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Places : China

Chinese maps  --Maps--         The Map below has hotspots - click or tap a red circle to see the travel photos for that city!

Map of china Guiyang Travel Photos Beijing Travel Photos Xi'an Travel Photos Chengdu Travel Photos
The People's Republic of China: Beijing

Great Wall Badaling Section

The Great Wall of China, an ancient defensive architecture, is one of the longest walls in the world. It is actually a construct of complicated interacting winding paths over rugged country and steep mountains, the total length exceeding 50,000km. The Great Wall is largely in ruins however several sections have been restored. The Badaling section of the Great Wall is the best preserved and the most popular one amongst all the sections.

This section is more than 1,000 meters (3281 ft) above sea level, and was in a strategic position for transportation and defense in ancient times. Badaling, literally meaning “reach eight directions”, got its name because the maze of its ridges stretches in all directions. The wall is easily accessible though steps are often a steep climb to towers.

About the Great Wall in general   information        and about the Badaling wall   information

Photos of the Badaling Section   photogallery

Great Wall Mutianyu Section

Mutianyu Great Wall was first built in Northern Qi (550-577). In Ming Dynasty, General Xu Da constructed the Great Wall on its former base. The Mutianyu Pass was built in 1404. The fortifications and the Great Wall here are featured by many watchtowers on overlapping mountain ranges. The wall, built with slabs of stone, is crenellated on both sides with bricks. The wall provides better protection and ward off attacks with Juyongguan in the west and Gubeikou in the east.

Mutianyu Great Wall works as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. It is a green section of the great wall in Beijing with vegetation, green pines and cypresses covering 90 per cent of the section. There are three ways to head up and down beside hiking on foot. The first is to go up by the cable car, the second is to use the toboggan and the third is to take a chair lift - take the chair lift!!

Want to know more?   information

Photos of the Mutianyu Section   photogallery

Tianamen Square

At the centre of Beijing City is Tiananmen Square which was the front door to the Forbidden City. Thousands of people come to the Square every day but it is so big that it still looks empty!

Look out for the granite Monument to the People's Heroes in the Square. At the north end of the Square is Tiananmen Tower which was initially built in 1417 during the Ming Dynasty (1368 AD- 1644 AD). West of the Square is the Great Hall of the People: the site of the China National People's Congress meetings. The Memorial Hall for Chairman Mao is at the south side of the Square: Mao's body lies in a crystal coffin in one of the three halls. The China National Museum is at the east side of the Square. The Five Star Red Flag-the Chinese national flag - is in the the Square and there is a flag-raising and lowering ceremony everyday.

The Square   history       and for times of the flag-raising and lowering ceremony   timetable

Photos of Tianamen Square   photogallery

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City has been the imperial palace for 24 emperors in the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911). For almost 500 years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of the Chinese government. Built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 720,000 m2 (7,800,000 sq ft). The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987. Since 1925 the Forbidden City has been under the charge of the Palace Museum.

The Forbidden City ceased being the political centre of China in 1912 with the abdication of Puyi, the last Emperor of China. Under an agreement with the new government, Puyi remained in the Inner Court until he was evicted after a coup in 1924; in 1925 the Forbidden City became the Palace Museum. In 1933, the Japanese invasion of China forced the evacuation of the national treasures from the Forbidden City.

Forbidden City   History       and to download a map of the Forbidden City   Map

Photos of the Forbidden City   photogallery

The Ming Tombs

In the Ming Tombs, located about 30 miles northwest of Beijing at the foot of the Tianshou Mountains, are the bodies of 13 of the 16 Ming Dynasty emperors. The first emperor to be buried here was Yongle who died in 1424. His tomb, Chang Ling, and that of Emperor Zhu Yijun, Ding Ling, who died in 1620, are the only two opened to visitors today. Emperor Yongle was significant in Chinese history as it was he who moved the capital from Nanjing to Beijing after its reconstruction. Yongle's tomb served as the model for future tombs.

One of the more impressive sights at the Ming Tombs is the Sacred Way which is a footpath about one kilometer long flanked on both sides by carvings of human and animal figures, as well as trees. You can see 12 large stone human figures and 24 animals all carved from single blocks of granite in 1435 during the 10th year of the reign of Emperor Xuan De. Make sure your tour includes the Sacred Way.

Want to know more about the Mings Tombs?   information

Photos of the Ming Tombs and the Sacred Way   photogallery

Beihai Park

Beihai Park, the oldest and best-preserved imperial garden in China, was first built during the Liao Dynasty(916-1125), rebuilt and renovated continually during the Jin(1115-1234), Yuan(1279-1368),Ming(1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties that followed, eventually becoming a landscaped garden park. A pleasure ground for the imperial family within the Imperial City it was built to be more magnificent than any imperial complex outside the capital. Beihai Park covers an area of ca 0.71 sq km (ca. 70 hectares), more than half the area is the lake in the middle of which is the Jade Flowery Islet that has the imposing White Dagoba - the landmark of Beihai Park

Park attractions: the White Dagoba and its Temple, the Hao Pu Creek and Quiet Heart Studio gardens, the Nine-Dragon Screen (the only screen having nine huge dragons on both sides), the Five-Dragon Pavilions (from a distance looks like a huge dragon) and the Circular City.

