Beijing Overview: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/beijing.htm
Located at the center of Beijing City is Tiananmen Square, where you can visit
Tiananmen Tower, Monument to the People's Heroes, Great Hall of the People, Mao
Zedong Memorial Hall and see the national flag raising ceremony. Thousands of people
come to the Square every day. It is the must place to visit in Beijing City.
At the north end of the Square is Tiananmen
Tower. Initially built in 1417 during the Ming
Dynasty (1368 A.D.--1644 A.D.), the Square was
the front door of the Forbidden City. The most
important use of it in the past was to declare in a
big ceremony to the common people who
became the emperor and who became the
empress. Until 1911 when the last feudal
kingdom was over, no one could enter the Tower
except for the royal family and aristocrats.
The granite Monument to the People's Heroes is just
at the center of the Tiananmen Square. Built in 1952,
it is the largest monument in China's history. "The
People's Heroes are Immortal" written by Chairman
Mao is engraved on the monument. Eight unusually
large relief sculptures show to the people the
development of Chinese modern history. Two rows
of white marble railings enclose the monument,
simple and beautiful.
crystal lamps hang from the ceiling. The Great
Auditorium behind the Central Hall seats 10,000. The Banqueting Hall is a huge hall with
Mao Zedong Memorial Hall is at the south
side of the Square. This Hall is divided into
three halls and our dear Chairman Mao's
body lies in a crystal coffin in one of the halls
surrounded by fresh bouquets of various
famous flowers and grasses..
Another important place for the tourist to
visit is the China National Museum at the
east side of the Square. It just came into existence in 2003 and is a combination of
Chinese History Museum and Chinese Revolutionary Museum. This National Museum
faces the Great Hall of the People. Inside the Chinese Revolutionary Museum are a lot of
material objects, pictures, books and models to present the development of modern China.
The Chinese History Museum shows a large number of cultural relics illustrating the long
history and glorious culture of China from 1,700,000 years ago to 1921 when the last
emperor left the throne.
Five Star Red Flag-the Chinese national flag, flies high in the sky above the Square. To
West of the Square is the Great Hall of the People. This building, erected in 1959, is the
site of the China National People's Congress meetings and provides an impressive site for
other political and diplomatic activities.Twelve marble posts are infront of the Hall which
has three parts--the Central Hall, the Great
Auditorium and a Banqueting Hall. The floor
of the Central Hall is paved with marble and
see the guard of honor raise the Flag is a
must for the tourist visiting Beijing City. You
have to get up very early and arrive at the
Square before sunrise. Only by doing so can
you see the ceremony clearly as there are
crowds of people attending the ceremony
The present Tiananmen Square has an area of
440,000 square meters and has become a relaxing place for the common people to fly
kites and walk. On a holiday, the whole square is covered with fresh flowers.
Lying at the center of Beijing, the Forbidden City, called Gu Gong, in Chinese, was the
imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Now known as the Palace Museum,
it is to the north of Tiananmen Square. Rectangular in shape, it is the world's largest
palace complex and covers 74 hectares. Surrounded by a six meter deep moat and a ten
meter high wall are 9,999 buildings. The wall has a gate on each side. Opposite the
Tiananmen Gate, to the north is the Gate of Devine Might (Shenwumen), which faces
Jingshan Park. The distance between these two gates is 960 meters, while the distance
between the gates in the east and west walls is 750 meters. There are unique and
delicately structured towers on each of the four corners of the curtain wall. These afford
views over both the palace and the city outside.
The Forbidden City is divided into two parts. The southern section, or the Outer Court
was where the emperor exercised his supreme power over the nation. The northern
section, or the Inner Court was where he lived with his royal family. Until 1924 when the
last emperor of China was driven from the Inner Court, fourteen emperors of the Ming
dynasty and ten emperors of the Qing dynasty had reigned here. Having been the imperial
palace for some five centuries, it houses numerous rare treasures and curiosities. Listed
by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1987, the Palace Museum is now one
of the most popular tourist attractions world wide.
Construction of the palace complex began in
1407, the 5th year of the Yongle reign of the
third emperor of the Ming dynasty. It was
completed fourteen years later in 1420. It was
said that a million workers including one
hundred thousand artisans were driven into
the long-term hard labor. Stone needed was
quarried from Fangshan, a suburb of Beijing.
It was said a well was dug every fifty meters
along the road in order to pour water onto the road in winter to slide huge stones on ice
into the city. Huge amounts of timber and other materials were freighted from faraway
provinces. Ancient Chinese people displayed their very considerable skills in building the
Forbidden City. Take the grand red city wall
for example. It has an 8.6 meters wide base
reducing to 6.66 meters wide at the top. The
angular shape of the wall totally frustrates
attempts to climb it. The bricks were made
from white lime and glutinous rice while the
cement is made from glutinous rice and egg
whites. These incredible materials make the
wall extraordinarily strong.
Since yellow is the symbol of the royal
family, it is the dominant color in the
Forbidden City. Roofs are built with yellow glazed tiles; decorations in the palace are
painted yellow; even the bricks on the ground are made yellow by a special process.
However, there is one exception. Wenyuange, the royal library, has a black roof. The
reason is that it was believed black represented water then and could extinguish fire.
Nowadays, the Forbidden City, or the Palace Museum is open to tourists from home and
abroad. Splendid painted decoration on these royal architectural wonders, the grand and
deluxe halls, with their surprisingly magnificent treasures will certainly satisfy "modern
Temple of Heaven:
The Temple of Heaven is a worthwhile visiting place in
Beijing. It is much bigger than the Forbidden City and
smaller than the Summer Palace with an area of about
2,700,000 square meters. The Temple was built in 1420
A.D. during the Ming Dynasty to offer sacrifice to
Heaven. As Chinese emperors called themselves "The
Son of Heaven" ,they dared not to build their own
dwelling,"Forbidden City" bigger than a dwelling for
The Temple of Heaven is enclosed with a long wall. The northern part within the wall is
semicircular symbolizing the heavens and the southern part is square symbolizing the
earth. The northern part is higher than the southern part. This design shows that the
heaven is high and the earth is low and the design reflected an ancient Chinese thought of
"The heaven is round and the earth is square".
The Temple is divided by two enclosed walls into inner part and outer part. The main
buildings of the Temple lie at the south and north ends of the middle axis line of the inner
part. The most magnificent buildings are The Circular Mound Altar (Yuanqiutan),
Imperial Vault of Heaven (Huangqiongyu) and Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest
(Qiniandian) from south to north. Also, there are some additional buildings like Three
Echo Stones and Echo Wall. Almost all of the buildings are connected by a wide bridge
called Vermilion Steps Bridge (Danbiqiao) or called Sacred Way.
The Circular Altar has three layered terraces with white marble. During the Ming and
Qing Dynasties (1368 A.D. - 1911 A.D.), the emperors would offer sacrifice to Heaven
on the day of the Winter Solstice every year. This ceremony was to thank Heaven and
hope everything would be good in the future.
The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest is a big palace with round roof and three layers of
eaves. Inside the Hall are 28 huge posts. The four posts along the inner circle represent
four seasons-spring, summer, autumn and winter; the 12 posts along the middle circle
represent the 12 months; and 12 posts along the outer circle represent 12 Shichen
(Shichen is a means of counting time in ancient China. One Shichen in the past equaled
two hours and a whole day was divided into 12 Shichens). The roof is covered with black,
yellow and green colored glaze representing the heavens, the earth and everything on
earth. The Hall has a base named Altar for Grain Prayers which is made of three layers of
white marble and has a height of six meters.
