The Great Wall
Natural Features From Shan hai guan，northeast of Qinhuangdao City，Hebei Province in the east coast . the Great Wall rises and falls with the contours of the mountains westward . crossing the provinces，municipalities and autonomous regions of Liaoning，Hebei， Tianjin，Beijing，Shanxi，Inner Mongolia，Shanxi， Ningxia and Gansu for 6 700 kilometers， to end at Jia yu guan，southwest of Jia yu guan City in Gansu Province.
The construction of the wall be- gan during the Spring and Autumn period(770 -- 476 BC) and Jarring States period(475 -- 221 BC). Ducal states at that time built walls to defend their own territories. After the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty crushed all rival states, he founded the fires centralized and unified dynasty in Chinese history. To consolidate the country and ward off invasion by ethnic minority tribes in the north, he had the walls linked and extended, giving rise to the 5000-kilometer- long Qin Great Wall. extending it more than 1000 kilometers to today's scale. The wall stretches across the vast area of north and central China reputed as "Enlivened for 2000 years and Maneuvering for 10 000 Ii"
Great Wall of Han Dynasty was about 10000 km long, and it is the longest of all in history. Today，we can easily find its remains along a rough line from Xinjiang Autonomous Region toHebei Province. Silk Road went on along the wall for half of its length president of FormerUnited States great Richard Nixon remarked on his visiting “This is the Great Wall and only a people with a great past could have a with such a great wall will surely have a great great wall and such a great people future"
The Great Wall The walls are made comprises walls，passes，watchtowers， of large stone strips. From east to west castles and fortresses. ，the sections at Shan- haiguan。Jinshanling，Mutianyu .Badaling and Jiayuguan have become Tourist attraction.
The Great Wall we see today mostly dates back to the Ming Dynasty. The best preserved and most imposing section is at Badaling in Beijing. The section，located outside the JuyongguanPass . is made of large blue bricks and has an average height of 7. 8 meters. Five to six horses can be ridden abreast along it. At regular intervals there is an arched door leading to the top of the wall. The walls are covered with many lookout holes，window embrasures and castellated crenels. Beacon towers were also built at fixed intervals for passing on military information. All these indicate the important role of the Great Wall in military defense.
As one of the most magnificent ancient defense works. the Great Wall is known as one of the wonders of the world. All tourists now know the saying，"You are not a real person until you have climbed the Great Wall.”
The Great Wall was put on the world cultural heritage list in 1987.
The Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace，also called The Forbidden City，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 completed l4 years later，having a history so far of some 600 years 1406 and Twenty-four emperors from the Ming andCling(1644一1911) dynasties lived and ruled China from there. Most of the buildings in theForbidden City were times，although they maintained the original architectural style.
The Forbidden City，extending 753 meters from east to west, and 961 meters from north to south，makes a rectangular shape and covers a total area of 720,000 square meters. It consists of several dozen compounds of varying sizes and some 9900 bays of rooms，with a total floor area of 150,000 square meters. Most of the buildings were built with wood， roofed witty yellow glazed tiles and built on blue-and-white stone foundations，looking solemn and brilliant. City walls are 10 meters high，and a 52 meter wide moat surrounds the Forbidden City. Three storied towers are placed at each corner of the wall.
The building arrangement within the Forbidden City is symmetrical. The Hall of SupremeHarmony，the Hall of Central Harmony and the Hall of Preserving Harmony, which comprise the outer palace， and the Hall of Heavenly Purity，the Hall of Union and the Hall of Earthly Tranquility, comprising the inner palace，stand in a line from south to north on the central axisThe 8 km central axis runs through the entire old Beijing city to Yongdiangmen in the southand Zhonggulou in the north.The throne symobolizing imperial power is positioned at the center of this central axis.
The buildings of the Forbidden City fully embody the artistic features and style of ancient Chinese palace architecture，and can be called a masterpiece in Chinese，even world，architectural history. Today, as the largest museum of cultural relics in China，the Forbidden City，also called the Palace Museum，collected and displayed some one million precious historical relics from the Shang Dynasty(16th century一771BC)through to the Cling Dynasty. It was made part of the world cultural heritage list in 1987.
