Top 10 Must-visit Historic Buildings for Experiencing Ancient Chinese Culture

December 17,2008 Editor:Peggy|

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Not only a pearl of the world's architectural art, diversified ancient Chinese architecture is also the epitome of the splendid Chinese culture and the crystallization of the ancient working people’s wisdom and efforts as well as a symbol of China as an ancient country with civilization. If you would like to know Chinese ancient culture, the following 10 historic buildings in China are what you can not miss.

The Palace Museum

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, it is to the north of Tiananmen Square. Rectangular in shape, it is the world's largest palace complex and covers 72 hectares. The Palace Museum is now one of the most popular tourist attractions world-wide.

Potala Palace

Potala Palace is located on the Red Hill of Lhasa, Tibet, 117 meters in height and 360 meters in width, covering an area of more than 130, 000 sq meters. Mainly comprised by the White Palace (administerial building) and the Red Palace (religious building), Potala Palace is famous for its grand buildings, complicated constructions, devotional atmosphere and splendid artworks.

Summer Palace

Situated in the western outskirts of Haidian District, the Summer Palace is 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from central Beijing. Containing examples of the ancient arts, it also has graceful landscapes and magnificent constructions. The Summer Palace is the archetypal Chinese garden, and is ranked amongst the most noted and classical gardens of the world.

Yongle Palace

Yongle Palace takes an area of 80,000 square meters and there are Longhu Palace, Sanqing Place, Chunyang Palace, Chongyang Palace. In these palaces, beautiful and magnificent frescos are decorated. Sanqing Palace is the main architecture in Yongle Palace. Frescos in Sanqing Palace were painted in Yuan Dynasty.

Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor (also called Qin Shihuang) stands on the foot of Lishan, 30km east to Xi'an. In addition to the discovered Terracotta Warriors Vaults and Bronze Horses Vault, there are more vaults containing other relics being discovered recently. As time goes by, it's bound to discover more relics. Mausoleum of Qin Shihuang boasts a Chinese history museum; therefore, it's well-known to the outside world.

Qian Mausoleum

The Qianling Mausoleum covers an area of 600 center meters. Emperor Gaozong and Empress Wu, the two emperors were buried together in one tomb. This is the first and the only case in Chinese history and even quite a rare one in the world. Most important of all, the joint burial mausoleum has not been robbed so far.

Zhaozhou Bridge

Zhaozhou Bridge, also called Great Stone Bridge, is a key cultural relic under national protection. The bridge has a history of 1400 years. It measures 64.4 meters long and 9.6 meters wide. It has a main arch and 4 small additional arches on both sides. The bridge was well-designed and looks elegant. Its guardrails, and posts on the bridge have beautiful and treasured carvings.

Yellow Crane Tower

The Yellow Crane Tower is on the border of the Yangtze River. It stands at the top of Snake Hill. It's splendid. Naturally, it becomes a well-known tourist attraction. The roof is covered by 100,000 yellow glazed tiles. With yellow upturned eaves, each floor seems to have been designed to resemble a yellow crane spreading its wings to fly.

Yueyang Pavilion

The Yueyang Pavilion is a three storey; rectangular building which reaches 15 meters high and is constructed entirely from wood. Surprisingly, no nails or beams have been used in its construction. This is a rare feature in classical architecture. Seen from a distance, the Yueyang Pavilion seems like a giant bird which is in flight. The red building with its yellow glazed roof tiles is a splendid and colorful sight.

Songyue Pagoda

The Songyue Temple Pagoda is the oldest extant large pagoda in China. It is the earliest multi-eave pagoda found so far. Both the main body and pedestal of the pagoda have twelve sides, making it the only such pagoda in the country. The exterior of the entire pagoda presents the contour of a smooth parabola, making it not only towering and magnificent, but also elegant and graceful, fully displaying the high artistic level of its design.


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