The well-preserved sections of the Great Wall in Beijing are China's most famous tourist
site. These sections are mainly the remains from the Ming Dynasty, an era of tremendous
construction. The wall runs across the northern part of Beijing for over six hundred
kilometers with various passes and towers. The mainly sections include Badaling,
Simatai, Jinshanling, Mutianyu, Gubeikou, Huanghuacheng and Jiankou.
You really have to see this fantastic, amazing and breath-taking scenery once in your life.
But remember to ask yourself what kind of scenery you want to see before you pack,
because the scenery varies depending on which section you visit.
Simatai Great Wall 3
Jinshanling Great Wall 4
Gubeikou Great Wall 5
Mutianyu Great Wall 8
Jiankou Great wall (Arrow
Huanghuacheng Great Wall 10
Juyongguan Pass 13
Badaling Great Wall 14
Shui Guan (Water Pass)
Badaling isthe section where most tourists go. The wall is famous for its completeness,
imposing structures and the famous Juyonguan Pass. Most pictures publicized on guide
books, brochures and magazines are taken in this section. But you may find yourself
being pushed forward by crowds on top of wall in holidays or peak reasons. The Mutianyu
section in Huairou County, seventy kilometers northeast of Beijing is a good alternative.
Not yet resorted to the level of Badaling and Mutianyu, the wall in Jinshanling, Simatai
and Gubeikou is a bit smaller and narrower than that in Badaling. Upon hiking on these
sections, you can find much more of the genuine bricks, and fortifications left behind
from ancient times. Here you can get a real glimpse at the ancient history of China.
Group tours arranged by travel agencies often have Badaling, Mutainyu, Simatai and
sometimes Jinshanling on their itinerary.
In recent years, the Great Wall in Huanghuacheng and Jiankou (Arrow Nock), about twenty-
nine kilometers northwest of Huairou city has become an ideal choice for hiking lovers
and adventurers. The section has steep precipices on either side, a reservoir and charming
wide flowers. It is a section of the great wall off the beaten track. Be sure to pack
necessary clothes, sports foot wares, drinking water and a flash light. This section is for
No matter which section you visit, this magnificent engineering achievement tells you the
history of China.
50 kilometers northwest from Beijing City lies the Ming Tombs - the general name given
to the mausoleums of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). The mausoleums
have been perfectly preserved, as has the necropolis of each of the many emperors.
Because of its long history, palatial and integrated architecture, the site has a high cultural
and historic value. The layout and arrangement of all thirteen mausoleums are very
similar but vary in size as well as in the complexity of their structures.
It was originally built only as Changling, the tomb of Emperor Zhuli and his empresses.
This is the most magnificent of the tombs. The succeeding twelve emperors had their
tombs built around Changling.
Only the Changling and Dingling tombs are open to the public. Changling, the chief of
the Ming Tombs, is the largest in scale and is completely preserved. The total internal
area of the main building is 1956 square meters. There are 32 huge posts, and the largest
measures about 14 meters in height.It inhumes Emperor Zhuli, the fourth son of Emperor
Zhu Yuanzhang. Travel China Guide recommends the Lingsi Palace in its second yard as
really deserving a visit. This is unique as it is the only huge palace made of camphor
wood. It covers about 1956 square meters. The ceiling is colorfully painted and supported
by sixteen solid camphor posts. The floor was decorated with gold bricks.
Unlike Changling, Dingling is under ground and about 27 meters deep. It is the
mausoleum of Emperor Zhu Yijun, the thirteenth emperor who occupied the throne the
longest during the Ming Dynasty, and his two empresses. The main features are the Stone
Bridge, Soul Tower, Baocheng and the Underground Place, which was unearthed
between 1956 and 1958. The entire palace is made of stone. The Soul Tower is symbolic
of the whole of Dingling and it forms the entrance to the underground chambers. The
yellow glazed tiles; eaves, archway, rafters and columns are all sculptured from stone,
and colorfully painted. The entire
construction is stable and beautiful!
Served by three stone doors, it is divided
into three Halls consisting of five high
palaces - the front, the middle, the rear, the
left and the right palaces. The Gate of the
Tomb, the Gate of Eminent Favor and the
Lingxing Gate all have the same structural
The front hall, considered the square of the
Palace, has no building within it. No special artifacts remain in either the left and right
palaces that are about 7 meters high, six meters wide, and 26 meters long. However, each
has a centrally placed white marble coffin bed, the surface of which is covered with gold
bricks. On each bed there is a square hole filled with loess. This is the so-called "Gold
Well". A paved path leads to the central hall where there are three white marble thrones.
Incense, candles and flowers were set in front of the thrones. Before each of them, there
are glazed 'Five Offerings' and a blue china jar that would have been filled with sesame
oil to be used for lamps. The rear hall is the main and biggest part of the Palace. The
coffins of Emperor Zhu Yijun and his two empresses are in this palace. There are also
some precious items displayed with these coffins; among them is the gold imperial crown,
one of the world's most rare treasures.
Xi'An Overview: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/xian.htm
Banpo Neolithic Museum:
The Neolithic Village of Banpo is a very nice example of the Yangshao
Culture in the Neolithic Age. The remains of this village are located on the
eastern bank of the Chanhe River and in the eastern suburb of Xian, about
nine kilometers from the center of the city.
These were discovered accidentally in 1953. It is estimated that the village
covered an area of 50,000 square meters. 5 excavations between 1953 and
1957 have unearthed about a fifth of the total village (about 10,000 square
meters). In 1958 the onsite Banpo Museum was opened.
The Banpo Museum mainly consists of two exhibition
halls and a large site hall. Upon entering the museum,
you will see the first exhibition hall in the front, where
the production tools are shown, including axe, chisel,
sickle, stone and pottery knives and others. They were
made smoothly by grinding and polishing. Moving
forward, you will reach the second room where a number
of fine and elegant potteries, utensils are shown. The
large-scale site hall in the back of the museum covers the
well-preserved primitive village remains with examples
of houses, cellars and burial sites.
Ancient City Walls:
When Zhu Yuanzhang, the first Emperor of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), captured
Huizhou, a hermit named Zhu Sheng admonished him that he should "built high walls,
store abundant food supplies and take time to be an Emperor," so that he could fortify the
city and unify the other states. After the establishment of the Ming dynasty, Zhu
Yuanzhang followed his advice and began to enlarge the wall built initially during the old
Tang dynasty (618 -907), creating the modern Xi'an City Wall. It's the most complete city
wall that has survived in China, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive
systems in the world.
After the extension, the wall now stands 12 meters (40 feet) tall, 12-14 meters (40-46 feet)
wide at the top and 15-18 meters (50-60 feet) thick at the bottom. It covers 13.7
kilometers (8.5 miles) in length with a deep moat surrounding it. Every 120 meters, there
is a rampart which extends out from the main wall. All together, there are 98 ramparts on
the wall, which were built to defend against the enemy climbing up the wall. Each
rampart has a sentry building, in which the soldiers could protect the entire wall without
exposing themselves to the enemy. Besides, the distance between every two ramparts is
just within the range of an arrow shot from either side, so that they could shoot the enemy,
who wanted to attack the city, from the side. On the outer side of the city wall, there are
5948 crenellations, namely battlements. The soldiers can outlook and shoot at the enemy.
