Here is a quick review of some of China's best known landmarks, natural and built structures that speak of history and culture.
1. Great Wall
Probably the most famous landmark in China is the Great Wall, the symbol of the Chinese nation and the wisdom of ancient Chinese people. However, contrary to what many people believe, the wall was not one great concept designed by one person to be built across China. Begun in the 5th century BC, the wall was built in disparate sections over many years by people in different areas wanting to defend their territory from invaders. Today, there are parts of the wall that stand in ruin, while other parts are more easily accessible and draw scores of visitors. The Great Wall of defense, for instance, begins in the east from the Shanghaiguan Pass and ends at the Jiayuguan Pass in the west. It passes through 15 provinces and is 21196.18 km long.
The Great Wall is one of the great wonders of the world, and was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.
2. Forbidden City
The Forbidden City is located in the central axis of Beijing. It was the royal palace for the country's emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is the largest and the most complete ancient wooden-structure building complex in the world, measuring 960 meters from north to south and 750 meters from east to west and covers 720,000 square meters. In 1987, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization recognized it as a World Culture Legacy.
3. Yangtze River
The Yangtze River is the longest river in China and in Asia. It is also the third longest river in the world. Flowing through 9 provinces, it is over 6,300 kilometers long. The basin area of 180 square kilometers represents about 18.8% of the land area of this country. About one-fifth of the country's territory is home in that area to one third of its population and contains one quarter of its arable land — producing 70 percent of the nation's rice. It and the Yellow River are referred to as China's "mother river," the cradle of Chinese civilization.
4. Lhasa, Tibet
The seat of Tibetan Buddhism, Lhasa is known for its long history, stark natural beauty among the high mountains, Tibetan culture, and many temples and traditional holy places. It is particularly known for the Potala Palace with an architectural history even more remote than that of the Forbidden City. Temples include the three temples of shamanism (Gandan, Drepung, and Sera), the Jokhang Temple and the Norbulingka Temple. Then, there is the magnificent natural beauty of the area, with its magical Namtso Lake and the romantic Yambajan hot springs.
5. The Bund
The Bund in Shanghai is a wide boulevard of about 1.5 km along the bank of the Huangpu River that showcases a collection of European style architecture – a symbol of Shanghai's historical cosmopolitanism. If Beijing represents the traditional cultures of China's Ming and Qing dynasties, then Shanghai represents China's modern city, beginning from the early 20th century. A fascinating view from the Bund is Pudong, directly across the river and featuring ultra-modern late 20th century and current 21st century construction. The two adjacent areas provide lovers of architecture plenty to explore and appreciate.
Do you want to know more about famous Chinese landmarks? Attend our Chinese culture course to learn more about it!