The Palace Museum
What strikes one first in a bird's -eye view of Beijing proper is a vast tract of golden roofs flashing brilliantly in the sun with purple walls occasionally emerging amid them and a stretch of luxuriant tree leaves flanking on each side. That is the former Imperial Palace, popularly known as the Forbidden City, from which twenty-four emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties ruled China for some 500 years--from1420 to 1911. The Ming Emperor Yong Le, who usurped the throne from his nephew and made Beijing the capital, ordered its construction, on which approximately 10,000 artists and a million workmen toiled for 14 years from 1406 to 1420. At present, the Palace is an elaborate museum that presents the largest and most complete ensemble of traditional architecture complex and more than 900,000 pieces of court treasures in all dynasties in China.Located in the center of Beijing, the entire palace area, rectangular in shape and 72 hectares in size, is surrounded by walls ten meters high and a moat 52 meters wide. At each corner of the wall stands a watchtower with a double-eave roof covered with yellow glazed tiles.
The Summer Palace
Situated in western outskirts of Beijing, the Summer Palace is 10 kilometers from the central city. It is China's leading classical garden which enjoys a worldwide reputation. The Summer Palace was opened to the public in 1924 and included in the UNESCO world heritage list in 1998. A whole day is needed to view it in detail.The Summer Palace was first built in 1153 and served as an imperial palace for short stays away from the capital. Empress Dowager Ci Xi rebuilt it in 1888 with a large sum of money which had been appropriated to build a Chinese navy. The two main elements of the garden are Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake. Kunming Lake, with an exquisite building in the middle, takes up three quarters of the garden's 290 hectares. The garden consists of three parts: the political activity area, the empress's living quarter and the scenic area which separately centers on the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity(1), the Hall of Jade Ripples(2) and the Hall of Happiness and Longevity(3), and Longevity Hill(4) and Kunming Lake. The groups of buildings, hills and lakes, together with the background of West Hills, give an ever changing scene.
Ancient Culture Street
Ancient Culture Street is in the north of the city and is actually a series of streets, built in typical Tianjin style featuring Qing style architecture. The shops are decorated with watercolor paintings and carved bricks. The street was not wide but assembled different folk handicrafts from all over Tianjin, like clay figurines, New Year pictures, kites, and sounded pots. It attracts numerous tourists from both home and abroad.On spring festivals, the street became a paper-cut world, clustered with numerous paper couplets, words of happiness and good fortune, pictures of pied magpies welcoming the new year and so on. Take a few home and paste them on the door and window. They could bring you a happy New Year. The Tianhougong (Heavenly Empress) Temple is close to Ancient Culture Street and was originally a temple built during the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368). It has now been rebuilt and houses a museum of Tianjin folklore. Performances by folk artists and traditional opera singers are often staged on the square or in the theater in front of the Temple. The Confucius Temple was built during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) and is also located close to the Ancient Culture Street.
As you walk through Shanghai, it may feel as though you are entering a fair of world architecture or an art gallery of human civilization. In fact, Shanghai is unique among world cities in its variety of architectural styles. This variety reflects the wisdom and efforts of architects, engineers, and workers--both foreign and domestic--and is a precious legacy to the world. Take a walk along the Bund (Zhongshan Road), once the most famous street in Asia. It is a tree-lined promenade along the Huangpu River. The major firms of the Far East had their headquarters in the buildings facing the river. First among them is the former Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, which after 1949 was used as the city Communist Party Headquarters. It is now the home of the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank. One of the conditions for the bank to move to this building was that they restore it to its original grandeur, which apparently was quite grand.
The Yuyuan Gardens is situated at the south district of Shanghai City. It was constructed in the period of Emperor Jiajing's rein of Ming dynasty from 1559 and completed in 1577. It has a history of more than 400 years. It is a famous classical garden in the south of China, the total area of which is over 20 thousand square meters. The main scenic spots in the Yuyuan Gardens are the Urban Mountain Forest, Hualin Charming Valley, Spring Famous Historical Site, the Most Enjoyable Water-Stone Site, Treasure in the Universe and Garden within Gardens. In the garden are ridges and peaks and zigzag paths, beautifully decorated. On the walls are brick-made dragons curling around, as vivid as life, an unique sight of the their kind. They have maintained the artistic style of the south of China during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Urban Mountain Forest is located at the west of the garden district; there are Shansui (three ears of grains) Hall, Rain Swirling Tower, Grand Artificial Hill, Hall of Elegance and other scenic sights. The Grand Artificial Hill is the cream of the Yuyuan Garden, a legacy of Ming dynasty. It was constructed in accordance with the design made personally by the well-known mason Zhang Nanyang. In the Hualin Charming Valley are waterside pavilion, winding corridors, Yihang, Floral Tower and other scenic sites.
Jade Buddha Temple
Located in the city of Shanghai and as one of its famous Buddhist temples, Jade Buddha Temple belongs to the Chan sect, and has a history of over one hundred years. During the reign of Emperor Guangxu, Monk Huigen from Putuo Mountain, on his way home after paying homage to Buddha in India, brought back form Myanmar 5 jade statures of Buddha of various size, and left in Shanghai 2 white-jade statues of one seated and one reclining of Sakyamuni for the specially built temple in Jiangwan, hence the name of the Temple. It was moved to the present address in 1918. Jade Buddha Temple constructed in the style of the palace architecture of the Song Dynasty comprises the Hall of Heavenly King, the Precious Hall of Sakyamuni, the Hall of Reclining Buddha, the Pavilion of Jade Buddha etc. As one of most precious relics in the Temple, the seated jade statue, 1.9 meters high and carved out of a single piece of jade stone has the image of a solemn Buddha and is reputed as a gem of Buddhist art works. Housed in the middle of the Pavilion of Jade Buddha, the seated statue of Buddha is decorated with dazzling Buddhist lights and gold girdles. Enshrined in the main room of the Hall of Reclining Buddha, the reclining statue of white jade, 0.96 meter long and lying on his side on a mahogany couch, is the image of Sakyamuni in nirvana with a serene and self-possessed expression. Here the air is heavy with smoke of burning incense all the year round and the sound of scripture-chanting never comes to an end.
Oriental Pearl TV Tower
Anyone arriving in Shanghai at night from the airport for the first time is immediately taken with the Oriental Pearl TV Tower as it monopolizes an already amazing emerging skyline. It soars over the Huangpu river from the Pudong area and one might imagine it as an incredible space ship landing. Dramatic lighting effects highlight this unusual structure. The tower is referred to by the Chinese as "two dragons playing with a pearl". In 1995 it began broadcasting nine television channels and 10 FM radio channels. It is 1,245 feet high, and is one of the tallest structures in Asia. The viewing area is half-way up and offers a splendid unparalleled view of the Bund, the emerging new modern Shanghai, and the most recently developed Special Economic Zone of Pudong. A cafe is located on the first floor and on the viewing platform there is a souvenir shop. Admission fees are charged. At the base of the tower is Pudong Park which was designed as a contrast to the massive commercial development of the Special Economic Zone of Pudong. There are wonderful views across the river from the "New Bund" to the original.