On the inner side, parapets were built to protect the soldiers from falling off.
Since the ancient weapons did not have the power to break through a wall and the only
way for an enemy to enter the city was by attacking the gate of the city wall. This is why
complicated gate structures were built within the wall. In Xi'an, the city wall includes
four gates and they are respectively named as Changle (meaning eternal joy) in the east,
Anding (harmony peace) in the west, Yongning (eternal peace) in the south and Anyuan
(forever harmony) in the north. The south gate, Yongning, is the most beautifully
decorated one. It is very near to the Bell Tower, center of the city. Important greeting
ceremonies organized by the Provincial Government are usually held in the south gate
Each city gate has three gate towers: Zhenglou,
Jianlou and Zhalou. The most outside is Zhalou,
which stands away from the City Wall and is
opposite to Zhenglou. It was used to raise and
lower the suspension bridge. Jianlou with small
windows in the front and flanks was used as a
defensive outpost. Zhenglou, in the inner, is the
main entrance to the city. The wall connects
Jianlou and Zhenglou Towers. The area
between them within the wall was called
"Wong Cheng", in which the soldiers stationed.
From Wong Cheng, there are sloped horse passages leading to the top of the city wall.
Initially, the wall was built with layers of dirt, with the base layer including also lime and
glutinous rice extract. Throughout the time Xi'an City Wall has been restored three times.
In 1568, Zhang Zhi (the government officer of that period) was in charge to rebuild the
wall with bricks. In 1781, another officer, Bi Yuan, refitted the city wall and the gate
towers. More recently (since 1983) the Shaanxi
Provincial Government restored the city wall again.
A circular park has been built along the high wall
and the deep moat. The thriving trees and flowers
decorate the classical Chinese architecture of the
wall, adding additional beauty to the city of Xi'an.
A nice suggestion for tourists: Try biking on the City
Wall, you will have an enjoyable and interesting
Have you ever heard the sound of " the
morning bell " and " the dusk drum " in China?
You can see these dual towers in many ancient
cities of China that have existed since the
Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), among which the
most well-preserved and best-known are the Bell and Drum Towers in Xi'an.
The Bell Tower was originally built in the Yingxiang Temple in 1384, at the intersection
of West Street and Guangji Street. Then in 1582, it was moved to its present pivotal
position, in the very heart of the city at the junction of four main streets extending to the
east, south, west and north, for rebuilding and later restorations.
With magnificent carved beams and painted rafters, this classical building is truly elegant.
The square base of the tower has an area of 1377.4 square meters, 35.5 meters wide and
8.6 meters high. It was laid entirely in blue bricks. The whole building, 36 meters high
overall, is a triple-eaved, two-storey structure, built with a mixture of bricks and wood.
Under the eaves, there is a beautifully decorated, colored " dougong " (archway). It's the
only characteristic of Chinese wooden architecture depicted here. An enormous ancient
bell left by the Ming
Dynasty is displayed on the northwest corner of the tower. It was once used for telling
time by being struck at dawn.
The entrance to the Bell Tower is via a subway from North Street.
Big Wild Goose Pagoda:
The Big Goose Pagoda is situated in the Da Ci'en Temple,
four kilometers away from the center of the city. It is one of
the city's most distinctive and outstanding landmarks,
possibly the most beautiful building left in Xian today.
Known as the best-preserved Buddhist temple complex, the
Da Ci'en Temple was initially built in 589, during the Sui
Dynasty (581-618). At that time, it was named as Wulou
Temple. Later in AD 647 of the Tang Dynasty, Li Zhi (who
became Emperor Tang Gaozong in AD 649) ordered to
rebuild this temple in memory of his late mother, Empress Wende. The temple
subsequently gained its present name "Da Ci'en Temple". Within the temple, there is a
small bell tower from which a bell, which was used for telling time to the monks in
ancient times, hangs. Daxiongbaodian is the main hall of the temple.
In AD 652, the Big Goose Pagoda was built to store the sutras and the figurines of
Buddha, which were brought from India by a famous Buddhist translator and traveler
Tang Sanzang, also known by his Buddhist name as Xuanzang. At the age of 28, he set
off to India to study the sutra and then brought back most of the scriptures to Chang'an,
present Xi'an city. Altogether, he spent 17 years for a round trip and experienced many
hardships. Upon his return he wrote a book entitled "Journey to the West", recording the
customs of different places he visited and his experiences. Subsequently the great
novelist of the Ming Dynasty Wu Cheng'en, collected the materials handed down and
wrote a novel titled "Pilgrimage to the West" which later became one of four greatest
novels in China. As a result, the Television Series about this story was made and became
world-renowned. In memory of Xuanzang, his statue is placed in front of the Da Ci'en
During the early days, the pagoda boasted a brick structure of five storeys and about 60
meters (197 feet) high. Between AD 701 and AD 704, at the end of the reign of Empress
Wu Zetian, five more storeys were added to the original pagoda. Damage by the war
reduced it to seven storeys, to what it is today. With a height of 64 meters (210 miles),
the pagoda occupies a base 25 meters by 25 meters (82 feet) square. The Big Goose
Pagoda is a brick-tower architecture, sturdy and simple. Walls and doors are carved with
vivid and exquisite figures of Buddha, reflecting the profundity in the paintings f the
But why was this pagoda called the Big Goose Pagoda (Dayanta)?
According to historical records, the monks living in the Da Ci'en Temple had no meat to
eat. They longed much for it so one of the monks started to pray to the Gods to bless
them. At that very moment, a group of wild geese flew over the temple. Their heads
dropped to the ground and they died. The monks were all surprised and thought it was the
result of the Buddhist spirit so they decided not to eat meat forever. A pagoda was
ordered to be built in this place, hence the name "Big Goose Pagoda".
Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses:
The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are the
most significant archeological excavations of
the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site,
which is around 1.5 kilometers east of
Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum,
Lintong County, Shaanxi province. It is a
sight not to be missed by any visitor to
Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13
(in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first
Emperor of all China, had work begun on
his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish.
It is speculated that many buried treasures
and sacrificial objects had accompanied
the emperor in his after life. A group of
peasants uncovered some pottery while
digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in
1974. It caught the attention of archeologists immediately. They came to Xi'an in droves
to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artifacts
were associated with the Qin Dynasty (211 --206 BC).
The State Council authorized to build a
museum on site in 1975. When completed,
people from far and near came to visit. Xi'an
and the Museum of Qin Terra Cotta
Warriors and Horses have become
landmarks on all travelers' tinerary.
Life size terracotta figures of warriors and
horses arranged in battle formations are the
star features at the museum. They are
replicas of what the imperial guard should
look like in those days of pomp and vigor.
The museum covers an area of 16,300 square meters, divided into three sections: No. 1
Pit, No. 2 Pit, and No. 3 Pit respectively.
They were tagged in the order of their
discoveries. No. 1 Pit is the largest, first
opened to the public on China's National Day,
1979. There are columns of soldiers at the
front, followed by war chariots at the back.