More about park attractions   attractions

Photos of Beihai Park   photogallery



The People's Republic of China: Xi'an

Terracotta Army Craft Workshop

Tours include a visit to a workshop mnaufacturing Terracotta Army figurines. Reputable tours companies do not make such a visit an opportunity for high pressure sales. It is worth visiting a reputable workshop; usually there is an english-speaking workshop tour guide who will provide an extensive tour of the workshop and is knowledgeable sufficiently to answer most questions tourists are likely to ask. Such a workshop is the China Terracotta Warrior Company near the location of the Terracotta Army Pits and museum.

They claim to be competitive on price and quality; they use the same clay and the same ancient kiln firing techniques used to make the originals - in that respect such figurines have a flavour of the originals. However, it is common for Terracotta Army figurines made from other types of clay or standard plaster, even plastic. For this reason do not buy from hawkers - his figurines were probably made in his garden shed!

About the China Terracotta Warrior Company   information     About Xi'an Da Qin Terracotta Art Factory   information

Photos taken in a Terracotta Army Craft Workshop   photogallery

Terracotta Army Pit #1

The Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses is 37km east of Xi'an city and to get there you need transport; the easiest way is to go with a tour company but if you want to spend a day there you will have to arrange your own transport there and back. Terra Cotta Pit #1 was discovered by local villagers in March 1974 who were drilling for wells on a piece of barren land. They found fragments of terracotta warriors and many bronze weapons. These discoveries received much attention and the State Administration of Cultural Heritage organized Shaanxi archaeologists to perform a full-scale excavation of the site.

There are over 6,000 terra cotta warriors and horses arranged composed of infantry and cavalry. The vanguard includes 210 foot soldiers divided equally into three lines. The cavalry and war chariot follow close in line, forming the main body of the battle formation.

About the museum   information      About Pit #1   information

Photos of Pit #1   photogallery

Terracotta Army Pit #2

The Pit No.2 in Xian Qin Terra Cotta Warriors Museum is located 22 yards to the northeast of Terra Cotta Pit No.1. Covering an area of 7,176 square yards, Pit 2 is L-shaped, measuring 136 yards from east to west, 107 yards from north to south, and sixteen feet deep.

The bronze swords unearthed in Pit 2 measure 86cm (34 inches) long and are carved with eight symmetrical facets. Buried for over 2,000 years, they are still very sharp and smooth. What's more surprising is that the pliability of these bronze swords is extraordinarily good. One of the swords was found bent with a 331 pound terracotta warrior on top of it. When the heavy warrior figure was removed, the sword slowly returned to its original shape

About Pit #2   information

Photos of Pit #2   photogallery

Terracotta Army Pit #3

Experts have pointed out that Pit 3 is the command center or headquarters for all the groups in the other two pits. The unearthed artifacts include 68 terracotta warriors, four horses and one chariot all arranged in a layout that is quite unique. There is a slopping passageway in the east and upon entering it, you will face a chariot and horse chamber where there is a single war chariot. This chariot and horse chamber has two corridors on the two sides. A wing room is located to the west of the left corridor. To the west of the right corridor, there are antehall and back room. All the 68 warrior figures stand orderly along the two sides of the passageways.

Archeologists are excited at finding remarkably preserved bronze weaponry as well as gold, stone and bronze decorations in the pit. Most of weapons used in actual combat such as bronze spears, bronze swords, crossbows and arrowheads are well preserved.

About Pit #3   information

Photos of Pit #3   photogallery

The Bell Tower

The Bell Tower stands at the crossing of the East, West, South, and North avenues in the city centre. The tower was originally built in 1348, toward the end of the Yuan Dynasty, and was moved to the present site in 1552, during the Ming Dynasty. It was rebuilt and enlarged during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). There used to be a huge iron bell hung in the tower, which was used to strike the hours. After the bell fell from its operating position it was placed on the northwest corner of base.

The bell tower is a wooden structure topped with dark green tiles. It is a grand ancient building with traditional Chinese architectural features. The Bell Tower is beautifully lit at night. From the top the Bell Tower, visitors can get a bird's eye view of the surrounding areas and the building's brightly-decorated eaves.