The Three Gorges of Yangtze River extend 193 kilometers from the western Baidicheng in Sichan Province, to Nanjinguan of Yichang city in Hubei Province in the east. They differ from each other in sceneries: Qutang Gorge is straight and craggy; Wu Gorge, deep, serene and exquisite; while Xiling Gorge perilous for its shoals and rapid currents. Qutang Gorge: From east to west, it measures 8 kilometers, starting from Baidicheng and ending at Daixi township. With vertical cliffs of some thousand meters high as its two flanks, the Qutang Gorge is only a few dozens of meters wide just like a narrow gateway. With swash and rumble, the surging Yangtze River pours into the gateway with great momentum. Looking up towards the tops of towering precipitous mountains along the Gorge, one sees from a boat only a narrow strip of clouds and sky, but under foot the River tears on violently. Wu Gorge: It extends 40 kilometers from the mouth of Daning River of Wushan Mountain in the west to Guandukou of Badong in the east. The Wu Gorge is gifted with exquisite peaks and lush mountains and ranges. It's deep and serene with changeable weather. The rolling River twists and turns and boats zigzag their way along, as if cruising in a fantastic gallery.
Gulangyu, separated from the main island by the 500-meter-wide Egret River, with an area of 177 square kilometers, enjoys a laudatory title "Garden on the Sea." The original name of the islet was Yuan Zhou Zi. In the Ming Dynasty it was renamed Gulang, meaning ''drum waves", because the holes in the southwestern reefs hit by the waves will make sounds like the drum.The Dragon Head Hill, Hoisting Flag Hill and Hen Hill stand in a line in the islet. Overlapping peaks foil the blue water, white clouds, green trees and bright flowers. The air in the islet is fresh. The entire place is free from any sorts of vehicles and is particularly quiet. All these render an atmosphere of a fairyland.The architecture in the islet varies greatly in style, Chinese and foreign. Thus the islet has a laudatory title "the World Architecture Museum" The residents here love music very much, and the number of the pianos possessed is in the leading place in the nation, though there is only a population of 20,000 people. Thus the islet is praised as the "Piano Islet".Today, Gulangyu is listed as one of the nation's major scenic spot. The main sites of interest here include the Sunlit Rock, Shuzhuang Park, Gangzihou Bathing Beach and Memorial Hall to Zheng Chenggong, which are visited annually by millions of people from all parts of the country and the world.
Formerly named "Lotus Temple" and first built in 686AD of the Tang Dynasty (618-907AD), the Kaiyuan Temple is the oldest and largest Buddhist building in Fujian province. The 78,000 square meter site, legend has it, was once a mulberry grove. The owner of the trees dreamed one day that a Buddhist monk asked him to build a temple here. The reluctant owner replied: "Only if the mulberry trees in my garden bear lotus flowers". A few days later, lotus lowers appeared in the grove... Today in the courtyard west of the main hall, an ancient mulberry tree has a sign on it that reads "Mulberry Lotus Tree".In 783 during the Tang Kaiyuan period, the Emperor Xuangzong, a devout Buddhist, ordered the temple to be in his honor. Since then, the temple has shared the same high reputation as the Guangji Temple (Guangji si) in Beijing and Lingyin Temple (Lingyin si) in Hangzhou. It used to be home to 1000 monks.The temple is highly regarded for its architecture: Its main hall "Precious Hall of the Great Hero" (Daxiong Baodian) or Mahavira Hall is also known as "The Great Hall of Purple Clouds". It is 20 odd meters high and is famous for its (almost) one hundred stone columns, each carved in a different style. On the crossbeams are carved 24 flying singers and dancers or "apsaras" resembling angels in Catholic churches.
Wuyi Mountain lies in north-western part of Fujian Province, encompassing an area of 60 square kilometers. Cut off from the outer mountains, it's surrounded by streams and valleys.Jiuqu Stream (Nine Turns Stream): Now and again its torrents churn over shoals, throwing sheets of spray into the air, and then merge into clear deep pools which are as smooth as a mirror. At its two banks, myriad peaks soar up, vying with one another for beauty and wild azalea flowers glow crimson. The Jiuqu Stream is a fabulous place to visit. One taking a bamboo raft downstream would be mesmerized as if cruising in the mysterious universe. Tianyou Peak (Peak of Sky Tour): Frequently shrouded in clouds and mist, it towers aloft over clusters of peaks. Ascending to its top, one feels as if traveling upon a sea of clouds high up the sky. Hence it becomes the most famous spot of Wuyi Mountain. The pavilion on the top, the highest among myriad peaks commands a panoramic view of Wuyi Mountain encircled by well-known peaks and the Jiuqu Stream on its three sides.
Chen's Ancestral Temple
The ancestral temple for the whole clan of the Chen in Guangdong Province, also called Chen Clan Academy, was designed by Li Julin and built from 1890-1894, Qing Dynasty when Emperor Guangxu reigned over the country. The whole structure faces the south and covers 15,000 square meters with 6,400 square meters as principal section. It is in fact an architectural complex of 19 quadrangle compounds symmetrical on both sides of a central axis. It shows how traditional Lingnan architecture looks like. Chen's Ancestral Temple is known for its superb art of decoration because it epitomizes the folk decoration art of Guangdong. It is also famous for "three kinds of carving, three kinds of sculpture and one kind of iron casting(1)" and named "the best ancestral temple in Guangdong." Stone carving: It's mainly expressed by a pair of dignified stone lions on either side of the door, a pair of stone drums and stone columns, stone slabs, stone fruits and many other stone carving works. They were finished in the ways of engraving, carving and ornamental engraving.
Located on Liurong Road, the temple enjoys a long history and a widespread fame both at home and abroad.The temple was originally built in 537 and was rebuilt in the Northern Song dynasty. The pagoda in it is quite colorful and houses some thousand Buddha statues, thus it has got another name "Thousand-Buddha Pagoda". Some well-known ancient poets such as Wang Bo, Su Dongpo and so on visited this temple and wrote either poetic phrases or articles acclaiming this temple. Standing at the center of the temple is the Flower Pagoda which is 57 meters high and has 11 angles. It is 17-storeyed looked from inside and 9-storeyed outside. To the east of the pagoda, there are Gate,Maitreya Hall, Heavenly King Hall, Guardian Hall(1), the portrait of Su Dongpo, and more than 10 stone steles including the one with the characters of "六榕” (Six-banyan).
Famous for its wonderful scenery, rivers and karst peaks covered in lush greenery, Guilin has a long history as the most beautiful place in China. Established in the Qin Dynasty as a regional power base for the first emperor of China, Guilin's population exploded to around a million during the 1930s when the city was a Communist stronghold against the Japanese. In recent decades, although development and exploding tourism are changing the face of this beautiful city, Guilin has remained one of China's greenest and scenic cities.Guilin is situated along the Lijiang River, which is a favorite travel attraction in itself. The beauty of the water and the karst peaks towering into the sky have attracted travelers to this area for centuries. Parallel to the Lijiang River runs Zhongshan Road, Guilin's main street. In the middle of the city on both sides of Zhongshan Road are Banyan Lake and Fir Lake respectively, each a beautiful park in its own right. To the north stands Solitary Beauty Peak, Guilin's most prominent karst peak. Along the Lijiang River are two more peaks, Wave Subduing Hill and Elephant Trunk Hill, each proudly showing off Guilin's unique scenery. Elsewhere in the city is the immense Seven Star Park with seven peaks and six caves as well as pavilions and gardens to enjoy. Lastly, on the northwestern outskirts of town is Reed Flute Cave, one of the area's wonderful underground sights.