No. 2 Pit, found in 1976, is 20 meters
northeast of No. 1 Pit. It contained over a
thousand warriors and 90 chariots of wood. It
was unveiled to the public in
1994.Archeologists came upon No. 3 Pit also
in 1976, 25 meters northwest of No. 1 Pit. It
looked like to be the command center of the armed forces. It went on display in 1989,
with 68 warriors, a war chariot and four horses.
Altogether over 7,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been
unearthed from these pits. Most of them have been restored to their former grandeur.
The Terracotta Warriors and Horses is a sensational archeological find of all times. It has
put Xi'an on the map for tourists. It was listed by UNESCO in 1987 as one of the world
Hua Qing Pool:
Spending some time at the Huaqing Hot Springs, located about 35 kilometers east of
Xi'an city at the foot of the Lishan Mountain is a
must for every visitor to Xi'an. For centuries
emperors came here to bathe and enjoy the
scenic beauty, and it has been a favorite spa
since the Tang Dynasty. Huaqing Hot Springs
can be conveniently visited on returning from
the Terracotta Army site.
During the Western Zhou, Li Palace was
originally established a resort here. Later the First Emperor Qin built a stone pool and
gave the name "Lishan Hot Springs," and it was extended by the Han Wudi, Martial
Emperor. However, the strongest associations are with the Tang Dynasty, and most of the
present buildings have a Tang style.
The Hot Springs Palace was built by Emperor Taizong and a walled palace was added by
Emperor Xuanzong in 747 A.D. Unfortunately, it was damaged during the An Lushan
Rebellion in the middle Tang period. The present site was rebuilt on the site of the Qing
Tang Dynasty Singing and Dancing Show
The Tang Dynasty Dinner Show, a performance of Chang'an music and dance originated
in China's Tang Dynasty over a thousand years ago. It has been recreated in accordance
with various historical records as well as ancient art and
relics discovered in Xi'an, the capital of the empire
during the Tang Dynasty.
The Tang Dynasty Dinner Show is performed by the
"Tang Dynasty Song & Dance Troupe", a branch of the
"Shaanxi Provincial Song & Dance Troupe". This type
of performance has been treasured as a national art that
reflects the glory and richness of the Tang Dynasty era.
Lan Zhou Overview:
BingLing Buddhist Grottes:
Fifty kilometers west of the Yongjing County, the Thousand Buddha Caves of Bingling
Temple is on the Jishi Hill. Boating from the nearby Liujiaxia Dam, one of China's
hydropower dams, for several minutes, you can see the Jishi Hill on which the caves are
Bingling is a transliteration of Tibetan, which
means Ten Thousand Buddha, just the
common name of Buddhist caves in China.
They were initially made in 420, and
expanded several times through the ages.
Nowadays, there still exist 183 niches, 694
stone statues, 82 clay sculptures, and 900
square meters of murals. All the statues,
sculptures and murals exhibit superb
craftsmanship, and have great artistic appeal.
These caves, which stretch for 200 meters, include the caves of Western Qin, North Wei,
Sui, Tang, and Song, Yuan, Ming, Qing dynasties.
The most imposing is the statue of Maitreya (the Buddha of the Future), which is 27
meters high, and stands out as the first sight of the caves from the river. Its cover has
fallen off, possibly because the Buddha was made of straw and stucco over an inner
Cave 169 is the oldest cave from the Eastern
Jin period (a disturbed period in China's
history when China was split into several
states). The cave has 24 niches, which
contain nineteen stone Buddha and 39 clay
figures. Murals on the wall are dedicated to
Buddha, Bodhisattva, Apsara, etc.
It has great value for research of the history
of Chinese painting, and the spread of Buddhism during that time.Between June
(sometimes as late as July) and October,
tourist boats depart daily from the dam to
Bingling Si, while during the winter months
the water level is too low for boats, and there
is no access by road. Staircases have been
built onto the rock-face to make your visit
Gansu Province Museum:
Located on Xijin Xi Lu opposite the Friendship Hotel, the museum houses a variety of
collections including color-painted pottery from the Neolithic Period, murals from the
Wei and Jin periods, bamboo slips for writing from the Han time, and bronze artifacts.
Most archeological finds in the region of Hexi Corridor are kept here. It is well worth a
In the first exhibition hall is a collection of pottery bowls, vessels and agricultural tools
from the Neolithic Period, some 8000 years ago. The pottery objects from this earlier
period feature tipped-bottom and round-jaws. Many bear the patterns of birds, frogs,
flowers or leaves. Other distinct ones have geometric designs like a cross. Among them,
pottery vessels of Majiayao Culture excavated from the region of the Yellow River
Valley are the best. Geometric motifs like parallel lines, circles, crosses, and spirals
(volutes) were used.
In the second hall, on the same floor, is a tomb site from the Wei and Jin periods. Murals
on the tomb bricks mainly depict the daily life of the aristocrats, laboring scenes of the
working population, and imperial life. The colorings are well-preserved and still very
The last hall contains Han-dynasty exhibits of bronze vessels, axe heads, and documents
written on bamboo tablets.
Five Spring Mountain:
This park lies at the foot of Gaolan Hill
southeast of the city. Behind it a landscaped
park rises up to 1600 meters. A climb to the
summit (by chairlift) offers a panoramic view
of the whole city. The park got the name for
its five crystal springs. There is a legend that
Han Emperor Wudi sent General Huoqubing to defend his northern border which was
under attack by Xiongnu in 120
B.C.. When the troops approached the Gaolan Hill with all soldiers thirsty and tired, they
found that there was no water. General Huo was desperate to find the water himself, and
when he whipped upon a stone with rage, five pure springs gushed out!
The springs flow to this day. The highest one is called "Amrita Spring". Legend has it
that anyone who drinks the water will become eternal. Another interesting spring is called
"Moziquan (Spring of Son)". It rumored that at the bottom of this 10-meter-deep cave are
screes and tiles. People who retrieve the screes would get a son.Most of the buildings
have been destroyed in warfare over the centuries, and there only remains the Hall of
Adamantine, which was built in 1372. Inside there is enshrined a bronze statue of
Adamantine, 5.3 meters in height. Another attractive sight is a bell from the Jin Dynasty
(1115 - 1234). It is 3 meters high and weights 5 tons. Near the park is a zoo.
Jiayuguan Pass is the first pass at the west end
of the Great Wall of China and was built
during the Ming Dynasty. It is located 6
kilometers southwest of Jiayuguan City which
is in Gansu Province. It is located at the foot
of Jiayuguan Hill, between two hills of which
the Pass lies, so earned the name "The First
and Greatest Pass under the Heaven". This is
different from "The First Pass under the
Heaven", which is located at the east end of
the Great Wall near Qinhuangdao City in
The Pass is located at the narrowest point of
the western section of the Hexi Corridor, and
Jiayuguan often has the meaning of "Nice
Valley". It was also a must point of the
ancient Silk Road.
The pass is trapezoid-shaped with a perimeter
of 733 meters and with an area of more than
33,500 square meters. The total length of the city wall is 733 meters and the height is 11
meters. There are two gates-with one located on each of the east and west sides of the
pass. On each gate there is a building. On the building at the west gate, the Chinese
inscription of "Jiayuguan Pass" is written on a tablet. The south and north sides of the
pass are connected to the Great Wall. There is a turret on each corner of the pass. On the
north side inside the two gates, there are wide roads leading to the top of the pass.
