Top 10 China Monuments & Statues
As one of the oldest civilizations in the world, China is no doubt the home to some of the world’s best monuments and statues. The presence of these historical monuments will tell you the glorious but sometimes also bitter history of China. If you are willing to take an in-depth tour in China, it is quite recommended to visit the China monuments listed below to enrich your knowledge on Chinese history.
Length: 21,196.18 kilometers (13,170.70 miles)
History: over 2,700 years from the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC)
The Great Wall must be one of the topmost visited China monuments. It is a huge and long wall built to defend against the nomadic tribes in the north. Though the beginning of the construction can date back to over 2,700 years ago in the Spring and Autumn Period, the Great Wall we see today were mainly built in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), which spans from Jiayuguan in Gansu Province to Hushan in Liaoning Province. Overseas tourists travelling to China always prefer to climb the sections around Beijing, such as the Badaling Great Wall, Mutianyu Great Wall, and Simatai Great Wall.
Recommended Tour: Great Wall Tours
Book a ticket for Badaling Great Wall, Mutianyu Great Wall, Simatai Great Wall, Huanghuacheng Great Wall, and Juyongguan Great Wall.
Height: 38 meters (125 feet)
Constructed in: 1952 - 1958
Dedicated to: martyrs during the Chinese War of Liberation and Revolution
When it comes to the most famous monument of China, the Monument to the People’s Heroes should not be missed. It was built to commemorate the martyrs in the War of People’s Liberation and Revolution in China’s modern and contemporary history. The monument is a 10-storey obelisk made of a whole granite, inscribed by eight Chinese characters from Chairman Mao which mean “Eternal glory to the people's heroes”! On the reverse side, there is an autograph of the former Premier Zhou Enlai, which composes 150 Chinese characters altogether. At the base of the monument, you can see exquisite reliefs representing the heroic deeds of the martyrs.
Recommended Tour: Beijing Mini Group Day Tour including the Monument to the People's Heroes
History: over 2,200 years from Qin Dynasty (221 - 207 BC)
Number of terracotta warriors and horses: Nearly 8,000
People always associate the Terracotta Army with the most famous monuments in China because of its historical significance. The Terracotta Army, built as a guard for the Emperor Qin Shi Huang in his afterlife, contains nearly 8,000 lifelike terracotta warriors and horses, which is hard to believe that they were made over 2,200 years ago. They were initially painted with bright colors, but became grey and earthly yellow after being exposed to the air. The statues vary in facial expression, size, and dress, which will deeply impress you. The army look to the east, showing the glory of Emperor Qin Shi Huang who has conquered the territories in the east in his lifetime.
Recommended Tour: Half Day Xi'an Mini Group Tour to Terracotta Army
Book a Terracotta Army ticket.
Height: 64.5 meters (211 feet)
History: over 1,300 years
The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an is always one of the highly-spoken historical monuments of China. It is a brick pagoda built in 652 in Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) to store the Buddhist transcripts and statues that had been brought back by the eminent Monk Xuanzang from ancient India. Originally it had five storeys, and changed to seven storeys during later renovations. As the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is not only a famous ancient China monument, but also a landmark building in Xi’an, tourists to Xi’an should add it to the sightseeing list.
Recommended Tour: 2 Days Mini Group Xi'an Tour including Giant Wild Goose Pagoda
Book a Giant Wild Goose Pagoda ticket.
Height: 71 meters (233 feet)
History: over 1,200 years
Carved right on the cliff at the confluence of three rivers, the Leshan Giant Buddha is among the best ancient China monuments. It is a sitting statue of the Maitreya Buddha and can be regarded as a masterpiece of Chinese rock carvings. The whole Buddha is as high as 71 meters (233 feet) and its feet can hold over 100 people. Currently, it is the largest stone statue carved on a cliff in the world.
