Destinations Magazine

Culture Vultures Part 3

By Honeymoonblogger

I’m going to conclude my little series of cultural honeymoons in the Far East with a country that has boasted a sophisticated and cultured civilization for millennia. China is a vast and diverse country with some astonishing cultural sites that rank amongst the wonders of the world. You’ll be bumping into history at every turn. I’ve picked out three attractions that I think must not be missed if you are jetting to this part of the world.


Culture Vultures Part 3

At the heart of historical Beijing lies the Forbidden City, an enormous palace compound that was home to the Chinese emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties and now houses the imperial Chinese art collections of the Palace Museum. Built in the fifteenth century the city complex is made up of 980 buildings covering a staggering 720,000 m2. The palace complex is considered to be the finest example of Chinese palatial architecture with the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987. Surrounding the Forbidden City are several former imperial gardens, the Beihai Park in particular is described as a masterpiece in Chinese gardening art.

One of Beijing’s best know religions sites is the Temple of Heaven which was visited annually by the emperors of both the Ming and Qing dynasties for payer ceremonies to Heaven for a good harvest. Built by the same emperor who constructed the Forbidden City the Temple has three main elements. The centrepiece is the magnificent Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest a circular triple gabled wooden building that was built without the use of nails.

The Terracotta Army, Lintong, Xian, Shaanxi Province

Culture Vultures Part 3

China’s infamous and amazing Terracotta Army is a must see if you’re intending to visit China. It was created for the first Emperor of China Qin Shi Huang who was obsessed with finding the secret to immortality. To improve his chances of life after death he had 70,000 workers build his tomb – a job that took 11 years.  The lucky ladies in Qin Shi Huang’s life (all 3000 of them) also followed him to the grave.

The tomb had 8,000 fantastic life-size clay warriors, which were discovered by some peasants in 1974. You can see 7,000 of the figures today and excavations continue at the site.  Arranged in battle formations the warriors are the stars of the onsite museum which covers a massive 16,300 square meters. The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. There are also chariots and horses and none military figures such as officials, acrobats, strongmen and museums. It’s estimated that there were originally the 8,000 warriors, 130 chariots, 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses with the majority still lying buried.

The Great Wall of China

Culture Vultures Part 3

The final destination has to be the Great Wall of China which is internationally recognised as one of the wonders of the world. The wall was initially constructed by the aforementioned Qin Shi Huang over 2,000 years ago. In Chinese the wall is called Wan-Li Qang-Qeng which means 10,000 Li Long Wall (about 5,000 km).

Qin Shi Huang connected 4 existing walls following his suppression and unification of the seven warring states of China. These walls originated in about 700 BC over 2,500 years ago. Armies were stationed along the wall as a first line of defence against the invading and nomadic Hsiung Nu tribes (more commonly known as the Huns) from the north of China.  The Great Wall stretches across the mountains of northern China, winds its way north and northwest of Beijing. And is so vast it can famously be seen from space when orbiting the earth.

China has so much to please history enthusiasts the above suggestions really only touch the sides. What really makes China special is the juxtaposition of the old and new fusing together as China has some of the world’s most up to the minute cities on its coastline. As Lonely Planet put it you can go from ‘noisy cities fizzing with energy to isolated mountain-top Ming-Dynasty villages where you can hear a pin drop’.

This week’s post concludes my little run on cultural honeymoon destinations. What do you think about my suggestions – will you be setting out on some serious honeymoon sightseeing now?

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog