10 Unbelievable Historic Sites You Never Knew Existed in China!
China has always been an attractive destination for tourists for its rich culture and history. You must have heard about the famous Great Wall, the Forbidden City or about the Terracotta Army. But there are a few other sites you need explore in China. These places will definitely NOT disappoint.
1. Yungang Grottoes
Yungang Grottoes are 18 kilometers west of Datong city, in the Shanxi province. It is a 1500-year old Buddhist landmark. Built during the reign of Northern Wei Dynasty, houses 252 caves and 51,000 Buddha statues. The tallest of these statues stand 17 meters and the smallest stands at two centimeters. In the most preserved cave grottoes 16 through 20, you’ll find five Buddhas modeled after five Wei emperors. This historical Buddhist site can be one of most incredible sites of your China tours.
2. Golden Pebble Beach
You have to visit Golden Pebble Beach, which is also known as a Jinshan Scenic area. It is in the northeast of Dalian city. This place contains geological wonders that formed 6-3 millennia ago. You can see hundreds of peculiar rocks in various shapes. Some of the structures can resemble the shapes of animals like monkeys, camels, turtles, dinosaurs, tigers, etc. The largest of these rocks is 40-meter high “dinosaur who explores the sea”. It is said to resemble a giant dinosaur bathing in the sea.
3. Fortress Towers
These multi-storied watchtowers were built at the beginning of the 20th century by Kaipingers. They were returning Chinese immigrants from Europe, America and southeastern parts of Asia. With them, they brought different architectural styles they saw abroad. Kaipingers built fortified buildings and watchtowers to protect local people. More than 1800 fortified towers were erected around the city of Kaiping, in the Guangdong province. You can’t tour China without visiting these historic structures.
4. The Three Confucius Sites
In the 6th-5th century BCE Confucius (Kong Fuzi) taught a way of life based on social values and high ethical standards. This philosophy is known as Confucianism. The ancient architectural buildings and stone tablets of Three Confucian Sites highlight Confucian culture and teachings. The Three Confucius sites, situated in Qufu, Shandong province, are:
- Kong Family Mansion
- The Cemetery of Confucius
- Qufu Confucius Temple
5. Jinsha Sites
This site in Chengdu, capital of China’s Sichuan province was accidentally discovered during a real estate construction project, in February, 2001. Along with ivory, jade, elephant tusks, bronze and gold objects, and carved stone objects. The findings suggest that there may have been an ancient civilization there over 300 years ago. You need to include Jinsha sites in your China tours to get to the heart of Sichuan’s culture.
6. Shanghai Museum
Situated on a people’s square in the Huangpu district of Shanghai, this museum contains a huge collection of invaluable collection of historical contents. During your China tour, you need to spend at least half a day here to enjoy it. You can see the amazing artifacts of bronze, ceramics, paintings, furniture, calligraphy, seals, jades, ancient coins, sculptures, and more.
7. The Three Pagodas
The three pagodas are the main attraction of Dali, an ancient city in the southwest Yunan province of China. The tallest among these Buddhist towers were first built during the reign of the Tang dynasty in mid-ninth century. This 69-meter-tall and 16 stories high ‘skyscraper’ pagoda is still the tallest tower in China. This three holy tower forms an equilateral triangle. If you are thinking about touring China you must include Three Pagodas of Dali, on your destination list.
8. Flying Tiger Memorials
If you’re a WWII buff, you need to include the Flying Tigers Memorials of Tengchong, Yunan to your China tour. During WWII, American and Chinese pilots defeated the Japanese invasion of Yunan. These fighter pilots were given the name “Flying Tigers.” There are approximately 80,000 relics to explore at this site.
9. Han Yang Ling Mausoleum
The Han Yang Ling or the Yang Mausoleum of Han, is the burial tombs of Emperor Jing. A remarkable emperor of the Western Han Dynasty and his wife Empress Wang. It comprises two large burial mounds and 86 smaller burial pits. The emperor and his wife are buried under the large burial mounds, surrounded by smaller pits. There is also a criminal’s graveyard on this site. This mausoleum has the world’s largest underground museum. You can check out all of the criminals by going through arrest records. But don´t only do it for fun, if you´ve met someone new and aren´t sure whether they´re safe to be comfortable with, then search their name up to see if they have any arrest records.
10. Mogao Caves
You cannot get to the root of history during your tour of China without visit Mogao Caves, in Dunhuang. It was built for 1000 years upon the rise and fall of dynasties. As you explore the caves you would relive the past and can see the various styles and techniques that are unique to each dynasty.
Now that you have 10 amazing sites to visit, start planning your trip. China is a country that is not only beautiful but, filled with so much history. Enough to satiate your travel goals!
Have you ever been or plan to visit China?
Let me know, til then–cheers m’deres!
Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela and partner and best friend to Darasak. Having worked as part of a health care team for almost a decade, Nancy is happy to be back to her passion. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.