The Most Significant Historical Sites in China

China is the 4th largest country in the world and one of the most populous countries rich with a number of significant historical sites. From tropical beaches near the Pacific Ocean to the dusty deserts that form Central Asia, the country is enthralling in every direction. And it is certainly no slouch when it comes to historical significance, with a wide variety of cultural icons and UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Ready to travel back in time in China? Following are some of the most significant historical sites to visit.


The Great Wall
The Great Wall is one of the first things that come to mind when anyone talks about China and it’s not surprising why. After all, it is one of the greatest man-made wonders in the world. The Great Wall was built as an ancient military defense project which played a significant role in the history. This historical site integrally preserves all the spiritual and material elements and cultural information that carry its unparalleled universal value.


The Forbidden City
The Forbidden City is the largest palace complex in the world and one of the best-preserved collections of historical buildings in China. The former Chinese imperial palace from the Qing and Ming dynasties served as home of the political center of Chinese government and emperors for nearly 500 years. Today, it’s perfectly formed rooftops and pristine citadel walls draw visitors from all over the world.


The Terracotta Army
The Terracotta Army is another significant historical site in China. Created by the First Qin Emperor in third century BC, it is the largest military underground museum in the world. It houses 7,000 life-sized sculptures of soldiers, carts, and horses, finished with various weapons all in a battle formation.


The Summer Palace
The Summer Palace is the best-preserved and the largest royal garden in China. It is a perfect blend of artificial landscape and natural scenery. The architecture, waters, and mountains together form picturesque scenes that are simply amazing. The natural landscape of open water and hills is combined with various artificial features such as bridges, temples, palaces, halls, and pavilions to form a great ensemble of excellent aesthetic value.


The Mogao Grottoes
Situated in Dunhuang, the Mogao Grottoes is well-known for its exquisite Buddha statues and mural paintings. There are 50,000 historical relics, 2,415 colored clay Buddha statues, 450,000 square meters of mural paintings, and 735 grottoes. Considering these numbers, it’s not surprising to know that it is the most significant and the largest ‘holy land’ of Buddhist art in the world.


The Potala Palace
The Potala Palace is another iconic historical site in China that showcases the ancient Tibetan architecture. It was first built in the 7th century and later became Dalai Lamas residence in the 17th century. Apart from its magnificent architecture, the palace also showcases some amazing historical relics such as Buddha statues of gold, jade, and silver. Splendid decors and mural paintings are all over the place, and they are truly a delight for visitors.

While these are the most significant historical sites in China, the country is full of many lesser-known landmarks and hidden treasures, waiting to be discovered.

Photos by: Vidar Nordli, Chastagner Thierry, Kit Sanchez, Aaron Greenwood, Megan Eaves, Dylan Yang

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