Pingyao, or “Turtle City,” in Shanxi Province, southwest of Beijing, is an ancient city with a fully-preserved fortification wall. Pingyao Ancient Town, whose historical buildings from the Ming Dynasty have been remarkably preserved, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ornate bell tower is particularly well-known.
With its long, white sandy beaches and crystal clear water, the Pingtan archipelago offers ideal conditions for a relaxing beach holiday. Numerous reefs invite you to dive. The main island of Haitan (also known as Pingtan Island), which is connected to the mainland by a prestressed concrete bridge, is particularly popular with surfers.
- Educationvv: Provides school and education information in China covering middle school, high school and college education.
Hangzhou is one of the seven ancient Chinese capitals. It was described by Marco Polo as “the most beautiful and grandest city in the world”. Today, Hangzhou is a prosperous industrial and agricultural center that is still appreciated by visitors for its beauty. The silk factories and the zoo are worth seeing. The area around the West Lake is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, where you can stroll between weeping willows and peach trees, beautifully curved bridges, rock gardens and colorful pagodas.
Evening city tour
Like most people in East Asia, the Chinese also like things bright, colorful and flashing. Especially in the big cities such as Xi’an and Shanghai, the high-rise buildings are brightly lit in the evening hours, which makes an evening city tour a particularly impressive experience.
Shanghai is China’s leading industrial, commercial and shopping center. There is an interesting old town, busy port facilities, beautiful gardens and parks, museums, palaces, pagodas and temples to admire. Of particular note is the Bund, a 2.6 km long waterfront promenade on the east bank of the Huangpu River across from the Pudong business district. One of the most famous Buddhist temples in Shanghai is the Jade Buddha Temple, built to house two precious white jade Buddha statues adorned with precious stones.
The Chinese capital Beijing (Beijing) consists of three interlocking rectangles. The innermost rectangle is the Forbidden City, formerly the residence of the Ming and Qing Emperors. Parks and the residences of senior government officials are located in the middle rectangle. In the outer rectangle are the suburbs, the markets and the old residential areas. The Imperial Palace in the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Mei Shan (“Coal Hill”), the Beihai Park and the Summer Palace on Lake Kunming are definitely worth seeing. Tiananmen Square (»Tiananmen Square«) is the largest public square in the world.
Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province and an important agricultural center. Worth seeing are the shrines from the Tang Dynasty, old parks and bamboo forests, Buddhist temples and an ancient Buddhist monastery. Chengdu is the starting point for trips to Emei Shan, one of China’s four sacred Buddhist mountains, and to the Leshan Buddha, which at 71m is the world’s tallest Buddha sculpture. In the north of the city there is a breeding station for panda bears, one of the national symbols of China.
Luoyang and Kaifeng
Near the industrial city of Zhengzou, the hub of the region, are the cities of Luoyang and Kaifeng, former capitals of old dynasties and therefore of historical interest. Near Luoyang are the Longmen Caves (“Dragon Caves”), which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are over 1300 caves with over 2100 grottos and rock niches, several pagodas, countless inscriptions, around 100,000 Buddha statues and images and a 5th century Buddha shrine.
13 of the 16 emperors of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) are buried in the Ming tombs near Beijing. Two tombs have been uncovered, including Ding Ling, the tomb of Emperor Wanli, which is open to visitors. The oldest tomb is the imposing Changling Mausoleum of Emperor Yongle, the builder of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The Ming Tombs are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Once the capital of China, Nanjing is beautifully situated on the banks of the Yangtze River and at the foot of Zijinshan (Purple Mountain). Buried here is Zhu Yuanzhang, the founder of the Ming Dynasty and the only Ming emperor to be buried outside of Beijing. Remains of the city wall from this period can still be seen. The mausoleum of China’s first president, Dr. Sun Yatsen, it’s also here. Also worth seeing are the Yangtze River Bridge and the Purple Mountain Observatory.
Shilin Stone Forest
The whimsical limestone formations of the Shilin Stone Forest, about 80 km southeast of Kunming in Yunnan Province, are one of the most famous sights in southeast China (website: www.chinastoneforest.com ). In the karst landscape there are sculptures up to 30 m high, which were formed from the limestone over time. Overall, the area covers an area of 350 square kilometers and consists of the Great Stone Forest, the Naigu Stone Forest, the Changhu Lake and the Great Waterfall.