China

Attraction

Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor and the Terracotta Army

Since the accidental discovery of the Terracotta Army in the 1970s, the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor and the Terracotta Army have been one of the biggest topics in the areas of Chinese archaeology and history.


According to The Records of the Grand Historian: Annals of Qin Shi Huang, Qin Shi Huang instructed, right after he ascended the throne, the construction of his mausoleum. The construction process lasted for 39 years. The layout of the mausoleum was modelled on Xianyang, the capital city. The perimeter of the inner city is 2.5km and that of the outer city is 6.3km. The tomb, located in the southwest of the inner city, has not yet been excavated. 


According to current research, the mound of the Terracotta Army is 1km away from the east of the mausoleum. It is believed to have the purpose of protecting the emperor in his afterlife. The Terracotta Army today is in earth tone. Yet, when local villagers first found these earthen figures 2,000 years after their creation, the army’s clothes and weapons were still colourful. Due to oxidation, the colours faded out unfortunately within several minutes after excavation.


For decades, Chinese archaeologists have been arguing over whether to excavate the tomb of the First Qin Emperor. Some scholars believe that it should be excavated as soon as possible because the region is in the seismic zone; some dissidents argue that, however, the layout of the underground palace is not fully known, and archaeologists cannot handle a large-scale site with the existing techniques. Those who oppose the excavation further comment that it can result in a huge loss if the palace is excavated without a second thought, with the previous lesson of not being able to preserve the coloured lacquer finish of the Terracotta Army in early years.


The Great Wall

The construction of the Great Wall began in the Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period. Now, most of the better preserved Great Wall was built in the Ming dynasty. Therefore, the Great Wall, standing as the longest man-made structure in human civilisation, can be said as a masterpiece and a joint effort by many dynasties of ancient China.


The most famous part of the Great Wall shall be the section in Badaling, near Juyong Pass. Badaling section is the earliest section opened to the public and the best preserved. Also, as Badaling section is located in Beijing, many tourists pay a visit to this section of the Great Wall to be a “true man”.


Badaling in Juyong Pass is covered with dense vegetation. Therefore, the green section is considered as part of the “Yanjing Eight Views”, namely the "Emeralds of Juyong”.

Kulangsu

Kulangsu, or Gulangyu, is an island in Xiamen. In 1902, the Qing government signed an agreement with nine foreign powers to establish Kulangsu as an international settlement. 13 countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan, set up consulates one after another on the island. Many missionaries founded schools here too. Therefore, the area is also known as “World Architecture Exhibition”.


Since the millennium, Kulangsu has become one of the most popular spots for “hipsters” to “check-in” online. With the widespread online promotion, Kulangsu tourism is all the rage. There are more cafés, milk tea shops and boutiques for “hipsters”. In response to the increasing number of visitors, the authority first implemented crowd control in 2014. If you would like to visit the island during peak seasons for travel, you are advised to check the relevant information in advance.


The island of Kulangsu is less than 2km2 and is pedestrian-only. As vehicles are strictly prohibited, the locals go everywhere on the island on foot. Tourists may take electric tourist buggies to tour around. The traffic-free policy has contributed to the tranquillity and good air quality of the island. In 2017, “Kulangsu, a Historic International Settlement” was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Zhangjiajie

Zhangjiajie in Hunan province is renowned for its 3000 unique peaks and 800 beautiful rivers. It is a truly tourism city. Previous known as Dayong, the city was regrettably not as famous as the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. Therefore, it was renamed Zhangjiajie in 1994 and was developed into a tourism city. Apart from the blessed and unique landscape, Zhangjiajie is multi-ethnic. The city mainly consists of Tujia people, comprising almost 70% of the population. Many ethnic minorities such as Bai and Miao also live in Zhangjiajie. 


Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is the first national forest park in China. With Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve, Suoxi Valley Nature Reserve and Yangjiajie Scenic Area, they form Wulinyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area altogether. In addition to Wulinyuan, Tianmenshan Temple, Puguang Temple and Yuhuangdong Grotto in Yongding district are some of the famous tourist destinations in Zhangjiajie.


West Lake

West Lake was named in this way because it is located in the west of Hangzhou. As early as in the Tang dynasty, Bai Juyi mentioned “West Lake” in his poems. In the Northern Song dynasty, when Su Shi was the governor of Hangzhou, he referred to “West Lake” for the first time in official documents.


Scholars and literati in the Southern Song dynasty concluded ten beautiful landscapes in West Lake, known as “the Ten Scenes of West Lake”. To immerse yourself into the beauty of the ten scenes, you have to enjoy them respectively according to specific seasons, time and angles. For instance, enjoying “The Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake” from the boat in an autumn night; “Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge” appearing indistinctly on the surface of the lake in winter; “Leifeng Pagoda in Evening Glow” when the sun sets; listening to the echoes of the “Evening Bell at Nanping Hill” when night falls. To view all ten scenes, therefore, you definitely have to visit West Lake more than once.


Apart from Su Causeway, Leifeng Pagoda and Broken Bridge of the ten scenes, West Lake has many ancient buildings, temples as well as famous hills and waters. For example, Lingyin Temple, Bai Causeway, Yue Fei Temple and Solitary Hill are must-visit spots. 

The Bund of Shanghai

Since being classified as a British concession in 1844, the Bund has become the starting point of the modern urban development of Shanghai. As Shanghai became a trading port, the Bund gathered consulates, banks, corporates, newspaper agencies and hotels. In the early 20th century, previously constructed low-rise buildings were demolished and replaced by buildings which were highly luxurious at the time. In decades, the skyline of the Bund has been formed with many structures preserved to the present day.


Over 50 structures in different styles form the “exotic building clusters in the Bund of Shanghai”. Taking a walk around the Bund, it resembles a full lecture on architectural aesthetics – with eclecticism, modern Japanese-Western style, Victorian Gothic, classicism, Renaissance of different periods and more. 


With the continuous development of the Bund, it has become a popular tourist attraction. Many of Shanghai’s best restaurants, cafés, design studios and fashion stores are located in the Bund. Overlooking Pudong New Area from the Bund, the Oriental Pearl Tower, which is the iconic night view of modern Shanghai, will first come into sight.