China boasts one of the oldest civilizations in the world, dating back to 2700BC. The country’s rich history is filled with stories of powerful family dynasties, mystical folklore and ancient customs. Much of this intriguing past is reflected in the many ancient relics, monuments and architecture that can be found throughout the country.
The Terracotta Army in Xi’an is a collection of over 8,000 man-made warriors, horses and chariots that was buried with the first emperor of China. Along with the overwhelming size of this colossal funerary art, the sculptures are thought to be made as early 246 BCE.
The Forbidden City and Great Wall in Beijing also hold great importance in history. The former boasts the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures, and the latter is over 2,000 years old, and can still be walked on today.
The Summer Palace, also in Beijing, is the largest imperial garden in China, as well as the most well-preserved. With construction beginning in 1750, the 740-acre plot incorporates beautiful natural landscape, such as lakes and hills, with some of the most exquisite architectural designs of the time.
As with much of China, spring and autumn are ideal times to visit Beijing and Xi’an. However, as many of China’s historical attractions are based indoors, such as ancient architecture and museums, summer trips are also a good time to learn about China’s history, while also escaping from the heat.
Take a local guide! Although there are often plaques that explain the background of these ancient monuments, a guide can give you an entirely different perspective of the sites with much more detail.