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China – Places to See

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Visit the Great Wall

The Badaling Great Wall, selected as one of Top 10 Things to Do in China,is located near the city of Yanqing, in Yanqing County, about 70 kilometres (43 miles) northwest of Beijing. It is the section of theGreat Wall situated just west of the Juyong Pass section, the latter being the putative westernmost section of the Great Wall that was fortified under the supervision of General Qi Jiguang during the reign (CE 1572-1620) of the Wanli emperor, Emperor Shenzhong. However, in ancient times, Juyong Pass and Badaling were considered two parts of one whole, i.e., the Juyong Pass of ancient times consisted in reality of two passes: one in the south, called Nan Kou (but often referred to simply as Guan, or “Pass”); and one in the north, Badaling.

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Visit the Terracotta Army in Xi'an

Going to China and not seeing the Terracotta Army is like going to Egypt and missing the Pyramids.” Viewing Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s immense terracotta army guarding his burial site and protecting his entry to the afterlife from the earthly side of a continuing archeological project is certainly one of the most memorable parts of any trip to China. In 1987, the incredible mausoleum of the first emperor of China from the Qin Dynasty and his terracotta army was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

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The Summer Palace

An easy 15-kilometer commute from Beijing, the sumptuous Imperial Summer Palace (Yíhé Yuán) is set amid more than 700 acres of beautiful parkland and is one of China’s most visited attractions. While the palace itself was built in 1153, its large lake was added in the 14th century to enhance the Imperial Gardens. Highlights include the magnificent Hall of Well-being and Longevity (Renshou Dian) with its throne, and the beautiful Great Theatre, a private three-story structure built in 1891 to satisfy the imperial family’s love of opera. Other highlights include the Hall of Happiness and Longevity (Le Shou Tang Hall) with its lovely gardens and courtyards, as well as many miles of picturesque pathways and walking trails.

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The Forbidden City

China’s largest and most important building, the Forbidden City – also known as the Imperial Palace – is in the heart of Beijing and is a must-see when visiting the country. Started during the Yuan Dynasty between 1271-1368, much of the complex seen today (it’s really many splendid palaces in one) was built between 1406 and 1420 as the residence of 24 Ming and Qing Emperors, whose presence forbade the entry of anyone other than the imperial family and their courtesans. Covering some 720,000 square meters and protected by a 10-meter-high wall with watchtowers and a wide moat, this massive complex consists of areas set aside for ceremonial and administrative purposes, as well as a private residence used by the emperor. While it can take many hours to see everything, highlights include the five white marble Golden River Bridges; the Hall of Supreme Harmony, a 35-meter-tall building housing the imperial throne; and the exquisite emperor’s banquet hall (the Hall of Preserving Harmony), to name but a few.

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The Classical Gardens of Suzhou

Considered one of the world’s most important historic gardens – hence their designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Classical Gardens of Suzhou should rank highly on your China itinerary. In the historic city of Suzhou in Jiangsu province, these magnificent gardens were established in the 11th century at a time when the city was experiencing unprecedented growth and were among some 270 or more gardens planted here. Of the surviving restored gardens, the most famous is the delightful Garden of Lingering, a seven-acre site laid out in 1800 on the site of a park originally created during the Ming Dynasty.

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Visit the Giant Pandas

As the symbol of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund), the lovely image of giant pandas has won the love and adoration of people all around the world.It is native to central-western and southwestern China. It is easily recognized by its large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, ears, and on its rotund body. With a diet which is 98% bamboo, pandas may also eat other foods such as honey, eggs, fish, and yams.The giant panda has long been a favorite of the public, at least partly on account that the species has an appealing baby-like cuteness that makes it resemble a living teddy bear.