China is a country of contrasts, where ancient traditions meet modern architecture and technology. Every year, it attracts millions of tourists, among them many school classes. Keep reading our blog to discover different things to see on a fascinating school trip to China.
The Great Wall of China
One of the greatest sights in the world can be found in China: the Great Wall. With the first parts of the wall being constructed in the 7th century BC, the Great Wall has a history of more than 2300 years.
It stretches from the north of Beijing far into the center of China and had a total length of over 20,000 km separated into various sections. Today, the most well-preserved part of it is nearly 9,000 km long.
The wall was once built across the former northern borders of ancient Chinese states as a protection against nomads and other invaders. Therefore, you can see a series of different fortifications like watch towers or gateways alongside. The wall also worked as a border controlling the import and export of goods as well as immigration and emigration.
Nowadays, the Great Wall is one of the most famous sights in the world, including numerous hiking paths that twist over the Chinese countryside and steep mountains. In 1987, the Great Wall was pronounced as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Against many theories, the Great Wall cannot be seen from space though.
Close to the Great Wall of China, you can find the capital Beijing. The city was established in 1045 BC in the Zhou dynasty and holds a population of around 21.5 million. As the capital, you will of course find many government buildings but also a large number of sights you definitely shouldn’t miss:
Visit the Forbidden City, which was the palatial heart of China for almost five centuries. Constructed in 1420, it’s the largest ancient palatial structure in the world and the perfect place to learn about China’s royal culture.
South of the Forbidden City, you can find Tiananmen Square; the largest famous city square which lies directly in the center of Beijing. Tiananmen Square, which is surrounded by many imposing buildings and sights, is very symbolic for Chinese people as it’s the place of many key events during Chinese history, like the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Today, many important festivities like the National Day are held there.
Another fascinating place to visit is the Temple of Heaven. The largest of religious complexes in Beijing has an iconic design made out of a combination of circles and squares. Here, former Ming and Qing emperors have prayed for a good harvest for example. The Temple of Heaven has a similar size to Central Park in New York.
For more insights into the royal family, take a trip to the Summer Palace. This was the summer retreat of the royal family of the Qing dynasty. There, you can find the largest and best-preserved imperial gardens in all of China, which promise you many beautiful views, or you can enjoy a relaxing boat ride on Kunming Lake.
When strolling through the streets of Beijing, don’t miss walking the Hutongs. They are lanes and alleys formed by traditional courtyard compounds. Many of them were built during the significant Ming and Qing dynasties, which lasted from 1368 to 1644 and from 1636 to 1912 respectively, and have therefore nearly 700 years of history. These Hutongs are a representation of typical traditional culture and the traditional way of life of the common people. The most famous Hutongs are Nanlugo Xiang and Yandaixie Street, which are very popular for shopping and eating.
Besides these traditional sights, there are also a lot of modern places to see: Visit the Olympic Park for example, which was built for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Pay a visit to the main venues of that year’s Olympics including the Bird’s Nest Stadium with its iconic facade.
Last but not the least, every Beijing tourist should have been in the Beijing Zoo. Founded in 1906, it’s the oldest zoo of the country and the oldest public park in northern China, which is visited by more that five million guests every year. On an area of 90 ha, over 14,500 animals of 450 species of land animals and 500 species of marine animals can be discovered, including panda bears.
While being in China, you should also visit the city of Shanghai. Built on China’s central coast and with over 26 million habitants, Shanghai is the most populated and one of China’s biggest cities.
On its iconic skyline you will find many skyscrapers including the twisting shape of Shanghai Tower, which is with over 120 floors the tallest skyscraper of the country and the second tallest building in the world.
Besides the skyscrapers, there are also a lot of traditional buildings in the city’s old town which can still be found and visited.
At the end of our list of things to see on a school trip to China we find the city of Xian: Xian is located in the middle of China and it’s one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, most famous for its Terracotta Warriors.
The Terracotta Warriors are a 2,000-year-old army of 6,000 to 8,000 clay statues. These statues are part of a mausoleum complex built for China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang, which took 38 years of construction.
Millions of people were enslaved for it, most of them died during the construction, and the remaining 700,000 people were killed to keep anyone from revealing its location. All of this was built to guard the tomb of emperor Qin and to protect him in his afterlife.
The complex was discovered first in 1974 and is declared one of the most impressive archeological finds in history. That’s also a reason why every year many tourists find their ways to Xian to visit this site.
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