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9 Historical Places in China You Should Never Miss

China is a time-honored country owning a history of over 5,000 years. During this long time, many historical places are left for the later generations to discover. They are the essence of ancient Chinese architecture, showing the skillful workmanship of Chinese workers. Paying a visit to the typical historical places in China, you will be marveled at how clever those workers are. Here we list the top 9 China historical places for your reference. 

Top 10 China Monuments & Statues

Terracotta Army
 History: over 2,200 years from Qin Dynasty (221 - 207 BC)
 Highlights: the 8th wonder of the world with abundant lifelike statues of warriors and horses
 Location: Lintong District, Xi’an, Shaanxi
 Opening Hours: March 16 to November 15: 8:30 - 18:00; November 16 to March 15: 8:30 - 17:30
 Recommended Time for a Visit: 3 hours
 Ticket Price: CNY 120; free for children under 1.4 m (4.6 ft) accompanied by an adult.

The Terracotta Army is unquestionably one of the best-known historical sites in China. It is an underground army of the Emperor Qinshihuang, the first emperor of the unified China, to protect him in the afterlife. The construction took as long as nearly 40 years and over 720 thousand labors, which is quite amazing. Visiting this site, you will understand the attitude toward life and death of ancient Chinese rulers and the military arrays of the Qin Dynasty.

 Recommended Tour:  Half Day Xi'an Mini Group Tour to Terracotta Army

 Book a Terracotta Army ticket.
Great Wall of China
 History: over 2,700 years from the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC)
 Highlights: a great military defensive system with watchtowers, walls, passes…
 Location: Traversing from east to the west in north China, and Beijing has some of the best-preserved sections
 Recommended Time for a Visit: Half a day
 Length: 21,196.18 kilometers (13,170.70 miles)

Considered as one of the most significant historical landmarks in China, the Great Wall can date back to as early as 2,700 years ago. It is a giant military defensive line built to protect central China plain from the invasions of the northern nomadic tribes. However, the existing Great Wall sections were mainly constructed in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), which starts from Jiayuguan in the west and ends at Hushan in the east. Among the many sections of the Great Wall, Badaling and Mutianyu in Beijing are the most popular.

 Recommended Tour:  Great Wall Tours

 Book a ticket for Badaling Great WallMutianyu Great WallSimatai Great WallHuanghuacheng Great Wall, and Juyongguan Great Wall.
Forbidden City
 History: about 600 years from Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)
 Highlights: the royal palace in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 - 1911)
 Location: in the city center of Beijing, the capital of China
 Opening Hours: April to October: 8:30 - 17:00; November to March: 8:30 - 16:30
 Recommended Time for a Visit: Half a day
 Ticket Price: April to October: CNY 60; November to March: CNY 40

As a historical building in China, the Forbidden City is a good place to trace the luxurious life of the royal members. Altogether 24 emperors and their families have spent their life here. The whole palace complex contains more than 70 palaces and over 9,000 rooms. You will have a chance to appreciate these magnificent palaces and the rare and precious articles inside.

Recommended Tour:  2 Days Mini Group Beijing Tour Including the Forbidden City from $299

 Book a Forbidden City ticket.
Shaolin Temple
 History: over 1,500 years from Northern Wei Dynasty (386 - 534)
 Highlights: the birthplace of China’s Zen Buddhism and Chinese Kung Fu 
 Location: on Songshan Mountain, Dengfeng City, Henan Province; about 60 km (37 mi) from Luoyang and 90 km (56 mi) from Zhengzhou
 Opening Hours: 8:00 - 17:30
 Recommended Time for a Visit: 3 hours
 Ticket Price: CNY 80

Built in the year of 495, Shaolin Temple is always regarded as one of the best historical attractions in China. It is not only famous for the deep-rooted Buddhism culture, but also for the striking Shaolin Kung Fu. The Pagoda Forest, Ancestor's Monastery and Dharma Cave are the must-see attractions inside, all featuring the style of traditional Chinese temples. In 2010, it was inscribed as a world culture heritage by the UNESCO.

Recommended Tour:  2 Days Luoyang Private Tour Including the Shaolin Temple from $229
Longmen Grottoes
 History: over 1,500 years from Northern Wei Dynasty
 Highlights: more than 97,000 statues of Buddha
 Location: Luoyang City, Henan Province
 Opening Hours: Feb. & Mar.: 08:00 - 18:00; Apr. 1 - Oct. 7: 08:00 - 18:30; Oct. 8 - 31: 08:00 - 18:00; Nov. - Jan.: 08:00 - 17:00
 Recommended Time for a Visit: half a day
 Ticket Price: CNY 90, free for children below 1.2 meters (3.9 feet).