Want to know more about the Bell Tower?   information

Photos of the Bell Tower   photogallery

The Drum Tower

The Drum Tower is located near the Bell Tower and is of a similar structure. The Drum Tower, erected in 1380 during the Ming Dynasty, was so named because it had a huge drum hung in it. The bell in the Bell Tower was sounded at dawn to start the day and the drum in the Drum Tower was beaten at sunset to end the day. On the outside of the Drum Tower at ground level hang many large drums each decorated with Chinese writing. Visitors are not allowed to beat any of them however there is a drum near the front entrance where visitors can try or pose for a picture for a small fee (as usual!).

Inside the Drum Tower is a drum museum, where a variety of drums are on display, some of which can be dated back a thousands years. A drum show is performed here everyday. The top of the tower commands a panoramic view of the city and is well worth the climb up.

Want to know more about the Drum Tower?   information

Photos of the Drum Tower   photogallery



The People's Republic of China: Chengdu

Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Centre

Research at the Chengdu Panda Base focuses on the advancement of wildlife conservation in China. Research areas include reproduction, nutrition, veterinary medicine and behavior. Advances in these fields enable the provision of optimal care for the captive populations. Goals of the Base: (a) scientific research on wild pandas, (b) increase the wild population through improved management and (c) the re-population of areas where populations have declined.

As of 2005, the Chengdu Panda Base received 59 awards for scientific achievements from the Chinese State Government, Sichuan Provincial Government, and Chengdu Municipal Government. The Base is noted for its breakthroughs in captive breeding such as artificial insemination and helping twins to survive.

The Panda Research Centre Website (English version)   View Site

Photos of the Pandas   photogallery

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The People's Republic of China: Guiyang

Qingyan Walled Town

Qingyan Ancient Town, in the Guizhou Province about 29 kilometers in the south suburb of Guiyang City, was built in the Ming Dynasty (1368- A.D.-1644 A.D.); its surrounding wall was built by laying large slab rocks that divide the city into internal and external cities, with watching towers, turrets and crenels on the wall.

In the town are 9 monasteries, 8 temples, 5 pavilions, 3 caves, 2 shrines, a courtyard and artistically carved stone memorial archways. There is a Christian church and a Catholic Church. The town has roads paved with blue lime-stones and long narrow lanes. The main street is lined both sides with shops some of which cater for the tourist and there are plenty of places to eat.

Want to know more about Qingyan Ancient Town?   information

Photos of Qingyan Walled Town   photogallery

Chinese Market

The main shopping streets in Guiyang are Zhonghua Lu and Yan'an Lu. Department stores are mainly situated on Zhonghua Lu, the busiest commercial street in Guiyang. The Yan'an Lu is the place for finding small goods stores and features the night market - the Youzha Jie Bird and Antique Market.

The market merchandise is varied and includes flowers, birds, fish, cats, dogs, bamboo crafts and antique coins. There is food and drink for purchase. A lot of chinese old-world style market stalls can be found here.

Shopping in Guiyang   information        and to see a video of the Chinese market   Market video

Photos of the Chinese Market   photogallery

City Buildings

Guiyiang, the third largest city in Western China and the provincial capital city of the Guizhou Provinces, has a population over 2 million and is the political, economical, cultural, educational, financial and transportaional center of the Guizhou province. It is noted for the large number of skyscraper buildings and the variety of architecture.

The tallest building in Guiyang is the Kempinski Hotel , 695 feet high. It is well worth a tour round the city just to see the buildings.

About the skyscrapers   information        and an interactive map of the skyscrapers   Interactive map

About the Jiaxiu Pavilion   information

Photos of Guiyang City Buildings   photogallery

Life in Guiyang

Guiyang is renowned for its variety in cultures because it is home to more than 30 minority ethnic groups including Miao, Buyi, Dong and Hui, etc. so that the city abounds with unique folk culture and traditions that give rise to many colorful ethnic minority activities.

In ancient times the city was surrounded by dense bamboo groves and was famous for producing a musical instrument known as Zhu - hence Guiyang is known also as Zhu. Tea is popular to the people of Guiyang. Jiaxiu Pavilion, a 16th century structure considered the "symbol of Guiyang", and located in the heart of the city, now serves as a tea house.

View a video of life in Guiyang   Video

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The People's Republic of China: Shanghai

Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Centre

Research at the Chengdu Panda Base focuses on the advancement of wildlife conservation in China. Research areas include reproduction, nutrition, veterinary medicine and behavior. Advances in these fields enable the provision of optimal care for the captive populations. Goals of the Base: (a) scientific research on wild pandas, (b) increase the wild population through improved management and (c) the re-population of areas where populations have declined.

As of 2005, the Chengdu Panda Base received 59 awards for scientific achievements from the Chinese State Government, Sichuan Provincial Government, and Chengdu Municipal Government. The Base is noted for its breakthroughs in captive breeding such as artificial insemination and helping twins to survive.

The Panda Research Centre Website (English version)   View Site

Photos of the Pandas   photogallery

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