The great Chinese civilization is almost old as time itself, yet its wonders still make us stop and admire them even today. Weeks and months will be not enough to list everything worthy of exploration while in China, so we compiled this short list of the most astonishing achievements of the Chinese nation:
The Great Wall of China
The building of the fortification on the Northern border of China against the nomadic people, such as the Mongols, began in the time of the First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, in the 2nd century BC. It is made of series of watch towers, each connected with fortified walls, broad enough for two carriages to pass each other. The Wall is not in a continuous line; the fortification is combined with natural defenses (rivers and high places) and deep trenches.
The total length varies, from 4 thousand to 13 thousand miles. The greatest sections of the Wall is built under Ming rulers, between the 14th and 17th century; they needed the Wall the most as protection from the Mongol invasion, as well as a control points for the trading going on the Silk Road. The western beginning of the Wall is considered to be at the Jiayu Pass, while its seashore end is at Shanhai Pass;
The Terracotta Army, Xi’an Province
In the 1970s, the royal mausoleum where the First Emperor of China was buried was found, along with clay replicas of his army: around 8,000 terracotta copies of infantrymen, 130 chariots with horses and 150 horsemen. The terracotta copies were not limited to the warriors only; archaeologist found copies of scribes, acrobats, dancers, and musicians. The whole Court of the Heavenly Emperor was to accompany him on his last Journey.
The most astonishing fact about these sculptures is the precision given into small details: facial features suggest that these are copies of individuals, instead of figures taken from the same mould. The clothing was painted, though not many traces are left to see. The Terracotta Warriors have graced the exhibitions of many world museums, yet the majority is still left on display as found in the Mausoleum, which is open to visitors and presented by guides;
The Forbidden City, Beijing, China
Astronomy was well respected and practiced in China. The Chinese astronomers of old times called the Polaris the Purple star and were on the opinion that is the center of the Heaven. Such in the sky above, the Emperor was thought the center of the world and a Purple Forbidden City was built for the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Today, the Palace Museum is the world’s largest palace, with its 8, 700 rooms displayed on 74 hectares.
A great moat and 4 gates keep the city, where one can enter only with a royal invitation. The Forbidden City has two sections, the Outer Court where official receptions and festivities took place, and the Inner Court where the royal family lived. The colors used for decorating the palace have meaning: yellow is the color of the rulers, so roofs, decorations and pavement bricks are made yellow. The only black roof is the one of the Royal Library; black color symbolizes water and it can help if the library ever catches fire. The Forbidden City entered UNESCO’s list of protected monuments in 1987 and since then, it is one of the world’s greatest tourist attractions.