UNESCO, an arm of the United Nations, has established a list of the World Heritage Sites, the Earth’s most significant places, based on historical, cultural, and aesthetic considerations. These places should be preserved so that all mankind can appreciate their legacy, their significance, and their beauty.
There are at least thirty (30) World Heritage Sites within China, and, although I have only visited seven of them, I am amazed at their quality, their significance, and their lasting value for the citizens of the world.
The Great Wall — Easily one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, despite the fact that it was begun some 2,000 years ago (the Ancients of Western Civilization knew nothing of the Chinese Empire). The wall snakes for over 1,000 miles through the northern part of this vast country. We visited the Great Wall at Badaling, the most popular section of the Wall for tourists.
The Great Wall at Badaling
Imperial Palaces of the Ming Dynasty in Beijing (the Forbidden City) — Once the exclusive domain of the Chinese Emperor and his invited guests, this incredible complex, in the center of downtown Beijing, is open for the world to see and to marvel at. From the Gate of Heavenly Peace, at the entrance to the complex on Tiananmen Square, to the private quarters and gardens of the Emperor, the exquisite structures epitomize the grandeur of Chinese culture and architecture.
Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor — Discovered in the mid-1970s, the tomb of this egotistical but creative ruler contains an entire army of Terra Cotta Warriors. The tomb is considered the most important archaeological find of the Twentieth Century.
Classical Gardens of Suzhou — Just an hour or so west of Shanghai is the greatest collection of classical Chinese gardens in the world. Solitude and tranquility is achieved through the use of water, stone, and landscaping, creating a wonderland of visual and spiritual sensations.
Summer Palace, Beijing — On the outskirts of China’s capital city is a peaceful retreat used by Chinese Emperors and their families for hundreds of years. It too is now open for the world to see and appreciate.
Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties — The Ming Tombs are a convenient stop along the route from downtown Beijing to the Great Wall. So many emperors were buried here that a special road, the Spirit Way, lined with interesting statues, was built for subsequent rulers and other visitors to walk along as they came to pay homage to their ancestors.
South China Karst — Come to Guilin to experience scenery which is more surreal than anywhere else in the world. The Li River winds its way from Guilin to Yangshuo through a veritable wonderland of unusual shapes and “gumdrop” hills, the result of glacial geology at its most creative.