Recommended Tour: 6 Days Tour to Chongqing - Chengdu - Leshan Giant Buddha - Mt. Emei from $909
Mogao Caves, Dunhuang
Highlights: nearly 2,500 Buddha statues and about 45,000 square meters of murals
History: over 1,600 years
This famous China monument composes a holy place for appreciating Buddhist art. The caves carved into the cliffs were firstly constructed in 366 and then continually expanded in the later dynasties. Therefore, the whole construction took over 1,000 years. Presently, there are 492 well-preserved caves, which house nearly 2,500 painted Buddha statues and about 45,000 square meters of delicate murals. The caves are arranged orderly like a honeycomb, stretching as long as 1.6 kilometers (1 mile). Some experts even compare the Mogao Caves to a large sculpture hall and a Buddhist art gallery.
Recommended Tour: 3 Days Silk Road Dunhuang Trip including Mogao Caves from $619
Three Confucius Sites in Qufu - Confucius Temple, Confucius Family Mansion and the Cemetery of Confucius
Highlights: holy places to commemorate the Confucius, a great educationalist of China and his culture
Chinese Confucianism is well-known throughout the world. Three places in Qufu, the birthplace of the Confucius, are definitely among the famous monuments in China. Though there are several temples in China worshiping the Confucius, the one in Qufu is the largest one which was built on the former residence of this great man. The Confucius Family Mansion is the residence of the descendants of the Confucius for centuries. The Cemetery of Confucius is the clan cemetery that has been used for the longest time in the world. The three places makes Qufu a holy city to learn the concepts of Confucius.
Recommended Tour: 4 Days Private Trip to Qingdao, Qufu and Tai'an from $729
People’s Liberation Monument, Chongqing
Height: 27.5 meters (90 feet)
Constructed in: 1946 – 1947
People’s Liberation Monument is also a famous monument in China related to war. From a distance, it looks like an octagon column with a clock on each side. Surrounding the monument are some decorative flowerbeds, covering an area of 62 square meters. The moment was initially set up to celebrate the victory of Chinese people in the World Anti-Fascist War as well as the liberation of Chongqing. Nowadays, it becomes a landmark of the city and a cultural site where the locals hear the toll of the bell to welcome the New Year. Besides, some grand cultural activities are usually held here. Surrounding it is the most prosperous area in Chongqing and shoppers’ and foodies’ paradise.
Recommended Tour: 3 Days Chongqing & Dazu Tour including the People’s Liberation Monument from $369
Zhongyuan Big Buddha, Henan
Height: 208 meters (682 feet)
Constructed in: 2002-2007
With a distance of about 95 kilometers (59 miles) from the downtown of Pingdingshan City in Henan Province, the Zhongyuan Big Buddha is another famous monument of China. The height of the whole statue reaches 208 meters (682 feet) and the Buddha body is 108 meters (354 feet) high. Currently, it is the tallest Buddha statue all over the world. Over 3,300 tons of copper, 108 kilograms of gold, and 15,000 tons of special steel were consumed to cast the statue. On the way to the giant Buddha, you can see it standing on the mountain top, shrouded in the golden sunshine. The background of blue sky and white clouds adds more charm to the Buddha. No matter which angle you take to look up to the Buddha, you will feel that the Buddha is watching you and blessing you.
Potala Palace, Tibet
Elevation: over 200 meters (656 feet)
History: Over 1,300 years
As the landmark of Lhasa and even Tibet, the Potala Palace is also ranked among the top 10 China monuments and statues. The word “Potala” stems from Sanskrit, meaning the residence of the God of Mercy. Now, it is a holy destination for pilgrims. According to historical records, the 33th Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo ordered the construction of the palace in the seventh century for his wife Princess Wencheng. After being constructed, it also functioned as a vital center for holding grand political and religious ceremonies. The Potala Palace bears characteristic Tibet style and is dominated by the colors of red and white. Inside it, there are a large amount of historical relics, including pagodas, murals, sculptures, Thangkas, Buddhist transcripts, and dazzling silver and gold wares. All these endows the place with the fame of a palace of art.
Recommended Tour: 4 Days Lhasa Tour including the Potala Palace from $559