The Li River (Lijiang) scenic area, totaling 83 km. in length, is situated in Guilin City of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Hanyu vividly described the enchanting beauty of the Lijiang River in his poem: The River looks like a blue silk ribbon, and the mountains resemble emerald hairpins." The Li River is famous for its beauty of four unique: verdant mountains, fragrant waters, mysterious grottoes, and exquisite rocks. Along the river, there are deep pools, dangerous shoals, murmuring springs, and roaring waterfalls. Going downstream in a tourist boat, one can enjoy spectacular views of crowded towering peaks along the riverbanks, waterfalls suspending over forests of rocks, and their crashing sprays upon jutting rocks. What one marvels at most is the Picture Cliff. It's endowed by nature's uncanny workmanship, with a smooth flat surface. Seen from a distant boat, due to the interplay of various shades of brilliant colors upon it, the surface looked as if painted with a picture of faintly discernible 9 houses. On the crest of the peak, poised a colossal "steed", rearing its head and neighing, while by its side two "Colts" were grazing. One can see " The Avant-garde Horse" on the summit of Yuwei Peak and "The Horse Falling Behind" on Mahuang Mountain. The Lijiang River brimming with crystal-clear waters twists and turns between magnificent and beautiful mountains. Its banks are covered with lush bamboo and luxuriantly green woods. Luohan Mountain, Chaoban Mountain, Wuzhi Mountain and Luosi Mountain rise up from under the waters. What a splendid scenery they present!
In a rural area of Southwest China's Guizhou Province, however, the boogie still has breath. The Bouyei minority people, distant cousins of the Thai, seem to be strutting their stuff to the beat, and no better a place is this highlighted than in small Huangguoshu Scenic Area, and most notably in its most famous attraction, Huangguoshu Falls . The scenic area is formed by 18 waterfalls of various sizes. The Huangguoshu Falls is the largest, measuring 74 meters tall and 81 meters wide. The waters flowing at a capacity of 737 cubic meters per second, come from an area of 770 square kilometers. The thunderous roars of the waterfall can be heard within a distance of 5 kilometers. During the flood season, the torrential waters cascade down some thousand feet from the cliff tops to the Pool of Xiniu encircled on three sides by the mountains, dashing against rocks with deafening noises and throwing up turbulent waves which rise and tumble like thousands of galloping horses. The misty water sprays shot up some hundred meters, sparkling under the sunlight like myriad rainbows. In the dry season, the Waterfall hangs over the precipitous cliffs, swinging like countless silvery chains and plunging into the magic lake as though they were silvery dragons. The most fascinating is the 12 meters high water-screen cave gifted with 6 cave windows, 5 yards, 3 springs and an inner waterfall. One can stroll about the cave, watching through the windows the outside waterfall.
Located at the foot of Xiama Hill in the town of Tianya, 24 km west of Sanya, Tianya Haijiao with its irresistible witchery, in recent years, attracts countless tourists all over the world.There are numerous rocks, with different size and shape, scatter along the silvery beach. Among them, these two, which are respectively engraved with Chinese characters "Tianya Haijiao" (end of the earth and corner of the sea) and "Nantian Yizhu"(the huge rock that emerges from the sea, making a "corner") are most famous.According to legend, two lovers form two hostile clans once escape here. They swore that they would never separate no matter where they traveled and what happened. Constantly pursued by troops from both clans, they were forced to leap into the sea from this spot. People believe that this couple later changed to two huge rocks, which stand facing the sea. Moved by the loyal love between the two lovers, today, many couples come here to declare their love and promise that they would go to the "end of the earth" for one another.
Luhuitou Hill lies 5 kilometers south of Sanya city, on the side of Sanya Bay, with a deer-shaped peak extending to the sea. The hill leans against the sea in its three sides and is green all over the year. It is said that once upon a time, a young hunter of the Li nationality from Wuzhishan range (Five Fingers Mountain Range), after tramping over several hills and dales, chased a deer to the cliff by the seaside. The deer looked back and became a beautiful young girl of the Li nationality. Then they got married and lived a life of "men plough the fields and women weave" there. For multiplying generation by generation, a village of the Li nationality came into being. Since that time, the place has got its name of Luhuitou Byland. Now, Luhuitou Hill serves as a park, with a 12-meter- high deer statue stands on its top to reappear the myth. Occupying the top of the hill, you can easily have a bird's eye viewing of the beautiful landscape of Sanya city, especially at night.
Called the Hawaii of Asia, Sanya is a popular tourist destination located in the southern tip of the Chinese tropical island of Hainan. Located in Sanya, the Yalong Bay and the neighbouring Sanya Bay and Da Dong Hai Resort are regarded as the best beach in China. Enjoying the same latitude and similar weather conditions as Hawaii, the Sanya Beach in recent years has been the main attraction. The water is clear, reflecting the blue sky and white clouds in it. Playing in the water with the tropical fish swimming around, swimmers can fully relax themselves. In order to protect the marine resource and environment, commercial fishing is forbidden here. With a long coastline and a tropical temperature throughout the year, this is a perfect resort to relax - and enjoy the sun, sea, sand, coconut trees, diving etc.Yalong Bay Sea Shell Museum, covering an area of over 3,000 square meters,is located at Central Square of Yalong Bay National Resort. It is the first comprehensive sea shell museum in China, merging the shellfish and shell product display into an integral whole.
The world-famous Shaolin Temple is located at the foot of the Wuru Peak of the Shaoshi Mountain of Dengfeng, a little more than 50 miles southwest of Henan's provincial capital, Zhengzhou.Built in 495 during the reign of Emperor Taihe of the Northern Wei Dynasty, the temple was originally designed to house Batuo, a celebrated Indian monk, who, after many years of spreading Buddhism, was later known as Fo Tuo, or Grand Monk. Then in 527 AD, Bodhidharma, an ancinent Indian monk known to the Chinese as Da Mo, came here and started the Zen sect, which is regarded as the "ancestral (first) court" of the Chinese Buddhism. It is reported that he lived here for nine years until his death in 535. Some accounts relate that Da Mo, seeing the monks becoming fat and lazy due to the sitting meditation, came up with walking meditations that imitated the natural motions of animals and birds that eventually evolved into a form of unarmed combat or martial arts (Wu Shu or Kung Fu). That started the kung-fu tradition at the temple. At the beginning of the seventh century, a tiny army of 13 Shaolin monks were reputed to have saved future Tang Dynasty emperor Li Shimin, by defeating an entire division of the ruling Sui Dynasty's army and helping him break out of prison. When he took power, Li showered favors, land and wealth on the temple. Shaolin then thrived as a center of kung-fu masters from around the country. At its heyday, it housed more than 3,000 solider-monks.
White Horse Temple
White Horse Temple (Baima Temple) is located 12 km away from Luoyang City, the capital of Henan province. Established by the Han Dynasty in 68 AD when Buddhism started to spread, this temple is believe to be the first Buddhist temple built by the government in China. According to historical records, Emperor Ming of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 - 220 AD) once sent his minister on a diplomatic mission to western region to learn about Buddhism. After finished study, they came back with two eminent Indian dignitary monks - She Moteng and Zhu Falan, and a white horse carried the sutra and the figure of Buddha. In order to memorialize the white horse's contribution of taking back the sutra, Emperor Ming ordered the construction of the temple and named it White Horse Temple.White Horse Temple was regarded as the "originating court" and the "cradle of Chinese Buddhism" by the Buddhist disciples. Since its establishment, White Horse Temple has experienced vicissitudes of centuries. It was rebuilt for several times, in which the restoration during the reign of Emperor Wu Zetian was especially notable in its large scale.