The structure was initially built in 1372 during the Ming Dynasty and has a history of
more than 600 years. A legend says that when Jiayuguan Pass was to be built, the official
in charge of this project asked the designer to count how many bricks and other materials
would be used precisely. The designer gave him a specific number. But when the project
was finished, one brick was left which was placed on the pass as a symbol of
Jiayuguan itself consists of three defense lines -an inner city, an outer city and a moat.
Around Jiayuguan Pass there are many historic sites such as the Mogao Caves. Today
Jiayuguan Pass is the most intact ancient military building preserved from all the passes
on the Great Wall. Many frescos were found in the areas around Jiayuguan Pass.
Overhanging Great Wall
of Jiayuanguan, the
Wall, to some extent,
is more interesting
than the fort.
As a joining between Jiayuanguan and Black Mountain,
the wall was said to be built in 1540. Standing there for
thousands of years, the wall decayed from an excellent
state to debris. It was reconstructed in 1987.
Looking from the upper tower high on a ridge, you will get a panorama view of the desert,
the oasis of Jiayuguan and the glittering snow-capped peaks in the distance.
Dunhuang Overview: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/dunhuang.htm
Singing Sand Mountains:
Located 6 kilometers (3.73 miles) south of Dunhuang city, Echoing-Sand Mountain
which is also known as the sand dunes of Mingsha, offers superb picture-book desert
scenery. The dune, surrounded by rolling ridges and precipitous cliffs, reaches a relative
height of 250 meters (820 feet).
The climb to the top of the dunes is sweaty work, but the dramatic view back across the
rolling desert sands towards the oasis makes the effort
worthwhile. To get to the top, visitors can ride bicycles or
hire a taxi. Camel rides can also be arranged by local travel
services. Descending the dunes is quite simple - slide down
the dune to the sound of "rumbling sands" or the sound of
thunder or a drum-roll as the wind sweeps across the sands.
The thunder-like sound produced when sliding down along
the sands is tremendous!
Legend has it that in ancient times a Chinese general had
his army camped in the dunes beside the Crescent Lake.
Noise from the encampment attracted the enemy, who attacked in the dead of night. The
Han army beat their war drums to call the
troops to arms.
Suddenly, in the middle of the battle, a fierce
wind blew up, filling the sky with sand and
burying both armies. This is why, to this day,
the wind blows across the sand's surface to the
roll of war drums.
Crescent Moon Lake:
Just as oil and water don't mix, so do springs and
deserts. But Crescent Spring is an exception.
About 6 kilometers (3.73 miles) south of
Dunhuang city, and surrounded by the Echoing-
Sand Mountain, Crescent Spring can be called a
natural wonder in the Gobi Desert. Some say it
reminds them of the eye of a beautiful woman, lucid, beautiful and amorous. Some say it
looks like the mysterious, gentle and seductive lips of a pretty woman, or a slice of lush,
sweet and crystal cantaloupe. Actually, it resembles a crescent fallen down into this
desert. Having been lying among these sand dunes for thousands of years, although given
many surprise attacks by sandstorms, Crescent Spring still gurgles clear, and still remains
worthy as the first spring in the desert.
You may be wondering how this desert wonder formed. Research has discovered that in
this special crescent landform the wind created this depression, as the cross-ventilated
theory states, the falling sands from the surrounding mountains would be sent back to the
other side of nearby Echoing-Sand Mountains. Thus, the sands do not smother the spring.
And this particular earth movement keeps the sand dunes and spring eternally in a
harmonious and almost paradoxical existence.
Here you can enjoy not only the rare view
where an oasis meets the desert, but also
some fun sand adventures, such as riding
camels, "dune surfing" sand sliding. After
climbing to the top of the dunes, from there
you can't help but marvel at the dramatic
view. You have discovered the wondrous
sight of Crescent Spring!
Mogao Grottoes Cave:
The Mogao Caves, also known as the Mogao Grottoes or the Caves of A Thousand
Buddhas, are set into a cliff wall of Echoing Sand Mountain about 25km southeast of
Dunhuang, the oasis city in the Gobi desert. This honeycomb of caves was constructed
over a millennium, from the 4th to the 14th centuries, and represents the height of
Buddhist art and the world's richest treasure house of Buddhist sutras, murals and
sculptures. During its heyday, the cave complex had thousands of caves, and today, a
total of 492 grottoes, 45,000 square-metres of murals, 2,400 painted statues and over 250
residential caves remains. Almost every grotto contains a group of colorful paintings of
Buddha and Bodhisattvas and other religious paintings, or social activities of different
dynasties. The caves carved on the cliff wall
provide voluminous research material for
the study of all aspects of Chinese medieval
society, in areas such as religion, art, politics,
economics, military affairs, culture,
literature, language, music, dance,
architecture and medical science. The rich
culture and art unearthed in the caves has
even given birth to a new field of study,
The mural paintings in existence today can be divided into seven categories, including the
jataka stories depicting beneficence of Sakyamuni in his previous incarnations, sutra
stories depicting suffering and transmigration,
mythology and so on. Although the religious
scriptures are primarily Buddhist, written in
Chinese, Uygur, Tibetan, Turkic and other
languages, Taoist, Manichean and Confucian
scrolls are also part of the collection.
(Unfortunately, due to the corrupt and
impotent governments after the later Qing
dynasties, many of the treasures of the Mogao Caves were plundered by heinous thieves
like Aurel Stein, Paul Pelliot, Langdon Warner and Albert von Le Coq, mainly by theft
but also through unfair transactions. These treasures can now be found in places like
Britain and Germany.)
According to historical records, in the year 336, a monk called Le Zun came near the
Echoing Sand Mountain and suddenly had a vision of golden rays of light shining upon
him like thousands Buddhas. He started to carve the first grotto to memorize the accident
and show his respect to the Buddha. Other pilgrims and travelers followed for the next
Turpan Overview: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/turpan.htm
Gaochang and Jiiaohe Ancient Cities:
46 kilometers (29 miles) southeast of Turpan near the "Flaming Mountains" sit
impressive ruins of the ancient city of Gaochang. Built in the first century B.C. and
originally called Gaochangbi, it used to be a garrison town and later became a key point
along the ancient Silk Road. By the seventh century it held sway authority over 21 other
towns and the practice of Buddhism led to the establishment of many monasteries and
temples. In the ninth century, the Uigur established the Kharakhoja Kingdom here and
Manicheamism flourished. The city was burnt down around the 14th century, during a
period of warfare that lasted 40 years.
The ruins originally consisted of three parts: the inner and outer cities, and a palace
complex. The outer city extended 5.4 kilometers (3.4 miles) long with 11.5-meter-(38-
foot-) high and 12-meter-(40-foot-) thick enclosure walls. Some section of the tamped
earth were reinforced with adobe. Nine city gates were built at cardinal points; three in
the south and two in each other three directions. Visitors are usually suggested to enter
the best preserved gate in the west to the core.
The inner city is a 3-kilometer (1.86 miles) long rectangle, of which the western and
eastern sections are well preserved. Sharing its southern wall with the inner city, the
Palace City is in the northern part of the inner walls. A square adobe
pagoda called "Khan's castle", which
means "Imperial Palace", stands on a
high terrace in the very north. Somewhat
to its west, a half-underground, two-
storied structure is supposed to be the
palace ruins. Several earthen platforms
are still visible.
