China is a country with diverse natural conditions, ancient history and a brilliant civilization. It can be interesting for the most experienced traveler. Foreign tourists can visit 99 cities of cultural and historical importance. There are 750 cultural monuments protected by state, as well as 119 landscape sites. 19 of them are included in the Catalog of the World Natural and Cultural Heritage of the United Nations.
China is one of the oldest civilizations. Its monuments have preserved in many places. Capital cities in different historical periods were Beijing, Xi’an, Nanjing, Luoyang, Kaifeng, Hangzhou, Anyang. A traveler can choose a route following the places of life and activities of Confucius, the emperor Qin Shihuang, Genghis Khan and other prominent figures. The monuments of China testify the original and brilliant ancient Chinese civilization.
China is one of the largest countries in the world. Its area is about 9.6 million square kilometers, which is 6.5% of the world’s area. China ranks the third in the world among more than 160 countries after Russia and Canada. It stretches about 5200km from west to east and approximately 5500km from north to south.
The length of the land border is 22000 km, and the continental coastline is 18000 km (or 32000 km including the combined shoreline of more than 5000 islands situated far from the continent). The sea areas of China are also vast. In the east and southeast, its coast is washed by the waters of the Bohai Bay (the internal sea of the country), the Yellow, East China and South China Seas. Adhering to each other from the north-east to the south-west these seas form a sector with a total area of 4.78 million square kilometers.
The topography of China is very diverse. There are high mountains, plateaus, hollows, deserts and vast plains. The Great Plain of China, the valley of Yellow River and the Yangtze Delta are united near the sea coast, extending from Beijing in the north to Shanghai in the south. The Pearl River basin (and its main tributary Sichiang) is located in the southern part of China and is separated from the Yangtze River Basin by the Nanling Mountains and the Wuyi Mountain Range (which is included in the World Heritage List in China). In the direction from west to east, the Chinese relief forms three steps. The first of these is the Tibetan Plateau, where the heights are more than 4000 meters above sea level. The next step is formed by the mountains of Sichuan and Central China, the height of which is from 1500 to 3000 m. The vegetation changes sharply here. At relatively short distances the natural zones change from high-mountain cold deserts to a subtropical forest. The last step is the fertile plains, occupying heights below 1500 m above sea level.
Climate of China
The territory of China is located in three climatic zones: moderately continental in the west and north, subtropical in the center and tropical monsoon in the south of the country. Thus, a continental-monsoon climate, characterized by hot summers and mild winters is predominating in the main part of the territory.
Various religions are widespread in China. The main of them are Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Christianity. Now, there are 28 million of Muslims, 3 million of Catholics and 1 million of Protestants in the country.
Cultural and historical monuments of China
The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall, or, as it is called by the Chinese, the Long Wall stretches for 8851.8 km across the whole Northern China. 6260 km of the wall are made of brickwork, 2232,5 km are made of natural rock mass. About 360 km in general are not a wall, but moats filled with water. The construction of the wall began in the IV-III centuries BC, when some Chinese states were forced to create defensive structures against the raids of nomadic peoples of Central Asia.
The Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace, also known as the Forbidden City is situated in the center of Beijing. For 500 years of its history only the emperor and his family could live here. The courtiers, officials and all the rest lived outside his walls. Until 1925 it was forbidden for ordinary mortals to come here. It was listed by UNESCO in the list of the world heritage of mankind in 1987.
Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuandi and “terracotta army”
Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, was included in the UNESCO list in 1987. It is located at 35 km away from the city of Xi’an. It was built in 221-210 BC for the first emperor of united China. 700 thousand workers were employed in its construction. In the underground palace there are more than 400 burials. Its area is more than 56,25 square km. The main exhibits of the complex are a terracotta army, accidentally discovered by local farmers in 1974. In the three vaulted underground chambers there are figures of about 7400 soldiers and horses and 90 war chariots – practically the entire imperial army. The figures are made in full size, their height is 1.8 m, and each soldier’s face is unique.
Printed books, porcelain, silk, mirrors, umbrellas and kites are just a small part of those everyday items that were invented by the Chinese people, and which people still use today throughout the world. It is noteworthy that the Chinese have developed a technology for the production of porcelain for a thousand years before Europeans. And the two most famous Chinese inventions appeared thanks to philosophy. In search of the elixir of immortality, the Taoist alchemists accidentally received the formula of gunpowder. And the magnetic compass was created on the basis of an instrument used for geomancy and feng shui.