List of World Heritage Sites in China
This is a list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in China. China has 52, ranking second in the world. China ratified The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage on 12 December 1985. These sites comprise some of the most essential part of China's valuable and rich tourism resources.
Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang
Seat of supreme power for over five centuries (1416-1911), the Forbidden City in Beijing, with its landscaped gardens and many buildings (whose nearly 10,000 rooms contain furniture and works of art), constitutes a priceless testimony to Chinese civilization during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty in Shenyang consists of 114 buildings constructed between 1625–26 and 1783. It contains an important library and testifies to the foundation of the last dynasty that ruled China, before it expanded its power to the centre of the country and moved the capital to Beijing. This palace then became auxiliary to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. This remarkable architectural edifice offers important historical testimony to the history of the Qing Dynasty and to the cultural traditions of the Manchu and other tribes in the north of China.
Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor
The Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor is located in Lintong District, Xi'an, Shaanxi province of China. This mausoleum was constructed over 38 years, from 246 to 208 BC, and is situated underneath a 76-meter-tall tomb mound shaped like a truncated pyramid. The layout of the mausoleum is modeled on the Qin capital Xianyang, divided into inner and outer cities. The circumference of the inner city is 2.5 km (1.55 miles) and the outer is 6.3 km (3.9 miles). The tomb is located in the southwest of the inner city and faces east. The main tomb chamber housing the coffin and burial artifacts is the core of the architectural complex of the mausoleum.
The Mogao Caves, also known as the Thousand Buddha Grottoes, form a system of 492 temples 25 km (16 mi) southeast of the center of Dunhuang, an oasis strategically located at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road, in Gansu province, China. The caves may also be known as the Dunhuang Caves, however, this term is also used as a collective term to include other Buddhist cave sites in and around the Dunhuang area, the Western Thousand Buddha Caves, Eastern Thousand Buddha Caves, Yulin Caves, and Five Temple Caves. The caves contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of 1,000 years. The first caves were dug out in 366 AD as places of Buddhist meditation and worship. The Mogao Caves are the best known of the Chinese Buddhist grottoes and, along with Longmen Grottoes and Yungang Grottoes, are one of the three famous ancient Buddhist sculptural sites of China.
Mount Tai is a mountain of historical and cultural significance located north of the city of Tai'an, in Shandong province, China. The tallest peak is the Jade Emperor Peak which is commonly reported as 1,545 metres (5,069 ft) tall, but is described by the PRC government as 1,532.7 metres (5,029 ft).
Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian
Peking Man, Homo erectus pekinensis (formerly known by the junior synonym Sinanthropus pekinensis), is an example of Homo erectus. Discovered in 1923–27 during excavations at Zhoukoudian (Chou K'ou-tien) near Beijing (written "Peking" before the adoption of the Pinyin romanization system), China, in 2009 this group of fossil specimens dated from roughly 750,000 years ago, and a new 26Al/10Be dating suggests they are in the range of 680,000–780,000 years old.
Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe. Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century BC; these, later joined together and made bigger and stronger, are collectively referred to as the Great Wall. Especially famous is the wall built in 220–206 BC by Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. Little of that wall remains. The Great Wall has been rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced over various dynasties; the majority of the existing wall is from the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644).
Huangshan, is a mountain range in southern Anhui province in eastern China. Vegetation on the range is thickest below 1,100 meters (3,600 ft), with trees growing up to the treeline at 1,800 meters (5,900 ft).
Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area
Huanglong is a scenic and historic interest area in the northwest part of Sichuan, China. It is located in the southern part of the Minshan mountain range, 370 kilometres (230 mi) north-northwest of the capital Chengdu. This area is known for its colorful pools formed by calcite deposits, especially in Huanglonggou (Yellow Dragon Gully), as well as diverse forest ecosystems, snow-capped peaks, waterfalls and hot springs. Huanglong is also home to many endangered species including the giant panda and the Sichuan golden snub-nosed monkey. Huanglong was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992.
Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area
Jiuzhaigou is a nature reserve and national park located in the north of Sichuan Province in the southwestern region of China. A long valley running north to south, Jiuzhaigou was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1992 and a World Biosphere Reserve in 1997. It belongs to the category V (Protected Landscape) in the IUCN system of protected area categorization.
Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area
Wulingyuan is a scenic and historical site in south-central China's Hunan Province. It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. It is noted for more than 3,000 quartzite sandstone pillars and peaks across most of the site, many over 200 metres (660 ft) in height, along with many ravines and gorges with attractive streams, pools, lakes, rivers and waterfalls. It features 40 caves, many with large calcite deposits, and two natural bridges, Xianrenqiao (Bridge of the Immortals) and Tianqiashengkong (Bridge Across the Sky).
Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, including the Jokhang Temple and Norbulingka
The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, China was the residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. It is now a museum and World Heritage Site.
The Jokhang is a Buddhist temple in Barkhor Square in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. Tibetans, in general, consider this temple as the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. The temple is currently maintained by the Gelug school, but they accept worshipers from all sects of Buddhism. The temple's architectural style is a mixture of Indian vihara design, Tibetan and Nepalese design.
Norbulingka s a palace and surrounding park in Lhasa, Tibet, China, built from 1755.
Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains
The Wudang Mountains consist of a small mountain range in the northwestern part of Hubei, China, just south of Shiyan. They are home to a famous complex of Taoist temples and monasteries associated with the god Xuanwu. The Wudang Mountains are renowned for the practice of Tai chi and Taoism as the Taoist counterpart to the Shaolin Monastery, which is affiliated with Chinese Chán Buddhism. The Wudang Mountains are one of the "Four Sacred Mountains of Taosim" in China, an important destination for taoist pilgrimages.
Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples in Chengde
A mountain resort is a place to holiday or vacation located in a mountainous area. The term includes ski resorts, where winter sports, including skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing and ice skating are practiced, as well as places where summer activities such as mountain biking, mountain boarding, and hiking are pursued. In hot climates hill and mountain resorts are visited for the cooler temperatures at higher elevations.
Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu
Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu, Shandong Province of China, include Temple of Confucius, Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion.
Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area
Mount Emei is a mountain in Sichuan Province, China, and is one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China. Mt. Emei sits at the western rim of the Sichuan Basin. The mountains west of it are known as Daxiangling. A large surrounding area of countryside is geologically known as the Permian Emeishan Large Igneous Province, a large igneous province generated by the Emeishan Traps volcanic eruptions during the Permian Period. At 3,099 metres (10,167 ft), Mt. Emei is the highest of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China.
The Leshan Giant Buddha is a 71-metre (233 ft) tall stone statue, built between 713 and 803 (during the Tang Dynasty), depicting Maitreya. It is carved out of a cliff face that lies at the confluence of the Min River and Dadu River in the southern part of Sichuan province in China, near the city of Leshan. The stone sculpture faces Mount Emei, with the rivers flowing below its feet. It is the largest and tallest stone Buddha statue in the world and it is by far the tallest pre-modern statue in the world.
Lushan National Park
Mount Lu or Lushan in ancient times, is situated in the northern part of Jiangxi province in Central China, and is one of the most renowned mountains in the country. Mount Lu is known for its grandeur, steepness, and beauty, and is part of Lushan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, and a prominent tourist attraction, especially during the summer months when the weather is cooler.
Ancient City of Ping Yao
Pingyao, officially Pingyao Ancient City, is a settlement in central Shanxi, China, famed for its importance in Chinese economic history and for its well-preserved Ming and Qing urban planning and architecture. Administratively, it comprises the town of Gutao in Pingyao County in Jinzhong Prefecture. It has a population of about 50,000.
Classical Gardens of Suzhou
The Classical Gardens of Suzhou are a group of gardens in Suzhou region, Jiangsu province which have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Spanning a period of almost one thousand years, from the Northern Song to the late Qing dynasties (11th-19th century), these gardens, most of them built by scholars, standardized many of the key features of classical Chinese garden design with constructed landscapes mimicking natural scenery of rocks, hills and rivers with strategically located pavilions and pagodas.
Old Town of Lijiang
The town has a history going back more than 1,000 years and was once a confluence for trade along the "Old Tea Horse Caravan Trail". The Dayan Old town is famous for its orderly system of waterways and bridges, a system fast becoming but a memory as the underground water table drops, probably due to over-building in the suburban areas.
The Summer Palace is a vast ensemble of lakes, gardens and palaces in Beijing, China. It was an imperial garden in Qing Dynasty. Mainly dominated by Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, it covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometres, three-quarters of which is water.
Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven is an imperial complex of religious buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. It has been regarded as a Taoist temple, although Chinese heaven worship, especially by the reigning monarch of the day, predates Taoism.
Dazu Rock Carvings
The Dazu Rock Carvings are a series of Chinese religious sculptures and carvings located in Dazu District, Chongqing, China. The carvings date back as far as the 7th century AD, depicting and influenced by Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist beliefs. Some are in rock-cut cave shrines, in the usual Chinese Buddhist style, but many others are rock reliefs carved into the open rock faces.
The Wuyi Mountains, also known as Bohea Hills in earlier Western documents, are a mountain range located in the prefecture of Nanping, in northern Fujian province near the border with Jiangxi province, China. The highest peak in the area is Mount Huanggang at 2,158 metres (7,080 ft) on the border of Fujian and Jiangxi, making it the highest point of both provinces; the lowest altitudes are around 200 metres (660 ft). Many oolong and black teas are produced in the Wuyi Mountains, including Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) and lapsang souchong.
Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui – Xidi and Hongcun
Xidi is a village in Yi County of the historical Huizhou region of Anhui province, China. It was declared a part of the "Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui" World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000, along with Hongcun. Hongcun is a village in Yi County in the historical Huizhou region of southern Anhui Province, China, near the southwest slope of Mount Huangshan.
Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, including the Ming Dynasty Tombs and the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum
Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties is the designation under which the UNESCO has included several tombs and burial complexes into the list of World Heritage Sites. These tombs date from the Ming and Qing dynasties of China. The Ming tombs are a collection of mausoleums built by the emperors of the Ming dynasty of China. The Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum is the tomb of the Hongwu Emperor, the founder of the Ming dynasty. It lies at the southern foot of Purple Mountain, located east of the historical centre of Nanjing, China. Legend says that in order to prevent robbery of the tomb, 13 identical processions of funeral troops started from 13 city gates to obscure the real burying site.
The Longmen Grottoes are some of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art. Housing tens of thousands of statues of Buddha and his disciples, they are located 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of present-day Luoying in Henan province, China.
Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System
Mount Qingcheng is a mountain in Dujiangyan, Sichuan, China. It is considered one of the birthplaces of Taoism (Daoism) and one of the most important Taoist centres in China. The Dujiangyan is an ancient irrigation system in Dujiangyan City, Sichuan, China. Originally constructed around 256 BC by the State of Qin as an irrigation and flood control project, it is still in use today. The system's infrastructure is on the Min River (Minjiang), the longest tributary of the Yangtze.
The Yungang Grottoes, formerly the Wuzhoushan Grottoes, are ancient Chinese Buddhist temple grottoes near the city of Datong in the province of Shanxi. They are excellent examples of rock-cut architecture and one of the three most famous ancient Buddhist sculptural sites of China. The others are Longmen and Mogao.
Three Parallel Rivers
The Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Yunnan province, China. It lies within the drainage basins of the upper reaches of the Yangtze (Jinsha), Lancang (Mekong) and Nujiang (Salween) rivers, in the Yunnan section of the Hengduan Mountains.
Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom
Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes a number of archaeological sites in Ji'an, Jilin Province and Huanren, Liaoning Province in Northeast China. Koguryo (Goguryeo, 37 BCE – 668 CE) was an ancient kingdom located in what is now Northeast China and the northern Korean Peninsula.
Historic Centre of Macau
The Historic Centre of Macao, also known as the Centro Histórico de Macau , is a collection of over twenty locations that witness the unique assimilation and co-existence of Chinese and Portuguese cultures in Macau, a former Portuguese colony. It represents the architectural legacies of the city's cultural heritage, including monuments such as urban squares, streetscapes, churches and temples.