Two temple remains, one in the
southwestern and other in the
northwestern parts of the outer city are worth a visit. The first one, 130 meters (427 feet)
long from east to west, 85 meters (279 feet) wide from south to north covers 10,000
square meters. It consists of an arched gate, courtyard, a lecture hall, a library of sutras, a
main hall and the monks' dormitory. It is said that Xuanzang the renowned Buddhist
monk of the Tang period had lectures here in the year of 628 on his way to India. The
second is smaller but the murals remains are impressive.
The city was brought under the protection of the state in 1961.
The Ancient City of Jiaohe is located in the Yarnaz Valley, 13 kilometers (8 miles) west
of Turpan, and was once the capital of the State of South Cheshi, which was one of the 31
states in the Western Region of China. Base on historical book records "The State of
South Cheshi made Jiaohe city as its capital, as it was strategically seat on the confluence
of two rivers, hence the name 'Jiaohe' (the city of joining rivers)." Shielded by natural
cliffs, the city was built on a 30-meter- (98-foot-) high loess plateau, with a measurement
of 1,650 meters (5,414 feet) long and 300 meters (984 feet) wide.
During the Western Han Dynasty, "Jiaohebi" (an administrative division) was established
and continues through from the period of Northern Wei to the early Tang Dynasty. Later
it became Jiaohe Prefecture under the jurisdiction of Huigu Gaochang Kingdom. The
Anxi Military Viceroy's Office, which is the highest civil and military administrative
organ in the Western Region, was set up here. Between the middle of the eighth and the
ninth centuries, the Tibetans occupied the city. At the end of the thirteenth century, it was
destroyed in a Mongolian aristocratic rebellion.
The dry climates helps to preserved this ancient ruin. The enclosing temples,workshops,
residential houses and the streets can still be seen. A 350-meter (1148-foot) long,
10-meter (33-foot) wide road separates the
city into the eastern and western parts. This
road leads to a grand Buddhist temple located
in the north-central part of the city. In front
of the temple, forest of towers remains intact,
and standing on top of these towers, it
provides an amazing panoramic view of the
At the southeastern part of the city were bricks and tiles
office and residential dwelling buildings. A magnificent
semi-underground two-storied complex, supposedly said
to be the site of the Anxi's Military Viceroy's Office is
located in this part of the city.
The main architectural features of the buildings in this
city are two-storey houses where it's windowless and
without door walls facing the streets and the gates were
hidden in deep lanes. The houses were constructed semi-
underground, with underground caves served as rooms.
The Flaming Mountains run 100 kilometers (62 miles) along the northern edge of Turpan
Depression (Basin) from east to west with its extreme width of 10 kilometers(6.2 miles).
Its highest peak is 40 kilometers (248 miles) east of the city of Turpan and 831.7 meters
(2728 feet) above sea level.
Crustal movements and years of efflorescence fashion its unique geological feature.
When the sun's rays beat down in mid-afternoon, the red rocks on the crisscross gullies
and ravines reflect and the heat is intense as if the hillsides were engulfed by tongues of
fire, hence the name.
In the famous 16th century Chinese classic novel Journey to the West by Wu Cheng'en
describing four monks in Tang dynasty adventuring the west, Xuan Zang and his
companions, Pigsy, Monkey and Sandy, attempted to cross the Flaming Mountains. They
could not penetrate the flames and Monkey
procured a magical palm-leaf fan from Princess Iron Fan, wife of the Ox Demon King
(two fiction figures in the novel) and waved it 49 times, causing heavy rains to extinguish
the fire.More anecdotes tell that to cross the Flaming Mountains, Monkey burnt his tail,
and ever since then all monkeys have had red bottoms.
Astana Ancient Tombs
40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of Turpan and 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from the
ancient city of Gaochang, this Tang-Dynasty burial ground known as the "Underground
Museum" attracts streams of archaeologists from both at home and abroad. Astana means
"capital" in Uigur, and Karakhoja is the name of a legendary hero of the ancient Uigur
Kingdom who expelled evil by killing a vicious dragon. Two villages nearby are named
after these two.
The tombs are 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) from north to south and 5 kilometers (3.1 miles)
from east to west. The imperial dead of Gaochang and noble officials were buried here.
However, curiously, the tomb of King Gaochang has not been found anywhere in the
A 10-meter (16-feet) steep, narrow passage leads down into a small dark chamber where
the corpses were laid down. The dry climate preserved the bodies and artifacts perfectly.
Dried-up corpses, more unusual than the mummies found in the pyramids in Egypt,
remain complete and intact. A fine collection of relics from Astana are exhibited in the
Xinjiang Regional Museum in Urumqi. These artifacts include painted stucco figurines,
which revealed aspects of daily life such as traditional costumes, customs, and riding
accoutrements. Remains of grains, breads, pastries and dumplings placed in the graves
gave insight into the diet of the people in the region. Furthermore, on a bale of horse
fodder are written the words "Judge Cen" and "Minister Feng". Judge Cen is the famous
frontier poet Cen Shen of the Tang Dynasty and Minister Feng was the governor of
Beiting Prefecture during the Tang Dynasty. Most of those buried here were Han people ,
but some minority ethnic groups such as the Cheshi, Hun, , Gaoche, and Zhaowujiuxing
were also entombed here.
Currently three Di, Xianbei tombs have been opened to visitors. In the tomb of the Tang-
Dynasty, General Zhang Xiong of the Qushi Gaochang Kingdom was buried here with
his wife (now encased in the Turpan Regional Museum). There are four murals depicting
Jade Man, Gold Man, Stone Man and Wooden Man - all symbols of Confucian virtues.
Emin Tower (The Tower for Showing Gratitude to
Eminhoja), is located 2 kilometers(1.24miles) east of
the city of Turpan. Built in 1777 the tower, also called
"Su Gong Ta" or "The Turpan Tower" by the local
Uigur, commemorates and praises a famous military
victory. Emin Khoja, the ruler of Turpan, achieved a
brilliant military success, suppressing the armed
rebellion of Jungar aristocrats in the year. The tower
was completed in 1778 by his son Suleman. It is one
of the architectural gems of the Silk Road.
The plain sun-dried bricks taper skywards in patterns of rhombuses, ripples and varied
four-petal flowers. On the surface of the cone small windows open in all sides. A
seventy-one-step stair spirals upwards from the 10-meter- (32.8-foot-) base to the top.
There is a good view of the area from the second story balcony above the mosque. At the
entrance a free-stand tablet records the history of
the tower both in Uigur and Chinese.
The adjoining mosque, the biggest mosque in
Turpan, has a beamed ceiling supported by simple
wooden pillars and a central large doom. Its hall
can hold up 1000 people and serves as an important center for religious Festivals.