Harbin is an enchanting city with natural beauty and the Songhua River winding through it. The most beautiful natural scenery is found along the Songhua River in the northern part of the city, extending some 10 kilometers. On the south portion of the river, three parks (Nine-station Park, Stalin Park and Dawai Park all connected to the other), form the longest park along a river in China. On the north side of the river is the Sun Island Tourist Zone. Three big bridges have been built over the river. While taking a river cruise, you will surely be attracted by the beautiful flowers, swaying willow trees, and the magnificent towers and pavilions on both sides. The banks of Songhua River and the island found in the middle are ideal natural tourist attractions and sun bathing areas. The lofty Commemoration Tower of Victory over Flood, the flying Songhua River Road Bridge, the exquisite River Club, the magnificent circular Labor's Stadium, along with skillful art carvings in Stalin Park and constructions with childhood color all make the Songhua River look much more supple and graceful and appealing.
Guiyuan Buddhist Temple
Guiyuan Temple, situated on Cuiwei Street, is one of the four biggest temples for Buddhist meditation in Hubei as well as an important Buddhist temple in China.First built in the early Qing dynasty (1644-1911) by two monks named Baiguang and Zhufeng on the base of Sunflower Garden owned by a poet, the temple got its name form Buddhist chants: "With purity kept in mind, one has the thoroughfare everywhere." Guiyuan Temple has survived through more than 300 hundred years of repeated cycles of prosperity and decline, above all else, it is always leading the other temple in Wuhan with prosperous public worship, flourishing Buddhist ceremony and many pilgrims. The temple was destroyed and rebuilt for several times in its history and the present temple dates from the early Republic of China (1912-1949). Covering an area of 46,900 square meters with a floor space of 20,000 square meters, the temple mainly consists of Daxiongbaodian Hall, Arhat Hall, Sutra Collection Pavilion, etc. Guiyuan Temple was in fashion for a time although its history was shorter than White Horse Temple, the best Buddhist Temple in China. It is famous not only for spreading Buddhism throughout the whole country, but also for perfect architecture, excellent sculpture and rich collection of Buddhist doctrine among Buddhist temples. In 1956 Guiyuan Temple was listed as preserved antiques unit of Hubei province and in 1983, it was appointed as one of the key Buddhist temple of Han nationality district in China by the State Council.
Yellow Crane Tower
Yellow Crane Tower, located on Snake Hill in Wuchang, is one of the "Three Famous Towers South of Yangtze River (the other tw Yueyang Tower in Hunan and Tengwang Tower in Jiangxi). Legend goes that that here used to be a wine-shop opened by a young man surnamed Xin. One day, a Taoist priest, in order to thank the man for his favor of free wine, drew a magic crane on the wall and told it to dance on hearing claps. Since then, thousands of people came to see the spectacle and the wine shop was always full of guests. After 10 years, when the Taoist priest's revisit the wine shop, he played the flute and then rode on the crane to the sky. In order to memorize the supernatural encounter and the priest, the Xins built a tower here named Yellow Crane Tower. According to records, the tower was first built in 223 A.D during the Three Kingdoms period (220-280). After completion, the tower once served as a gathering place for celebrities and poets to make merry and compose poetry. It was estimated that up to the Tongzhi Reign of the Qing dynasty, as many as 300 poems about the tower had been found in the historical literature, in which "Yellow Crane Tower" wrote by Cui Hao, a famous poet of Tang dynasty (618-907) made the tower well known throughout China.
Wulingyuan Scenic Area
Wulingyuan in Zhangjiajie, northwest Hunan Province, extends over 23,490 square kilometers. The central area of 369 square kilometers includes Zhangjiajie, Suoxi Valley and Tianzi Mount.. It is a natural zoo, botanical garden and geological park and is famous for its peaks, caves, springs and dense forests. It was listed as a world heritage in 1992. Zhangjiajie lies at the center of the Wulingyuan Scenic Area and is 13.34 square kilometers in area. Surface erosion by water has resulted in a basin surrounded by cliffs. Forest coverage in the area is as high as 97.7 percent and there are several thousand different shaped peaks. The area is a natural maze with its unique and wild surroundings and there are now five itineraries to 80 scenic spots. Yellow Lion Village is 1,200 meters above sea level and sits on a plateau at the top of several cliffs. It covers an area of 20 hectares and from a distance it seems like a squatting male lion. At the northern end of the plateau is Heicongnao Stone Peak which is covered by pine trees, some of them are dozens of meters high and with trunks so thick that two people could not encircle them with outstretched arms; they are part of a dense primeval forest. One of the more popular trips in Zhangjiajie is the Golden Whip Stream itinerary. The stream's zig-zags for more than 20 kilometers through an area bordered by cliffs and is known as "a natural gallery of mountain and river pictures." Standing at 1,334 meters above sea level the highest peak is called Rabbits Watch the Moon. Stands of dove trees make the peak a good place to appreciate nature.
It lies in the west bank of Xiang River in Changsha City. The landscape is mainly composed of Lushan Mountain and the nearby rivers, ponds, plants and animals gardens and personnel landscape. Here the climate is warm and comfortable. The main peak in 300 meters high. It lies in the west bank of Xiang River in Changsha City. The landscape is mainly composed of Lushan Mountain and the nearby rivers, ponds, plants and animals gardens and personnel landscape. Here the climate is warm and comfortable. The main peak in 300 meters high.Yuelu Mountain is composed of natural scenery and personnel landscape. The natural scenery is strange, quiet, treasure and beautiful. In the landscape there are several thousand kinds of plants, among which there are a lot of famous and rare plants such as privet, ginkgo, camphor, spinulose tree, quassia, sweet gum, Chinese honey locustbladder catchfly. Besides, there are a lot of famous and rare birds and animals such as babbler, loriot, cuckoo, owl, woodpecker, parrot and fox, goat, pheasant. Yuelu Mountain is one of Eight Attractions in Xiaoxiang.Yuelu Mountain has brilliant personnel landscape. For example, the poem written by Du Mu, "Stop the car and watch the maple leaves until late, the leaves covered by frost are more red than the flowers in February."
Mt. Hengshan, known as South Mountain, ranks the first among the five sacred mountains in China. It is located in Hengyang, the second largest city in Hunan Province. It is also a famous mountain worshipped by Buddhists in China. Mt. Hengshan extends 150 kilometers. The highest peak of the mountain is called Zhurong Peak, 1,290 meters above the sea level. On the top, the Shaolin Temple and Watching Sunrise Platform are the best scenic spots.The mountain boats many temples, among which the biggest is the Nanyue Temple, which covers an area of 100,000 square meters and which is the largest group of ancient buildings in Hunan province. The temple has nine courtyards and the main hall is 22 meters high, supported by 72 stone pillars, which symbolize the 72 peaks of the mountain. The temple, glazed in red and yellow, is linked with many other buildings and represents a grand palace complex.Among the temples in the mountain, the Fuyan Temple is known as the nation's "temple of Buddhist doctrine" and the "Seven Founders' Temple to Perform Buddhist Rites". The Nantai Temple was built during the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368) and is regarded as the origin of a Buddhist branch in Japan. In addition, the Tripitaka Temple, which is famous for its delicacy, the Fangguang Temple, which is quiet, and the Water-screen Cave, which is mysterious, are all spots of interest.
Located in the counties of Antu, Wusong and Changbai in southern Jilin Province, Changbaishan is one of China's nature preservation zones, covering an area of over 200,000 hectares, extending 78.5 kilometers north to south, and 53.3 kilometers west to east. It has a wholesome natural environment and ecosystem with world famous precious animals like Northeast Tigers, sikas, sables etc. It's China's typical comprehensive nature existence of world importance.The Crater Lake:- It nestles on Baitoushan (The White-Head Mountain), the main peak of the Changbaishan and is also a border lake between China and Korea. Surrounded by 16 exotic peaks, the lake is the crater of a volcano, filled with blue waters, known as "The Heavenly Lake". The basin-shaped lake, 2155 meters above sea level, and 313 meters deep at maximum, encompasses an area of 9.2 square kilometers. It's a typical high mountain lake. The lake waters keep flowing out, without causing apparent change in its water level. The two white rivers of the upper reaches of the second Songhua River originate here. The inner side of the lake bank is craggy cliffs formed by rough-surface rocks and white pumice stones, which make the Lake resemble a marble bowl carved with uncanny workmanship. The surface of the Lake is smooth as a mirror, with the reflections of grotesque cliffs upon it in numerous exotic shapes.
