Travel in China



The Potala Palace (Tibetan: པོ་ཏ་ལ, Wylie: Po ta la, ZYPY: Bodala) in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. It is now a museum and World Heritage Site.
after one of his spiritual advisers, Konchog Chophel (died 1646), pointed out that the site was ideal as a seat of government, situated as it is between Drepung and Sera monasteries and the old city of Lhasa. It may overlay the remains of an earlier fortress called the White or Red Palace, on the site built by Songtsän Gampo in 637.
The building measures 400 metres east-west and 350 metres north-south, with sloping stone walls averaging 3 m. thick, and 5 m. (more than 16 ft) thick at the base, and with copper poured into the foundations to help proof it against earthquakes. Thirteen stories of buildings—containing over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and about 200,000 statues—soar 117 metres (384 ft) on top of Marpo Ri, the "Red Hill", rising more than 300 m (about 1,000 ft) in total above the valley floor.
Tradition has it that the three main hills of Lhasa represent the "Three Protectors of Tibet". Chokpori, just to the south of the Potala, is the soul-mountain (Wylie: bla ri) of Vajrapani, Pongwari that of Manjusri, and Marpori, the hill on which the Potala stands, represents Avalokiteśvara.
The Terracotta Army or the "Terracotta Warriors and Horses" 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 210–209 BCE and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife.
The figures, dating from approximately the late third century BCE, were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong District, Xi'an, Shaanxi province. The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots and horses. Estimates from 2007 were that the three pits containing the Terracotta Army held more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which remained buried in the pits nearby Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum. Other terracotta non-military figures were found in other pits, including officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians.
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe. Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century bce; these, later joined together and made bigger and stronger, are now collectively referred to as the Great Wall. Especially famous is the wall built 220–206 bce by Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. Little of that wall remains. Since then, the Great Wall has on and off been rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced; the majority of the existing wall is from the Ming Dynasty.
Other purposes of the Great Wall have included border controls, allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration. Furthermore, the defensive characteristics of the Great Wall were enhanced by the construction of watch towers, troop barracks, garrison stations, signaling capabilities through the means of smoke or fire, and the fact that the path of the Great Wall also served as a transportation corridor.
The Great Wall stretches from Dandong in the east, to Lop Lake in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia. A comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has concluded that the Ming walls measure 8,850 km (5,500 mi). This is made up of 6,259 km (3,889 mi) sections of actual wall, 359 km (223 mi) of trenches and 2,232 km (1,387 mi) of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers. Another archaeological survey found that the entire wall with all of its branches measure out to be 21,196 km (13,171 mi).
The Temple of Heaven , literally the Altar of Heaven (simplified Chinese: 天坛; traditional Chinese: 天壇; pinyin: Tiāntán; Manchu: Abkai mukdehun), is a medieval complex of religious buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. It has been regarded as a Daoist temple, although Chinese heaven worship, especially by the reigning monarch of the day, predates Daoism.
Zhangjiajie is a region of China beloved for its magnificent natural beauty. One of the most fascinating national parks in the world, Zhangjiajie served as the visual inspiration for the other-worldly landscape featured in the blockbuster film, Avatar. From the more than 3,100 immense quartzite sandstone pillars reaching to the clouds (some over 2,600 feet tall) to the pastoral streams flowing beneath to the verdant forests throughout, Zhangjiajie is truly a must-visit destination in China for any traveler.
The main attraction in Zhangjiajie is the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site noted for its lush vegetation, unique sandstone pillars, pristine waters and a wide variety of flora and fauna. Wulingyuan contains three major sites: Zhangjiajie Forest Park, Suoxi Vale, and Tianzi Mountain, covering a total of 153 square miles.
Zhangjiajie also is an energetic tourist city. Nine percent of the city, or about 190 square miles, has been zoned as a provincial national scenic spot and natural protection zone. The area also features scenic spots and historical sites such as Puguang Temple (a combined sanctuary of Buddhism and Taoism, built in 1413), Yuhuang Dong Rock Cave, and the former residence of renowned Helong and Duxin’s.
Jiuzhai Valley National Park is home to nine Tibetan villages, over 220 bird species as well as a number of endangered plant and animal species, including the giant panda, Sichuan golden monkey, the Sichuan takin and numerous orchids and rhododendrons.
Jiuzhai Valley is locally known as Jiuzhaigou (Chinese for “Nine Village Valley”). It is a national park located in the Min Shan mountain range, Northern Sichuan in South Western China. It is best known for its fabled blue and green lakes, spectacular waterfalls, narrow conic karst land forms and its unique wildlife. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992; the park joined the Man and Biosphere Conservation Network in 1997 and has also received IUCN and ISO 14,001 accreditations.
It is China’s premier national park and is located at elevations ranging between 1,990m (6,529 feet) to 4,764m (15,630 feet) above sea level. Located on the edge of the Tibetan Himalayan Plateau in Northern Sichuan Province it is easily accessible by direct flights from Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Chengdu, Chongqing and Hangzhou. Jiuzhai Valley provides spectacular scenery throughout the year making it one of China’s most treasured scenic sites.