The ancient Karez system is comprised of a series of wells and linked underground
channels that uses gravity to bring ground
water to the surface, usually far away from
the source n county there are more than 470
systems, totaling over 1,600 kilometers (1,
000 miles) of tunnels. It is considered as one
of the three great projects in China with the
other two being the Great Wall and the Grand
Originally, ancient oasis towns depend on the
streams and rivers nearby into which glaciers
in far-off mountains feed. As the glaciers
gradually shrank over the centuries, the streams they fed likewise diminished, resulting in
lesser water flowing to the oasis towns. Therefore, people ingeniously created the karez
to draw the underground water to irrigate the farmland. Wells begin at the base of the
mountains along the contours of the hillside. To keep the underground channels
unclogged, two men and a draught animal work as a team - one man is lowered down to
clear the tunnel and buckets of mud are hoisted to the surface by the animal. The tunnels
slope less than the contours of the geographical depression, so that the water reaches the
oasis close to ground level. The water in the karez will not evaporate in large quantities
even under the scorching heat and fierce wind, hence ensuring a stable flow of water
for gravity irrigation.
The history of the Karez can be traced back to the Han Dynasty. Recorded in the
"Records of Historian" - a chronological historical book written by Sima Qian, the great
Han Dynasty historian known for his credible records of historical events, it was called
"Well Canals". Most of today's karezes in the Turpan were built in the Qing Dynasty and
in the years after. Nowadays, large stretches of fertile land are still irrigated by karezes.
The Wudaolin karez and the karez in the Wuxing Town are open to visitors.
Kashgar Overview: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/kashgar.htm
Owing to its favorable position, countless merchants from many parts of the world would
go to Kashgar, so it was also known as "the pearl on the Ancient Silk Road". Bazaars are
the focus of activity nearly every day, with stalls dotted here and there, and crowded
streets. Throughout the bazaars, you will find some stalls that sell everything while others
specialize and sell local produce, arts and crafts, garments, knives, timber, coal, and
Kashgar is especially famous for its delicate knives
sold in the streets by hawkers. It is also a hat-
making center and certain sections of streets are
devoted entirely to the selling of hats and beautiful
fur-lined headgear. Blacksmiths' shops line both
sides of the streets, and the sound from them can be
heard everywhere. Colorful painted wooden saddles
are on sale, and you can pick your dinner from a
up of goats'
hooves. The western part of the bazaar is devoted
mainly to Uigur and Kyrgyz, while the eastern
part is for household goods and hardware.
Today, although most of the bazaars have
disappeared, we can still find the past glory of
this ancient city in what remains.
Id Kah Mosque
Located in the center of the city, this grand Islamic structure is a stark contrast to the
many Chinese-style mosques in Xi'an. This yellow-and-white structure has a central
dome and flanking minarets, which usually associated with mosques in Pakistan or
Afghanistan. Shakesimirzha, a ruler of Kashgar, had the mosque built here first in1442
and it was extended to its present shape through several renovation work.
Being the largest in china, it attracts more than 10,000 worshipers for prayers on a Friday
afternoon. The different buildings consist of Hall of Prayer, Doctrine-Teaching Hall, a
gate tower, a pond and some auxiliary rooms.
The gate is the most eye-catching one. On top of the gate stands a tower from where the
imam will give a call (azan/adhan) summoning the muslims to attend to prayers. In the
tree-graced courtyard, there is a pond and on its bank many pottery pots are placed,
which are to be used by the worshipers to do wadhu or clean themselves. The framework
of the main hall is made of timber with decorative wooden ceiling. The exquisite wooden
carvings and colored paintings reveal the essence of craftsmanship. The hall is supported
by 140 carved wooden pillars. A stepped throne is enshrined into the central wall. During
service, the First Mullah leads the prayer in the shrine. On Friday's or Corban, the first
Mullah addresses the worshipers ( "Wa'az") standing on the steps of the throne. After
entering the mosque the people will seat themselves facing the direction of the Kiblah in
The mosque is one of the liveliest places to be during the Korban festivities.
Abakh Khoja Tomb:
Located 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) northeast of the city
of Kashgar, it served as the family tomb of Abakh
Khoja, the powerful ruler of Kashgar in the 17th
century who was revered as a prophet and second
only to Mohammed. First built in 1640, all five
generations of the family are buried within. There
were 72 tombs until an earthquake destroyed some.
The first generation buried here was Yusuf Hoja, a
celebrated Islam missionary. After he died, his eldest
son Apak Hoja died in 1693, buried here and his
reputation was greater than his father's, so the tomb
was renamed "Abakh Khoja Tomb".
The different buildings include Tomb Hall, Doctrine-Teaching Hall and Great Hall of
Prayer. The Tomb Hall, with a 17-meter- (55.8-foot) diameter dome is covered with
glazed green tiles. Inside the hall, tombs
decorated with beautiful flower patterns on a
white background, glittering, simple and elegant
are settled on a high terrace. The legend goes that
among those, a tomb known as the Xiang Fei
(Fragrant Concubine) Tomb is in memory of
Abakh Khoja's grand-daughter, Iparhan. She was
the Fragrant Concubine of Emperor Qianlong
of the Qing period and was called
Xiangfei because of the delicate fragrance sent
forth by her body. Upon her death 120 people spent three years carrying her coffin back
to Kashgar and buried here.
The Great Hall of Prayer in the west part of the tomb (Ayitijiayi) is the place where the
Muslim believers conduct service on big days. The Lesser Hall of Prayer and the gate
tower are outmost buildings decorated with colorful paintings and elegant brick carvings.
It is the holiest place in Xinjiang and an architectural treasure. During the Korban
Festival, many Muslims form all over Xinjiang make the pilgrimage to the tomb. The
tomb, about 3 kilometers east of the city, is easily accessible by horse cart or bicycle.
Urumqi Overview: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/urumqi.htm
Tian Shan Mountain:
Situated in the Heavenly Mountain (Tianshan)
range, 115 km (71 miles) northeast of Urumqi,
Heavenly Lake (Tianchi Lake) is one of the
main tourist attractions in China. Formerly
known as Yaochi (Jade Lake), the lake is
particularly refreshing for those arriving to
Urumqi from the barren deserts in Xinjiang, or
from China's numerous granite cities. It is
hemmed in by the majestic snow-crowned
peaks west of Bogda Mountain and it is geologically a moraine lake 3,400 meters (1,1125
feet) long, 1,500 meters (4920 feet) wide, 1,980 meters (6494 feet) above sea level.
Covered with firs, pines, cypresses and white snow, it boasts a spectacular sight-
reminiscent of Switzerland or the Rocky
mountains but somehow with more vibrancy
and color. Amidst fields of wild flowers grow
morel mushrooms, peppermint and rhubarb,
while higher up the mountain are edelweiss
and the rare creamy Snow Lotus (Saussurea
involucrate), which grows from rock crevices
and is believed to have magical powers as a
Tourists usually spend one day in the area,
consisting of a boat ride on the lake, or a ride or walk along the lake's shore. The wild and
tranquil scene is stunning and pristine. You can
also stay in one of the many yurts owned by
locals, with a mat on the floor and a bowl of milk
in the morning. Buses leave daily from the bus
station and the Hongshan Park in Urumqi.
Shanghai Overview: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/shanghai.htm
Yuyuan Garden, a place of peace and
comfort in the heart of bustling Shanghai,
dates back to the fabled Ming Dynasty. Now
a popular tourist destination, Yuyuan began
as a private garden created by Pan Yunduan,
who spent almost 20 years - and all of his
savings - to build a garden in order to please
his parents in their old age. That is why he
called this garden "Yuyuan" - because "yu"
in Chinese means "peace and health".
