When you think of holidays in China, what do you think of? What is your first thought? The Great Wall of China, maybe or the Terracotta Army? There are so many things to see in this vast country so here’s a summary of the best attractions that a China holiday has to offer.
Let’s start with the obvious and the ancient: the Great Wall of China, a unique structure that is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World and that snakes through the mountains of China for over 4,500 miles. The first parts of the wall were built over 2,000 years ago and a major rebuilding took place during the Ming Dynasty. It is built in a broad east to west line across the historical north of China to protect against attacks and invasions. The Great Wall of China can be visited at many places along its length and its condition ranges from excellent to ruined. The most popular sites can be visited in one day starting from Beijing and is the absolute do-not-miss of your holiday in China.
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty and is so called because it was forbidden for commoners to enter. The largest royal complex in the world, it was constructed over a fourteen year period, from 1407 to 1420, and was the home and centre of government for 24 emperors of China. It is located in the exact centre of Beijing and now houses the Palace Museum.
The Terracotta Army is the next must-see of your China holiday. It is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210-209BC and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife. Current estimates are that, in the pits containing the Terracotta Army, there are over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried. The Qin Shi Huang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum is located approximately 22 miles east of Xian, the capital of the Shaanxi province, and is about an hour’s flight from Beijing.
Another stop on your holiday in China should be the Mogao Caves, also known as the Caves of a Thousand Buddhas. These are a system of 492 temples that contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of 1,000 years. The first caves were dug out as places of meditation and worship and are strategically located at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road, in Gansu province, about 16 miles south of Dunhaung.
Finally, in this brief summary of Chine holiday attractions, you could visit the Leshan Giant Buddha, a 233 foot tall stone statue built during the Tang dynasty. It is carved out of a cliff face that lies at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in the southern part of the Sichuan province.
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