Nanjing is the capital city of Jiangsu with a population of 4.5 million. Owing to its superior geographic location, the city has remained the transportation center of the Yangzi Delta region. Once prospering on its shipyards, Nanjing has now grown into a commercial hub and cultural center of southeast China. For almost 2,000 years, Nanjing ("China's Southern Capital") has witnessed some of the most significant events in Chinese history, including its position as nationa's capital during the Six Dynasties (220-589 AD) and the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279 AD), the onset of Ming Dynasty in 1368 by Zhu Yuanzhang who made Nanjing capital for almost two decades, the signing of the Sino-British treaty in 1842 that ceded Hong Kong to Britain, and its most painful moment known as "Rape of Nanjing" when Japanese troops brutally slaughtered 300,000 civilians in 1937. Many of these events are recorded in the Nanjing Museum. For tourists, Nanjing is one of China's most attractive cities. The city has a balanced layout between traditional and modern architecture. Its many broad boulevards are well shaded from the summer heat by tall trees. The river bank by the Yangzi River irradiates nice and peaceful night views; the beautiful and quiet Xuanwu Lake and its forested islands smooth out the tough edges of a commercial metropolitan ...
The long history of Suzhou City has left behind many attractive scenic spots and historical sites with beautiful and interesting legends. The elegant classical gardens, the old - fashioned houses and delicate bridges hanging over flowing waters in the drizzling rain, the beautiful lakes with undulating hills in lush green, the numerous scenic spots and historical sites, and the exquisite arts and crafts, etc. have made Suzhou a renowned historical and cultural city full of eternal and poetic charm. Suzhou was the capital of the Wu State during the Spring and Autumn Period. In 514 BC, by the command of King He Lu of Wu, his senior minister Wu Zixu built the Great City of He Lu, and its wall measured 23.5 kilometres in circumsference with 8 pairs of land - and - water gates. The city began to take the name of Suzhou and Gusu City during the Sui Dynasty. Numerous changes have taken place in Suzhou through its vast history. Yet, in spite of repeated devastation, the city is still seated exactly on the original site as it was 2500 years ago, which is indeed an instance rarely found in the world.
Located in southwest Kunshan County in Jiangsu Province, Zhouzhuang is a famous town crisscross with rivers and lakes in South China. It is renowned for its quiet and exquisite surroundings and simple and ancient houses. The original construction style characteristic of a market town on a water land, has basically remained unchanged through the past 500 years. Over 50% of the buildings were constructed in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Nearly 100 old houses with courtyards and over 60 carved-brick arches have still been preserved.In Zhouzhuang, there are 10 stone arch bridges picturesquely arranged. These old bridges appear all the more hoary with grotesque trees growing out of the arches and vines hanging down, and covered with dark green moss here and there. Viewed from the balustraded bridges, one can appreciate the life-style of the waterside dwellers as well as the scenery of farmhouses and fields. The upside-down reflections of the bridges in the clear rippling water present a fantastic scene of myriad bridges.The revetments, ferry crossings, river ports and bridge passages are all marked with striking features of a water land. Zhouzhuang is filled with the elegance and charm typical of an ancient town in South China, and so fascinating with streets flanked by flat houses with a river at the back, the overhead building projections spanning a lane and the roads topped with flat and smooth slates as well as row upon row of small towers and pavilions.
Dalian is an important and best-known summer resort and tourist city in the north of China. With a mild climate and distinctive seasons, it attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world. Tiger BeachThere is a touching folklore about Tiger Beach. It is a love story about a hunter and a beautiful girl. They fell in love at first sight. A tiger demon lusted after the charming of the girl and possessed her. The hunter vowed to take his lover back. After a fierce battle, the hunter killed the tiger, but he lost his fair lady forever. Now in Tiger Beach Park, people still could find tiger cave and sharply-cut rocks.Swallow Nest Hill It is named after a group of black swallows. By the sea stands many precipitous rocks and sheer cliffs, on which black swallows settle their nests. On top of the hill, you may enjoy the view of vast sea and azure sky and diverse shapes of rocks, while listening to swallow's chirping and the sound of whitecaps. Isn't it a wonderful nature? Star-Sea Park Star-Sea Park is a 800-meter long, bow-shaped bathing beach. Black reefs scatter over the bay, appear indistinctly as the tide waves leap. It is a good place for bathing, swimming, diving, camping, boating, fishing and barbecuing. Ice Valley Ice Valley attract visitors with its unique landscape. The charming scenes are as intriguing as the famous Stone Forest and as delicate as Guilin Scenery with hills and waters. Legend tells Lee Shimin, a Tang Dynasty emperor, led his expedition and stopped in the valley in spring time. He was surprised to see that outside the valley was a world of green woods and colorful flowers whereas inside the valley was a space of ice and snow. The emperor named the place of wonder "Ice Valley".
Shenyang is the capital of Liaoning Province. The largest industrial city in northeast China, it has a population of 3.3 million. The most important historic site in the city is Shenyang Imperial Palace, the former residence of the Qing Dynasty founder Nurhachi and his successor Huangtaiji and the place where Emperor Shun Zhi, founding monarch of the Qing imperial rule had himself crowned. In 1644, the Qing government moved its capital to Beijing and since then, Shenyang Imperial Palace and Shengjing (Shenyang) came to be known merely as the "sacred place where the dragon took on wing". During their lifetime Qing rulers from Emperor Kang Xi to Emperor Dao Guang had come on eleven occasions to offer sacrifices to their ancestors in Shenyang.The second largest imperial palace only next to the former Imperial Palace in Beijing, Shenyang Imperial Palace is by itself a grand architectural conglomeration of halls, pavilions, towers and temples with carved beams and painted columns architectural styles of the Mongolian, Han and Manchu nationalities. The Zhaoling (or Northern Mausoleum) is the cemetery of Huangtaiji and his wife Borjigid and the Fuling (or Eastern Mausoleum) is where Nurhachi and his wife Yihnaran were buried.
Genghis Khan's Mausoleum
Genghis Khan, "Khan of Khans", was the great leader of Mongolians. At the end of 12th century, he united Mongolian tribes and challenged other powers to expand his huge Mongolian empire, which extended from South China to the Caspian Sea. In 1277, Khan attacked the West Xia Kingdom (presently Ningxia) and encountered strong resistance. He died of disease and age. The great emperor was later buried secretly according to Mongolian custom. It says that after the burial 2,000 men were slaughtered by some 800 soldiers who were in turn executed so that the location of the real tomb remains a secret.Genghis Khan's Mausoleum, rebuilt in 1954 185 kilometers south of Baotou, is a mausoleum, in which only his clothing is buried in memory of the great leader. The 5.5 hectares mausoleum includes three giant yurt halls which house coffins of the Khan, his wife, his son and his generals.There are four sacrifice ceremonies held annually to commemorate the great hero and leader of the Mongolian people. The ceremony, held on March 21st on lunar calendar, is the grandest. After the ceremony, horse racing, archery and wrestling are held as entertainment.
Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongalia Autonomous Region, has an area of 6 thousand square kilometers and a population of 1.41 million. Hohot is a historical and cultural city. It has many ancient relics, including Zhaojun Tomb, Five Pagoda Temple, and White Tower. It is also famous for barbecue and the production of mushrooms and hops. Zhaojun Tomb, which is called Green "Grave" of "Tmur Urhu" in Mongolian, is situated in the southern suburb of Hohhot, 9 kilometers away from the urban area. It is said that it is the tomb of Wang Zhaojun -- a maid in the imperial palace of the Emperor Yuan Di of the Han Dynasty -- volunteered to marry the chief Huhanye of Xiongnu Horde as a peace envoy. The tomb is an artificial earthen mound with a height of 33 meters. According to the legend, the green grass on the huge mound never turned yellow even when late autumn came. Five-Pagoda Temple is situated in the Wutasi-hou Street, Yuquan District, Hohhot. The construction of the temple began in the 5th year of the reign of the Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty. The Pagoda is 16.5 meters high and looks like a Buddha's Warrior Attendant's seat, with a base under it and five exquisite pagodas on the base. As more than 1560 relief sculptures of Buddha are engraved on the fivepagodas, the temple enjoys the reputation of being "a 10000-Buddha Tower". In addition, there are images of Bodhisattva, the four Devarajas, Buddhist Saint, Heavenly Ladies, holy birds and animal, bodhi trees and the engraved scriptures in Mongolian, Tibetan and Sanskrit on the wall of the pagodas. On the wall facing the temple there are 3 marble relief sculptures, including a planisphere marked with Mongolian inscriptions. The pagodas are not only peculiar buildings, but also a huge exquisite carving.
Imperial Tombs of Western Xia
Yuanhao assumed the imperial title, it was known as the Xia Kingdom. In 1227, Western Xia was conquered by Yuan emperor Tai Zu (Genghis Khan). The Western Xia had ten ruling emperors over a 190 year period. The sites of the imperial mausoleums were chosen nearby at the east foot of the Helan Mountains, 25 kilometers west of Yinchuan City. On the southeast corner at the foot of the Helan Mountains are two large mausoleums, probably Jialing and Yuling mausoleums of Li Jiqian and Li Demin, who were posthumously designated Emperor Tai Zu and Emperor Tai Zong. The architectural arrangement of the mausoleum area makes these two mausoleums most prominent, followed by others built later.Like other imperial tombs, Western Xia mausoleums were composed of two architectural units, the mausoleum gardens above ground and underground palaces. All the mausoleum gardens faced south, and their architectural forms above ground have some unique characteristics, though they are quite similar to mausoleums of the Tang and Northern Song dynasties in Gongxian County, .
Qinghai Province is a sparking jewel set on the northwest plateau of China, wherein the Yangtze River, the Yellow River as well as the Mekong River take their source. The scenic quality of Qinghai's widely varying landscape is superb and enticing, offering from the ranges of gleaming mountains with glacier-capped peaks over 6000 meters high to the gobi desert dunes of Qaidam, from lush ranchland to the sapphire-like lakes of vast area, all this has created a land of marvel, mystery and diversity. Qinghai Lake is a photographer and artist's paradise of mirrored pastel sunrises, azure beauty in midday and the indigo blues of sunset. The Bird Island on the western tip hosts hundreds of thousand migrate birds, hovering over the sky or diving into the water. Great Lamasery of Kumbum (Taer Lamasery), still one of the living and the most important for believers, was built in 1560. With Tsongkhapa, who found the Yellow sect of lamas and was born in here, all solemn religious celebrations observed here to his honor. The excellent collection in Kumbum are an eyeful of classic Chinese-Tibetan architecture which has been preserved in best condition for centuries and its three typical Tibetan Supreme Arts developed by Kumbum's lama artists, that is evident in Yak Butter Sculpture, Frescoes and Embossed Embroidery.
The Hukou Waterfalls of the Yellow River is the only Yellow Waterfall on earth. The river narrows and cascades dramatically into a stone pond more than 30 meters below, creating the famous Hukou Waterfalls. The gentle water turbulent and gains speed as it rushed forward till it finally cascades over the waterfall, forming an illusion of water being poured from a kettle, hence its name "Hukou or Kettle spout". Like thousands of tumbling dragons or enraged animals that have just been set free, the yellow water plunged down, the pounding against the stones echoes like thunder. The most dramatic changes occur during deep winter and early spring when the river surface becomes frozen. Sometimes, the subsidiary falls freeze into icicles, creating images of crouching beast on top of the cliffs.
Yungang Caves, one of China's four most famous "Buddhist Caves Art Treasure Houses", is located about sixteen kilometers west of Datong, Shanxi Province. There exists 53 caves, most of which are made during the Northern Wei Dynasty between 460 and 494 AD, and over 51, 000 stone sculptures. It extends one kilometer from east to west and can be fallen into three major groups. The first group (including Cave 1, Cave 2, Cave 3 and Cave 4) are at the eastern end separated from others. Cave 1 and Cave 2 have suffered from rigors of time and the weather. Cave 3, an afterthought after the Northern Wei Dynasty, is the largest grotto among Yungang caves.Tours normally begin from the second group ranging from Cave 5 to Cave 13.Yungang art manifests its best in this group. Cave 5 contains a seated Buddha with a height of 17 meters. In Cave 6, a 15-meter-high two storey pagoda pillar stands in the center of chamber and the life of the Buddha from birth to the attainment of nirvana is carved in the pagoda walls and the sides of the cave. The Bodhisattva was engraved in Cave 7. The rare seen Shiva Statue in Yungang with eight arms and four heads and riding on a bull is illustrated in Cave 8. Cave 9 and Cave 10 are notable for front pillars and figures bearing musical instruments. Musicians playing instruments also appear in Cave 12. Cave 13 has the Buddha statue with a giant figurine supporting its right arm.
Fengdu Ghost City
Fengdu is located on the northern bank of the Yangtze River, about 170Kms downstream from Chongqing. Know as the "Ghost City" to most Chinese People, it is a popular shore excursion site on the Yangtze.Fengdu got its reputation as the "Ghost City" in the Eastern Han Dynasty. Two officials from the imperial court: Wang Fangping and Yin Changsheng, got bored with the political life in the court and came to Mt. Minshan outside Fengdu City to practice Taoist teachings. Both of them later became immortals by carrying out self-cultivation. This story widely spread and Mt. Minshan became famous. When combined together, their surnames Yin and Wang, sound very much like "King of Hell" in Chinese. Hence the people began to call Fengdu the "Ghost City".To Chinese, the social structure in the hell is exactly like that in this world. In hell, a sprit would go through a whole and complete bureaucracy to get the final sentence. The pure spirits would be rewarded and the sinful ones would be severely tortures. Different tortures would be given to different sins. The Temple built on Mt. Minshan display instruments of torture and wide demon images, which vividly depict the Chinese people's imagination of Hell. Landmarks on the hill bear horrible name - Ghost Torturing Pass, Last-Glance at Home Tower, nothing-to-be-done Bridge and the River of Blood.