The Summer Palace is located on the western edge of Beijing，between the fourth and fifth ring roads，close to the western hills，10km from central Beijing. It is the largest and best preserved imperial garden in China. Its Chinese name，Yi He Yuan，translates as“Garden for Maintaining Health and Harmony”.
As its name implies, the Summer Palace was used as a summer residence by China’s imperial rulers as a retreat from the main imperial palace now known as the PalaceMuseum or Forbidden City a pleasure ground in the countryside，yet near to the city.
The gardens that became the Summer Palace date from the Jin Dynasty (1115一1234 ). Later, the Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan(Yuan Dynasty，1279-1368), who wanted to improve Beijing’s water supply, ordered the construction of canals to transport water from the Western Hills to the Summer Palace. He also enlarged the lake(today's Kun Ming Lake)to act as a reservoir.
In 1750，Emperor Qian Long(1736一1796 )of the Qing Dynasty(1644一1911)added substantially to the gardens of the Summer Palace. His appointed designers reproduced the styles of various palaces and gardens from around China. Kun Ming Lake was extended to imitate the West Lake in Hangzhou.
In 1860，the Anglo-French Allied Forces invaded Beijing and set fire to many of the buildings with in the Summer Palace.
In 1886,Dowager Empress Ci Xi，with embezzled funds from the Imperial Navy，restored the grand gardens. The reconstruction and enlargement of the Summer Palace continued for ten years. After completion, she renamed the gardens‘Yi He Yuan'(Garden of Peace andHarmony)
In 1889, the Empress Dowager Ci Xi moved her administration to the renovated Yi He Yuan and the gardens that had long been an imperial pleasure ground became the primarySummer Palace.
A full-scale restoration began in 1903，and today's Summer Palace is more or less the same as the palace rebuilt from then.
After the success of the 1911 Revolution，the Summer Palace was opened to the public. Then，after the last Qing Emperor Pu Yi was thrown out of the Palaces in 1924，the Summer Palace was turned into a park. The Summer Palace has become a popular and relaxing destination for both domestic and international tourists now.
The Summer Palace was designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1998.
Temple of Heaven
The temple lies at the east of Inside Street Yongdingmen Gate， originally a place to worshipHeaven and pray far good harvest. Temple of Heaven is unique in architectural achievement It is majestic, sublime, harmonious with the cypress wood ，and grand，inviting a strong sense of lofty and farseeing， in addition to mystique snd affection. The total area of the temple is 273 hectares，three times to seven times larger than rorbidden City and near that of Summer palace. Two walls separate the temple into an outer court and an inner court.
The north wall is taller and semicircular. while the south wall is Power and rectangular . in accordance with the belief of “round heaven above square earth" and”lofty heaven and humble earth"
The primary buildings of the temple are in the inner part， which is again separated by a wall. In the north of this part is Altar of Prayer for Grain for spring ce remony, with Hall of Prayer forGood Harvest as the center. In the south is the huge Circular Mound Altar fo r worshippingHeaven on winter solstice. Linking the two parts is Danbi Bridge。 also referred to as Haiman Avenue，the axis of the complex sides with large woods of cypress.
Temple of Heaven and in December 1998 is among the first key cultural sites under state protection， the UNESCO inscribed it on World Heritages List.Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest， a marvelous building in the temple，is now one of the symbols of Beijing.
Terra Cotta Warriors
The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site,which is around 1.5 kilometers east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum, Lintong County,Shaanxi province.It is a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China.
The museum covers an area of 16,300 square meters,divided into three sections:No.1 Pit,No.2 Pit, and No.3 Pit respectively.They were tagged in the order of their discoveries.No.1 Pit is the largest, first opened to the public on China's National Day,1979.There are columns of soldiers at the front, followed by war chariots at the back.
No.2 Pit,found in 1976,is 20 meters northeast of No.1 Pit.It contained over a thousand warriors and 90 chariots of wood.It was unveiled to the public in 1994.Archeologists came upon No.3 Pit also in 1976,25 meters northwest of No.1 Pit.It looked like to be the command center of the armed forces.It went on display in 1989,with 68 warriors,a war chariot and four horses.
Altogether over 7,000 pottery soldiers,horses,chariots,and even weapons have been unearthed from these pits. Most of them have been restored to their former grandeur.
