China's UNESCO sites are marvels to behold

6th Jun 2013

China's geographical diversity and the contrasts between old cultural sites and modern wonders are astounding.

So it's little wonder then that Unesco places this vast country third in the world when it comes to designating World Heritage Sites.

It would be some feat to see them all on one specialist tour, so here's an introduction to just five of China's marvellous World Heritage Sites.

The Great Wall of China is a spectacular example of early engineering. At more than 20,000km (12,427 miles) long, there are plenty of places where you can walk the wall in peace away from the crowds.

The Summer Palace in Beijing is a triumph of Chinese garden design with landscaping on a grand scale. The Kunming Lake forms the gardens' centrepiece, while the Longevity Hill is dotted with gorgeous pavilions set amid areas of tranquil natural beauty.

The Terracotta Warriors, housed within the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, are another of China's most famous man-made marvels. Whole battalions of figurines of soldiers and their horses are found within many large pits.

The Old Town of Lijiang is an ancient and dramatic landscape, representing the harmonious fusion of different cultural traditions of outstanding quality.

The Forbidden City sees the imperial palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing. Unesco says they "constitute a priceless testimony to Chinese civilisation" with ornate architectural beauty a recurring feature of the hundreds of buildings within this imposing complex.

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