Turpan is located in a depression with the area of more than 1000 square kilometers of the eastern part of Xinjiang and some 80 meters below the sea level. And nearby the Moon Lake, or Eding Lake in local language, the lowest water surface is 154 meters below the sea level, the second lowest continental point in the world after the Dead Sea. Turpan is called the Land of Fire, which was derived from the intense summer temperature, the highest ever recorded was 47.5oC and in summer the ground surface temperature is about 70oC. The Depression is characterized by high temperature and rare perspiration, so it is hot but it is not wet, during summer, although it is extremely hot, the streets are full of people. The water from the surrounding mountains and underflow nourishes the depression. And the local people developed a unique irrigation system: ”Karez”, by which water is introduced to the agricultural oasis surrounded by desert. Turpan is famous for its grapes produce. Once in Turpan Depression, one has a feeling that as if he was in a land of grapes, The Grape Gauge, about 8 kilometers in length, is one with grapevines grown on the slopes of the both sides, and deep into the Gauge, there is a tourist resort, shaded by grapevines and from late June to early October, clusters of grapes hanging overhead and the mineral water flowing from under the rocks make the resort a great attraction. In fact, the city proper itself is one that is surrounded or covered by grapevines. Many streets themselves are vineyards or trellises with grapevines, together with the fruit stands the whole city is a mixture of the fruit orchard and market, since 1990, the Grape festival held in the city becomes a great attraction not only to business people, but people from all over the world.
Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, is located in an alluvial fan-shaped basin on the northern slope of the Tianshan Mountains. The city opens on to the Junggar Basin in the north. In the Mongolian language, Urumqi means "Beautiful Meadow." Hongshan Hongshan Mountain is the highest spot in the center of the city. Hongshan's main peak is 464 meters above sea level. With towering crags, the mountain was named after the cliffs, which gleam red in the sun's rays every morning and evening. The upper part of the mountain looks like the head of a tiger, so it is also called "Tiger Head Mountain." It faces Yamalike Mountain, less than 1,000 meters away. At the foot of the mountain is the Urumqi River, flowing from north to south. On the top of Hongshan Mountain is a statue of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) national hero Lin Zexu. Standing at the "Yuantiao (looking far into the distance) Tower" on the mountain, one can view the whole city. Heaven Lake Tianchi (Heaven Lake) Natural Landscape Reserve is located at the foot of 5,44-meter Bogda Peak, the highest mountain in the eastern part of the Tianshan range. It covers an area of 158 square kilometers, including the 71-square-kilometer Tianchi Scenic Area, within which are 20 major scenic spots.
In 641, after marrying Princess Wencheng, Songtsen Gampo decided to build a grand palace to accommodate her and let his descendants remember the event. However, the original palace was destroyed due to a lightening strike and succeeding warfare during Landama's reign. In seventeenth century under the reign of the Fifth Dalai Lama, Potala was rebuilt. The Thirteenth Dalai Lama expanded it to today's scale. The monastery-like palace, reclining against and capping Red Hill, was the religious and political center of old Tibet and the winter palace of Dalai Lamas. The palace is more than 117 meters (384 feet) in height and 360 (1180 feet) in width, occupying a building space of 90 thousand square meters. Potala is composed of White Palace and Red Palace. The former is for secular use while the later is for religious.The White Palace consists of offices, dormitories, a Buddhist official seminary and a printing house. From the east entrance of the palace, painted with images of Four Heavenly Kings, a broad corridor upwards leads to Deyang Shar courtyard, which used to be where Dalai Lamas watched operas. Around the large and open courtyard, there used to be a seminary and dormitories. West of the courtyard is the White Palace. There are three ladder stairs reaching inside of it, however, the central one was reserved for only Dalai Lamas and central government magistrates dispatched to Tibet. In the first hallway, there are huge murals describing the construction of Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple and the procession of Princess Wencheng reaching Tibet. On the south wall, visitors will see an edict signed with the Great Fifth's handprint. The White Palace mainly serves as the political headquarter and Dalai Lamas' living quarters. The West Chamber of Sunshine and the East Chamber of Sunshine lie as the roof of the White Palace. They belonged to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama respectively. Beneath the East Chamber of Sunshine is the largest hall in the White Palace, where Dalai Lamas ascended throne and ruled Tibet.
Jokhang Temple is the spiritual center of Tibet. Everyday pilgrims from every corner of Tibet trek a long distance to the temple. Some of them even progress prostrate by body length to the threshold of the temple. Pilgrims fuel myriad of flickering butter lamps with yak butter, or honor their deities with white scarves (Kha-btags or Hada) while murmuring sacred mantras to show their pieties to the Buddha. It lies at the center of the old Lhasa. Built in 647 by Songtsen Gampo and his two foreign wives, it has a history of more than 1,300. It was said that Nepal Princess Tritsun decided to build a temple to house the Jowo Sakyamuni aged 12 brought by Chinese Princess Wencheng. Princess Wencheng reckoned according to Chinese astrology that the temple should be built on the pool where the Jokhang now locates. She contended that the pool was a witch's heart, so the temple should be built on the pool to get rid of evils. The pool still exists under the temple. Then goats were used as the main pack animals, as is the reason the city is called Lhasa. The construction took 12 months. However it was originally small and had been expanded to today's scale in later dynasties. When the Fifth Dalai Lama took reign, large-scale reconstruction and renovation had been done. The temple is a combination of Han, Tibetan and Nepalese architectural techniques. Visitors will see sphinx and other weird and sacred sculptures.
Known also as Kunming lake, Lake Dian is located at the foot of the Western Hills south-west of Kunming city in Yunnan Province. Being a bright and smooth highland lake, it's reputed as "A Pearl on the Yungui Plateau". The picturesque lake, dotted with sails, appears green and boundless and shining with ripples. Along its 150 kilometers long winding bank, lies numerous scenic spots and historical sites such as the Grand View Pavilion, West Garden, the Lake Embankment. The Grand View Pavilion:- Located at the lake's northern bank, it was built in the 29th year of Kangxi Reign in the Qing Dynasty (1690 AD). It's an exquisite structure with upturned roof-corners and eaves. Looking to the south, one has a fascinating view of the spectacular Lake Dian, and the graceful and full shape of the distant "Sleeping Beauty Mountain" shrouded in white clouds. The lake is surrounded by lush growth of trees and plants, with peony in full bloom in spring, and chrysanthemum blossoms found all over the place in autumn. The golden calligraphy of the Grand View Pavilion in bold Chinese characters sparkles brilliantly.
Lijiang is a beautiful shining jewel on the Northwest Yunnan Plateau neighboring the southeast side of the Tibetan Plateau which is considered to be the "Roof of the World" . It is impressive because of its scenery and lush vegetation.Lijiang boasts of breath-taking wonderful sights such as Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and its modern maritime glacier, the only one of its kind in the southern end of the Northern Hemisphere; Tiger Leaping Gorge; the world - famous grand canyon; Lugu Lake, the cultural cradle of the "Matriarchy" of the Yongning Mosuo people in Ninglang.Lijiang Town is officially called "Dayan Town"-- "Dayan" literally means a "great inkstab", a graphic description of the town's location on a piece of rich flatland fed by a river and surrounded by green mountains. There is no other town in China like Dayan which incorporates the folkways of so many people and the architectural styles of both north and south China.The people of Naxi, while developing their land of snow-clad mountains and turbulent rivers since ancient times, have to their credit the "Dong Ba Culture" seen as one of the world wonders, a culture all-embracing while unique.All these natural sceneries and these cultural treasures of the minority peoples have been continuously drawing tourists from all over the world and have recently vote Lijiang as one of the favorite destinations in China.
