The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall as we know it today was constructed between 476 BC and 1644 AD for the protection of the states of Yan, Zhao and Qin from marauders. The wall stretches 5,500 miles across the landscape, through desert, mountains and plains and is so vast it can be seen from space. The wall is considered a symbol of China as well as a celebrated national monument and visitor attraction and in 1987 it was designated a World Heritage Site due to its structural ingenuity and its cultural and historical significance.
The Forbidden City
In the center of Beijing stands the Forbidden City, the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties. This masterpiece of palatial architecture is the largest palace in the world, covering 183 acres and having 9,999 rooms. The striking decorative elements of the complex, such as the symbolic colors of yellow, black and red, have dazzled visitors since it was first opened to the public in 1925. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1987, the palace museum is now one of the most popular visitor attractions in China.
Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum
The Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum, most well-known for the Qin Terracotta Warriors, is currently the most visited attraction in China. Constructed over 2,000 years ago for the first emperor of China Qin Shi Huang Di, the mausoleum contains 8,000 terracotta figures, individually modeled after soldiers who fought in the army of the emperor. Employing over 720,000 conscripts in its construction, the task of building the mausoleum took only 50 years. The site was forgotten until 1974 when it was accidentally uncovered by a group of farmers digging a well near the town of Xian. Now designated a World Heritage Site, the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum is under constant excavation.