Xi'an is one of China's Four Great Ancient Capitals and the home of the famous Terracotta Army. It served as China’s capital for ten dynasties, spread intermittently over a 1,100 year period from 221 BC. This was the significant year when the first Chinese emperor, Qin Shihuang, united China for the first time. China derives its name from Emperor Qin.
- The Terracotta Warriors Museum: It is the most magnificent archaeological discovery in this century. It is also a reflection of the Chinese people’s military wisdom and artful skill two thousand years ago. Thousands of real weapons were unearthed from the terracotta army pits.
- The Bell Tower: It is the symbol of Xi'an. There used to be a huge iron bell hung in the tower, which was used to strike the hours. When the bell fell from its working position it was not replaced. It now sits on the northwest corner of the base.
Other Xi'an Sights
White Horse Temple
Luoyang is one of China's Four Great Ancient Capitals (alongside, Beijing, Xi'an and Nanjing). It is located 300 km (200 mi) east of Xi'an in Henan Province. A small city (pop. 1.5M) by Chinese standards, it was the capital of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770–256 BC), the Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220), the latter Tang Dynasty (907–960) and others.
- White Horse Temple: Although it is not the largest nor the most beautiful Buddhism monument in China, this temple with its large number of Buddhist artifacts, is well worth a trip.
- Guanlin Temple: At the end of Guanlin Nan Lu, Guanlin Temple was built to commemorate the great general Guanyu of the State of Shu during the Three Kingdoms Period (220–280).
Other Luoyang Sights
Jiayuguan Great Wall
The fort at Jiayu Pass linked with the most westerly section of the Great Wall formed a strongly fortified defensive system between two mountain ranges, across the narrowest part of the Gansu Corridor. There are many stories concerning the unique construction of the walls, including "goats carrying bricks on their backs" and "transporting wall stones using an icy path".
Dunhuang is considered by many to be the best stop on the Silk Road in Gansu and is the gateway to the Xinjiang Region.
- The Mogao Grottoes: Of the four famous Buddhist Grottoes in china, the Mogao Grottoes are considered to be the best. They contain thousands of Buddhist images and statues, including the world's third largest "Giant Buddha", dating back up to 1,700 years ago. The colours and details have been well-preserved in the cave environment.
- The Mingsha Dunes: The Mingsha (Sighing Sand) Dunes are a beautiful natural sight. These dunes are not only unusual for the noises that can be heard from the sand, but also the pristine state they return to every night, all footprints immaculately erased. The smooth yellow sand and blue sky contrast with the lush green crescent sprng, a mini oasis. Activities there include camel rides, sand sledging and quad bikes.
Other Dunhuang Sights
- Yumen Pass was a strategic fort on the ancient Silk Road.
Located at the foot of the snow-capped Tianshan (Heavenly Mountain) Range, Urumqi is the capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the far northwest of China.
- Heavenly Lake: Here is awesome natural beauty! The snow-capped Heavenly Mountains reflect in crystal clear lake waters. The mountainscape stretches into the distance, and is painted with flocks of sheep and horses and yaks grazing among the wild flowers. Just 2 hours outside Urumqi.
Other Urumqi Sights
- South Pasture Located on the Heavenly Mountains east of Urumqi, it's a green land of yurts (round tents) and mountain pastoralism.
Kashgar is China's most Muslim city, just 100 km (60 mi) from the border with Kyrgyzstan. It used to be an important stop on the Silk Road. The city's relative inaccessibility has had a great influence on its character.
- Lake Karakuli: Karakuli Lake is remote, rugged and exotic. 3,600 meters above sea level, it is surrounded by 7,000 meter tall mountains. It is 200 km (130 mi) from Kashgar in a region disputed with Tajikistan.
Other Kashgar Sights