UNESCO World Heritage Sites are important landmarks of the world, officially identifying its cultural, historical or scientific significance. China has 53 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to its name, the 2nd highest of any country.
If you’re travelling to China, it’s definitely worthwhile to visit at least some of these heritage sites. Here’s a list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Beijing and its surroundings, should you choose to visit the area.
The Great Wall of China
Arguably one of the more famous sites around the world, The Great Wall of China is an architectural wonder. Measuring about 22,000km (13,670 miles) in length, the wall was first constructed in 220B.C. and served as a military deterrence against invaders.
Imperial Palaces of Ming and Qing Dynasties (inc Forbidden City)
An importance piece of history with huge historical and cultural significance, the Imperial Palaces of Ming and Qing Dynasties capture a piece of the early lives of royalty and political figures in China. The Forbidden Palace alone has about 1000 rooms and gardens!
An imperial garden from the Qing Dynasty with a vast collection of lakes, gardens and palaces. Combined with the natural landscape of hills and open water, the Summer Palace is a contrast of bustling activity amid tranquil calm.
Temple of Heaven
The temple of heaven was an imperial sacrificial altar during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Used mainly for prayers to the heavens for bountiful harvest, this religious building played a significant role in China’s history.
Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (inc Ming Tombs)
Also located in Nanjing and Jiangsu, the tombs were constructed for the emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasty and their predecessors. The Ming Tombs are found in Beijing, and are a collection of mausoleums of emperors from the Ming Dynasty.
Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian
In this area, a group of fossils specimens were found between 1923 to 1927. Altogether, fossil pieces from more than 40 individual specimens were unearthed, along with animal remains and evidence of tools and fire usage.
Also known as the Beijing–Hangzhou Grand Canal, this site is considered to be the oldest canal in the world. Work on the canal started in 486B.C. with modifications and restorations taking place even till today. A number of historical sections of the canal still remain.
The Yungang Grottoes in Datong contain beautiful rock-cut architecture and is one of the most famous ancient Buddhist sites in China. ‘Cave 6’ is one of the more prominent sites in Yungang Grottoes, with its entire interior painted and carved with religious figures.
Mount Wutai (Wutaishan)
Also known as Mount Qingliang, Mount Wutai is an important Buddhist religious site and host to over 53 sacred monasteries. As such, Mount Wutai is considered as one of the ‘Four Sacred Mountains in Chinese Buddhism’ in China.
Chengde Mountain Resort
Built during the Qing Dynasty, the Mountain Resort of Chengde took 89 years to complete and has a vast collection of architecture and natural elements. In the past, emperors would visit this place to escape the summer heat of Beijing.
Site of Xanadu
Xanadu was the capital during the time of Kublai Khan’s Yuan Dynasty in China. After the capital of Yuan Dynasty was moved to Beijing, Xanadu became a secondary capital and the city faded with the onset of revolts and war.
Ancient City of Pingyao
Pingyao retained the old world charm of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and is considered the financial centre of the Qing Dynasty during its heydays. Its city walls measure 12m high, and are one of the most well-preserved of its kind.
That’s 12 UNESCO sites, all located within or around Beijing. And that’s not even a quarter of the UNESCO World Heritage sites China has to its name!
If you’re interested to visit these unique sites during your stay in China, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org