial Vault of Heaven and Circular Mound Altar.
The Altar of Prayer for Good Harvest, 38 meters in height and 30 meters in diameter, stands on a round foundation built with three levels of marble stones. This towering triple-eave hall is under a three-story, cone-shaped glaze-tile roof in blue color crowned with a gilded knob. A circular wall of polished bricks known as the Echo Wall encloses the Imperial Vault of Heaven. The Circular Mount Altar, south to the Imperial Vault of Heaven, is where the emperor prayed to heaven. At the center lies a round stone called the Center of Heaven Stone that echoes when a visitor speaks loudly when standing on the stone.
The Temple of Heaven was entered into the world cultural heritage list in 1998.
The Forbidden City (Imperial Palace) in the heart of Beijing is the largest and most complete imperial palace and ancient building complex in China, and the world at large. Its construction began in 1406 and was completed 14 years later, having a history so far of some 580 years. Twenty-four emperors from the Ming and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties lived and ruled China from there.