The Stone Forest lies about 80 miles to the southeast of Kunming. A geological phenomenon, the Stone Forest was a vast expanse of sea during the Paleozoic era--some 270 million years ago. Later, the movement of tectonic plates altered the earth's crust, causing the sea to recede and its limestone bottom to appear, thereby forming land. Due to the constant seeping of rain through the cracks in the limestone, some of the stone formation dissolved and the fissures broadened, producing a group of great sculptures of different shapes, all molded by nature. In the midst of the forest, there is a huge rock screen on which two words--Stone Forest--are engraved in official script (in a calligraphic style typical of the Han Dynasty, 206 B.C.-220 A.D.). Among the scenic sights is the "Sword Peak Pond" with jadeite-colored water so clear that one can see the bottom of the pond. Other astonishing sights include "Figure of Ashima," "Shi Ba Xiang Song" (its name originating in the Chinese love story, "Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai"), and "Lotus Peak."
In the year 1993, James Hilton described an eternally peaceful and quiet place among mountains in the East--- "Shangri-La" in one of his novels for the first time. In the novel "Lost Horizon", an English diplomat Conway and his brother Gorge scattered the English citizens and helped them leave the dangerous region. On their way home, their plane was hijacked and fell down into the mountain in the Tibetan region. Some lucky survivors were taken to Shangri-la where Conway found lots of fantastic things in such a state founded nearly 200 years ago, in which the local people lived up to more than one hundred years old and lived peacefully and harmoniously with the other people, animals and everything here. The place was called "Shangri-La" by the local folks.James Hilton located "Shangri-La" in a mysterious valley which was surrounded by snowcapped mountains; near where there were snow-clad peaks, blue lakes, broad grassy marshlands, and lamaseries, Buddhist nunneries, mosques, Catholic Church, the human beings and the nature were in perfect harmony, several religions and varies of nationalities exited at the same time; the temples looked splendid in green and golden; though people contacted the outer world by caravan for a long time, many foreign experts and scholars had come here to investigate and remained much relics...
Xishuangbanna is the southernmost prefecture of Yunnan Province. The prefecture is nicknamed " Aerial Garden " for its luxuriant and multi-layered primitive woods and tropical rain forests, which are teeming with animals and plants. Renowned as a huge natural zoo, Xishuangbanna's rain forest and monsoon jungles provide a habitat for nearly 1000 species of animals. Within thick and boundless forests wild elephants and wild oxen ramble about, with peacocks in their pride, gibbons at play, and hornbills whispering.Thirteen species of wild life enjoy state protection, including loris, the gibbons, the red-necked cranes, the brown-neck horn-bills, and the green peacocks, which to the Dai people are a symbol of peace, happiness and good fortune and whose graceful postures can put professional dancers to shame. The region has 5,000 kinds of plants or about one-sixth of the total in China. This has earned it the renown and sobriquet " The moonstone on the Crown of the Kingdom of Plants ".Among these are such fascinating ones as the " color-changing flower " whose colors change three times daily and the "dancing herb " whose leaves rotate gently. Then there is " mysterious fruit " which reverse tastes, turning sour to sweet.Species of trees that go back a million years are still propagating themselves. The " King of Tea Trees ," which authorities say is at least 800 years old, continues to sprout, adding extraordinary splendor to the homeland of the famous Pu'er tea. In Xishuangbanna, there is a saying: "Even a single tree can make a forest and an old stalk can blossom and beat fruit ."
Putuo Mountain, one of the Four Holy Buddhist Mountains, covers an area of 12.5 square kilometers. The highest peak, the Fudingshan Mountain is 300 meters high above the sea level. Temples, monasteries, nunneries are spread all over the mountain. According to the annals of Putuo Mountain, after the construction of "Unwilling-to-go" Guanyin Temple, people began to build up temples in large scales. The remained ten ancient architecture complex and historical sights were built in Song, Yuan, Ming, Qing. Putuo Mountain once had 82 temples, 128 huts, accommodating 4,000 monk and nuns at its heyday. When you walk on the paths, you probably can come across monks in kasaya. The glorious sceneries as well as the glamour concerned with Buddhism make it a sacred mountain. Puji Temple, Fayu Temple, and Huiji Temple are the three largest in the twenty temples in Putuo. Puji Temple, covering 11,000 square meters, was first built in Song Dynasty, and is the main temple devoted to the Goddess of Guanxin. Fayu Temple was first built in Ming. It sits along the mountain with different layers on it. Numerous large trees stand in the mountain, qualify the temple for a quiet and deep place. Huiji Temple is on the Foding Peak, so gets a name after that, Foding Peak Temple.Bizarre rocks and queer cliffs can be seen everywhere. The most famous twenty are Qingtuo Rock, Rock of Two Tortoises Listening to Preaching, Rock of Buddhist Heaven on Sea, etc. Along the line where the mountain connects with the sea, many spectacular caves are very attractive. Chaoyin Cave and Fanyin Cave are the two top ones.
The famous West Lake is like a brilliant pearl embedded in the beautiful and fertile shores of the East China Sea near the mouth of the Hangzhou Bay. The lake covers an area of 5.6 square kilometers. The view of the West Lake is simply enchanting, which offers many attractions for tourists at home and abroad. Tiger-running Spring The legend goes that two tights ran there and made a hole where a spring gushed out. The Longjing Tea and the Tiger-running Spring water are always reputed as the "Two Wonders of the West Lake". The Lingyin Monastery The Lingyin Monastery, or the Monastery of Soul's Retreat, is a famous historical site of the West Lake. Here exists the Lingyin Monastery, a famous ancient temple in China, in front of which there are Feilai Peak, Cold Spring, Longhong Cave and precious rock cave arts and queer and varied natural caves and gullies. Spring Dawn at Su Causeway It's a 2.8 km. long boulevard cutting across the south-north scenic area, and lined with trees and flowering plants. When Spring comes with crimson peach blossoms and green willows; the scenery is all the more charming. Strolling along the boulevard, one feels as if the West Lake were wakening in dawn mist. Young willows were ethereal, spring breeze so caressing, and birds were chirping in unison.
The Fuchun River-Xin’an River-Qiandao Lake scenic area is a picturesque waterway. As long as 300 kilometers, it covers more than 1100 square kilometers. With numerous tourist attractions, its scenery is especially enchanting. The Xin’an River is in the upper reaches of the Qiantang River, flowing through cities like Chun’an and Jiande. Flanked by a thick forest of trees, the clear river, with many shoals and rapids, winds its way through hilly areas. It is blocked by a big dam within Jiande --- the dam for the Xin’an River reservoir and power station. The reservoir boasts 1078 islets; hence the name 1000-Islet (Qiandao) Lake. This 573-square-kilometer lake, over 100 meters in depth, is 109 times the size of the West Lake in Hangzhou. It has a storage capacity of 17.8 billion cubic meters. Surrounded by verdant mountains, the crystal-clear lake is dotted by islets with luxuriant vegetation, like plenty of jadeite in a big mirror. While going boating on the lake, one finds “a lake within hills and a hill within lakes”. One can not only enjoy the boundlessness of Taihu Lake (one of China’s 4 biggest lakes) but also appreciate the gracefulness of West Lake. The water temperature remains about 14°C, pleasant both in summer and winter. Qiandao Lake is known for its numerous attractions, featuring green hills, beautiful waters, unusual caves, and fantastic rocks. More appealing among them are such islets as Longshan, Laoshan, Xianshan, Guihua, and Mishan. Besides, various kinds of animal are raised on many islets, including Monkey Islet, Bird Islet, and Snake Islet. The Fuchun River in the lower reaches of the Qiantang River traverses Tonglu, Fuyang, and Xiaoshan. Along the river are seen many sandbanks and rolling green hills. The current is slow moving and meandering. Stork Mountain, Yan Ziling’s Angling Terrace, Sailing on Qili Rapids, and Gourd Waterfalls are among the scenic spots downstream.