During the past 400 years, Yuyuan, although restored and reopened several times, was
most often in disarray. Due to the decline of Pan's family after Pan Yuduan's death,
Yuyuan gradually fell into disuse. Although the garden was improved by the local
signiors, several civil conflicts in the mid-19th century caused great damage. In 1956,
after Shanghai's liberation, the city government reconstructed the garden and refurbished
its mien and beauty as in the old days. Yuyuan Garden was finally reopened to the public
in 1961, and the State Department declared it a national monument in 1982. Now Yuyuan
Garden attracts countless visitors at home and abroad every year.
The present-day Yuyuan occupies an area of two hectares (5 acres) and is built in a style
associated with the renowned Suzhou gardens, which are characterized by an exquisite
layout, beautiful scenery and artistic architecture. Each pavilion, hall, stone and stream in
the garden expresses the essence of South China's landscape design from the Ming and
There are more than 40 scenic spots scattered throughout the garden, which is divided
into six parts by five boundary walls. The six scenic areas include the Grand Rockery, the
Ten Thousand-Flower Pavilion, the Hall of Heralding Spring, the Hall of Jade
Magnificence, the Inner Garden, and the Lotus Pool.
The Grand Rockery is the most elaborate, venerable and glorious rockery in southeastern
China. Approximately 2,000 tons of stone were used to build this 14-meter-high rockery,
which features perilous peaks, cliffs, winding caves and gorges, all designed to give
people a sense of visiting a real, great mountain.
To the east of the Ten Thousand-Flower Pavilion is the Dragon Wall. The white wall is
decorated with a dragon's head and paved with scale-like tiles, creating the illusion that a
huge, wandering dragon cruises in the garden, keeping it safe and peaceful. The dragon
was designed with only four claws, not five like the dragons in the royal palaces, as a
way of avoiding irreverence and rebellion in the feudal society.
The Hall of Heralding Spring is located in the eastern part of Yuyuan garden. This
pavilion was built in 1820, the first year of the Emperor Daoguang's reign. From
September 1853 to February 1855, it served as the base of the Society of Little Swords
(the Xiaodao Hui), which led an uprising against the Qing dynasty and occupied
Shanghai for 17 months. Today, weapons and coins made by the Society of Little Swords
are exhibited in this hall. The Shanghai city government named it the Callan Educational
Base in 1994.
The Hall of Jade Magnificence is a study entirely furnished with rare rosewood pieces
dating to the Ming Dynasty.
The Inner Garden is a smaller version of Yuyuan Garden, created by combining the east
garden and west garden in 1956. Its elegant rockeries, ponds and walls give the Inner
Garden a delicate and exquisite beauty.
Standing beside the Lotus Pool, you can see groups of red cyprinoids swimming - a
relaxed and happy view that will leave an indelible impression of peace and tranquility.
Yuyuan Garden is a representative of the classical architectural style and is
acknowledged as an architectural miracle in the region southeast of the Yangtze River.
Oriental Pearl Tower:
The Oriental Pearl TV Tower is located in Pudong Park in
Lujiazui, Shanghai. The tower, surrounded by the Yangpu
Bridge in the northeast and the Nanpu Bridge in the
southwest, creates a picture of "twin dragons playing with
pearls". The entire scene is a photographic jewel that
excites the imagination and attracts thousands of visitors
This 468 meters high (1,536 feet) tower is the world's
third tallest TV and radio tower surpassed in height only
by towers in Toronto, Canada and Moscow, Russia. However, even more alluring than its
height is the tower's unique architectural design that makes the Oriental Pearl TV Tower
one of the most attractive places anywhere. The base of the tower is supported by three
seven-meter wide slanting stanchions. Surrounding the
eleven steel spheres that are "strung" vertically through the
center of the tower are three nine-meter wide columns.
There are three large spheres including the top sphere,
known as the space module. Then there are five smaller
spheres and three decorative spheres on the tower base. The
entire structure rests on rich green grassland and gives the
appearance of pearls shining on a jade plate.
Visitors travel up and down the tower in double-decker
elevators that can hold up to fifty people at the rate of seven
meters per second. The elevator attendants recite an
introduction to the TV Tower in English and Chinese
during the rapid 1/4-mile ascent. Once you reach your
destination, you will be amazed at the variety of activities
available as the various spheres and columns actually house places of interest, commerce,
and recreation. The inner tower is a recreational palace, while the Shanghai Municipal
History Museum is located in the tower's pedestal. The large lower sphere has a futuristic
space city and a fabulous sightseeing hall. From here, on a clear day a visitor can see all
the way to the Yangtze River. The base of the tower is home to a science fantasy city.
The five smaller spheres are a hotel that contains twenty-five elegant rooms and lounges.
The pearl at the very top of the tower contains shops, restaurants, (including a rotating
restaurant) and a sightseeing floor. The view of Shanghai from this height fills you with
wonder at the beauty that surrounds you. When viewed from the Bund at night, the
tower's three-dimensional lighting makes it a delight of brilliant color.
It is amazing that this ultra-modern tower combines ancient concepts such as the
spherical pearls, with 21st Century technology, commerce, recreation, educational and
conference facilities. All of this and it really is a TV and radio tower that services the
Shanghai area with more than nine television channels and upwards of ten FM radio
channels. Truly, "oriental pearl" is the most suitable name for this tower.
Huangpu River, the most important shipping
artery of Shanghai, wriggles like an
undulating muddy dragon from the mouth of
the Yangtze River in Wusong to the East
China Sea. The yellow and ice-free Huangpu
River is 114 kilometers (71 miles) long, 400
meters wide and has an average depth of nine
meters (30 feet).
Huangpu River joins 29 kilometers (18 miles) north of downtown Shanghai and divides
Shanghai into two parts, east and west. Cruises are available everyday, including the
shorter cruises (navigating the main waterfront area between the Yangpu Bridge and the
Nanpu Bridge) and the complete cruises (meandering eastward along the golden
waterway, over a distance of 60 kilometers or 37 miles). Whether it is in the daytime or at
night, the views along the river are the same beautiful. The great modern skyscrapers and
the characteristic buildings in different architectural styles are the best records of the
development of the city and the Huangpu River, the birthplace of Shanghai, is the faithful
The Bund, also called the Zhongshan Road, is a famous waterfront and regarded as the
symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years. It starts from the Baidu Bridge, which is at the
connecting point of the Huangpu River and the Suzhou Creek, to the East Jinling Road
and winds a 1500 meters (less than one mile) length. Walking along the Bund, which is at
the west shore of the Huangpu River, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower can be seen on the
opposite side and also the Jin Mao Tower.Being one of the Top Ten Shanghai Attractions,
the Bund is a really beautiful and special place which is worth visiting. The newly-built
Flood Control Bank takes the function of preventing the oversize flood; the square with
the statue of Marshal Chen Yi is an open air podium which gives new views of the
Shanghai Plaza Culture; the Cenotaph which stands on the man-made island is a
monument of people's heroes; the riverside greenbelt, the Electronic Waterfall Bell, and
the Great Mural Carving are all representatives of the Bund. The most famous and
attractive sight which is at the west side of the Bund are the 52 various buildings of
different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the
Renaissance. The Bund was the centre of Shanghai's politics, economy and culture
hundreds of years ago, consulates of most countries and many banks, businesses and
newspaper offices were settled there, and that's why we have these art-like buildings.
Although they were not designed by the same person or built in the same period, the
architectural pattern is similar.