The Terracotta Warriors and Horses is a sensational archeological find of all times.It has put Xian on the map for tourists. It was listed by UNESCO in 1987 as one of the world cultural heritages.
The most famous attraction in Hangzhou is the West Lake. West Lake is man-made and created after Chinese people's love for recreational garden style parks.For ten centuries, it has always been regarded as the spiritual home by Chinese men of letters.Su Shi,a poet in the Song Dynasty,compared West Lake to Xi Zi,the most beautiful woman in ancient China.Ancient Chinese people praised the area around West Lake as a miraculous and beautiful land.In modern times,West Lake is taken as the pride of Hangzhou, and a perfect spot to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Jiuzhaigou National Park located in the Minshan Mountains in Sichuan Province is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Nowhere else in the world you will find a landscape shaped by water like Jiuzhaigou. Due to the differences in height and speed of water you will find 72,000 acres full of waterfalls, mountain lakes, rivers, and limestone cascades. Of these, probably the most famous are the 320m long Nuorilang waterfall and the Lake of the Five Flowers. The park is mostly covered by mixed forests and is home to the endangered giant pandas and the snub-nosed monkeys.
Huangshan, the Yellow Mountains in the Anhui province, are the most beautiful mountains in China and a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage site. China has a variety of impressive mountain scenes, including the holy mountains of Taoism and Chinese Buddhism. However, none of them causes such an overwhelming feeling of astonishment to visitors like the Yellow Mountains with their steep chasms. The mountains are covered with tens of thousands of ancient pine trees, which are home to over 500 species of animals, including monkeys. There are numerous hot springs and the region is the origin of many popular kinds of tea. It is said in China that someone who has seen these mountains, will have no more interest in other mountain ranges. The Huangshan mountain peaks, breaking through the cloudy sky, have not only created their particular school of painting, but they served also as inspiration for the floating mountains in the movie “Avatar”.
The region around Guilin, which is crossed by the Li River, is well-known for its incredible karst mountains covered by green forests, and it is probably the most famous river scenery in China. In addition, there are numerous underground lakes and caves, of which the Reed Flute Cave is the best known and contains thousands of stalagmites and stalactites. Likewise, the vast rice terraces of the Yao minority or the two pagodas in the Shanhu Lake offer an impressive view. A special feature of the region is the traditional cormorant fishing out from bamboo rafts. A sling is tied around the domesticated birds’ neck to prevent it from swallowing the fish after catching it. The bigger fish are then kept by the fishermen and only the smaller ones fed to the birds.
The Tibetan plateau with its average altitude of 4,500m above sea level is often referred to as roof top of the world. It is surrounded by the high mountains of the Himalayas, the Kunlun Mountains and the Qilian Mountains. Although the vegetation is sparse, life in this region includes unique animals such as the yak, musk deer, or black bear. It is particularly known for its incredible panoramic landscapes, which offer vast grassland, glaciers, salt lakes, and mountains. Since the Mongol rule Lamaism became Tibet’s main religion. It is as a special form of Buddhism and despite the numerous regulations you will find a large number of monasteries and a deep spirituality of the native Tibetans. The Tibetan cuisine is widely known in China for its special meat dishes and dairy products.
Hainan is the name China’s southern island province, which has been named after its main island and is often referred to as the “Chinese Hawaii”. It is particularly famous for its mild tropical climate, and the local temperature usually does not fall below 16 ° C - even in winter. The main island is by 60 % covered with jungle forests, which give home to the Hainan Gibbon. It is also framed by kilometers of white sandy beaches and has become one of China's most popular tourist destinations. Especially popular sides are the botanical garden and the Nanshan Park, which is dedicated to the 2,000 year-old Buddhist tradition of the island, and is topped by a 108m high Buddha statue that is rising against the sea.
The Taklamakan Desert covers about two-thirds of China's Xinjiang province, home of the Muslim Uyghur. It is the second largest sand desert in the world and literally translates into "place of no return". In it one may find kilometers long, up to 100m high sand dunes, which move with the wind. And from time to time devastating sandstorms brush over the desert. Since the Han Dynasty the famous Silk Road led around the Taklamakan Desert. Despite how hostile to life the desert itself may seem, today it is a popular destination for camel tours. Here you can experience the culture of the Uyghur minority, whose metal crafts, sweet pastries and mutton dishes are well known throughout China.