For history and Buddhism buffs, Longmen Grottoes is one of the historical places in China that you should never miss. About 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from the south of Luoyang City, the Longmen Grottoes was first built in the Northern Wei Dynasty and the construction lasted for over 500 years. Compared with other Buddhist grottoes in China, Longmen Grottoes spans more years’ construction and presents more exquisite carving skills, especially those on the West Hills.

 Recommended Tour:  Luoyang Essences Day Tour Including Longmen Grottoes from $148

 Book a ticket for Longmen Grottoes.
Suzhou Classical Garden
 History: over 2,500 years from the Spring and Autumn Period
 Highlights: embody the ancient Chinese philosophy on the harmony between human and nature
 Location: Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province

Suzhou has always been named as a city of garden, which greatly owes to the many classical gardens there. Inspired by the traditional Chinese paintings, these gardens take water, rocks, flowers, and fine buildings and furniture as the prominent theme. The earliest classical garden in Suzhou can date back to the private garden built by the king of Wu State. In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the classical gardens reached the peak of development. Today, there are 69 classical gardens in Suzhou. Among them, the Humble Administrator’s Garden, the Master of Nets Garden, Canglang Pavilion, and Lingering Garden enjoy the most popularity.

Recommended Tour:  One Day Suzhou Highlights Tour with Classical Gardens from $121
Yin Ruins
 History: over 3,300 years from Shang Dynasty (17th century BC - 1046 BC)
 Highlights: the proved first capital in Chinese history
 Location: Anyang City, Henan Province
 Opening Hours: July – September: 8:00 – 17:30; October – June: 8:00 – 17:00
 Recommended Time for a Visit: 1 – 3 hours
 Ticket Price: CNY 70

Being the ruins of the later capital of the Shang Dynasty, the Yin Ruins is one of the best China historical places for you to explore. Its excavation has been ranked as the top 1 among the 100 significant archaeological findings of China in the 20th century. A great many cultural relics are housed, including bronze wares, stone wares, bone wares, and jade wares. The Houmuwu Quadripod, measuring 875 kilograms, is the most famous finding. It’s currently the largest and heaviest bronze ware throughout the world. If you come to Henan, do not forget to visit the Yin Ruins to witness the history and culture of Shang Dynasty.
Potala Palace
 History: nearly 1,400 years from Tang Dynasty
 Highlights: an outstanding representative of ancient Tibetan architecture
 Location: Lhasa, Tibet
 Opening Hours: 9:30 - 15:00
 Recommended Time for a Visit: 2 – 4 hours
 Ticket Price: May - Oct.: CNY 200; Nov. - Apr.: CNY 100; Free for children under 1.2m (3.9 feet).

When talking about the historical sites China, you may not want to miss the Potala Palace. According to historical records, the Potala Palace was built in the 7th century when Songtsen Gampo, the king of Tibet relocated the capital to Lhasa. From then on, the Potala Palace became a center to hold grand religious and political ceremonies. Now, you cannot only admire the numerous historical relics and the splendid Tibetan architecture art, but also have a baptism of soul in the holy atmosphere.

 Recommended Tour:  4 Days Lhasa Tour including the Potala Palace from $559
Mountain Resort of Chengde
 History: over 300 years from Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)
 Highlights: the existing largest classical royal garden in China
 Location: Chengde City, Hebei Province
 Opening Hours: April 1 to April 30: 07:30 - 17:30; May 1 to October 9: 07:00 - 18:00; October 10 to March 31: 08:00 - 17:30
 Recommended Time for a Visit: half a day
 Ticket Price: April 1 to October 31: CNY 130; November 1 to next March 31: CNY 90; Free for children below 1.2m (3.9ft).

The Mountain Resort of Chengde is also one of the top historical places in China. It used to be the place where the emperors of the Qing Dynasty spent summer and dealt with state affairs, thus can be called a museum of the history of Qing court. Compared with the Forbidden City, it more emphasizes on the plain and quiet lifestyle in rural area. The whole resort is divided in to the zones of palace, lake, mountain, and flatland. The best scenery lies in the zones of palace and lake.

- Last updated on Mar. 30, 2022 -
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