Yinxu is the site of one of the ancient and major historical capitals of China. It is the source of the archeological discovery of oracle bones and oracle bone script, which resulted in the recognition of the earliest known Chinese writing.
Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries
The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries ocated in southwest Sichuan province of China, is the home to more than 30% of the world's highly endangered giant pandas and is among the most important sites for the captive breeding of these pandas. It covers 9245 km2 with seven nature reserves and nine scenic parks in the Qionglai and Jiajin Mountains.
Kaiping Diaolou and Villages
Diaolous formerly romanized as Clock Towers, are fortified multi-storey watchtowers in village countryside, generally made of reinforced concrete. These towers are located mainly in the Hoiping county of Kongmoon prefecture in Guangdong province, China.
South China Karst
The South China Karst spans the provinces of Chongqing, Guangxi, Guizhou, and Yunnan.
The Fujian tulou are Chinese rural dwellings unique to the Hakka in the mountainous areas in southeastern Fujian, China. They were mostly built between the 12th and the 20th centuries.
Mount Sanqing is a renowned Taoist sacred mountain located 40 kilometres (25 mi) north of Yushan County in Jiangxi Province, China with outstanding scenery. Sanqing means the "Three Pure Ones" in Chinese as Mount Sanqing is made up of three main summits: Yujing, Yushui, and Yuhua, representing the Taoist trinity.
Mount Wutai, also known by its Chinese name Wutaishan and as Mount Qingliang, is a sacred Buddhist site at the headwaters of the Qingshui in Shanxi Province, China. Its central area is surrounded by a cluster of flat-topped peaks roughly corresponding to the cardinal directions. The north peak s the highest (3,061 m or 10,043 ft) and is also the highest point in northern China.
Historic Monuments of Dengfeng in “The Centre of Heaven and Earth”
Dengfeng is a county-level city in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China. In ancient times, it was known as Yangcheng.
China Danxia, or Danxia landform of China, is the general name of the unique type of landscapes, Danxia landform, formed from red sandstone and characterised by steep cliffs, which are caused by endogenous forces and exogenous forces.
West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou
West Lake is a freshwater lake in Hangzhou, China. It is divided into five sections by three causeways. There are numerous temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands within the lake.
Site of Xanadu
Shangdu, also known as Xanadu (/ˈzænəduː/; Mongolian: Šandu), was the capital of Kublai Khan's Yuan dynasty in China, before he decided to move his throne to the Jin dynasty capital of Zhōngdū, which he renamed Khanbaliq, present-day Beijing. Shangdu then became his summer capital.
Chengjiang Fossil Site
The Maotianshan Shales are a series of Early Cambrian deposits in the Chiungchussu Formation, famous for their Konservat Lagerstätten, deposits known for the exceptional preservation of fossilized organisms or traces. The Maotianshan Shales form one of some forty Cambrian fossil locations worldwide exhibiting exquisite preservation of rarely preserved, non-mineralized soft tissue, comparable to the fossils of the Burgess Shale. They take their name from Maotianshan Hill in Chengjiang County, Yunnan Province, China.
The Tian Shan, meaning the Mountain of Heaven or the Heavenly Mountain, is a large system of mountain ranges located in Central Asia. The highest peak in the Tian Shan is Jengish Chokusu, at 7,439 metres (24,406 ft) high. Its lowest point is the Turpan Depression, which sits at 154 m (505 ft) below sea level.
Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces
Yuanyang County is located in Honghe Prefecture in southeastern Yunnan province, China, along the Red River. It is well known for its spectacular rice-paddy terracing. Part of the area now forms the 45th World Heritage Site in China.
Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor
Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which covers the Chang'an-Tianshan portion of the ancient Silk Road and historical sites along the route. On June 22, 2014, UNESCO designated a 5,000 km stretch of the Silk Road network from Central China to the Zhetsyu Region of Central Asia as a World Heritage Site. The corridor spans China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and includes 33 new sites and several previously designated heritage sites.
The Grand Canal (also known as the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the longest canal or artificial river in the world and a famous tourist destination. Starting at Beijing, it passes through Tianjin and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the city of Hangzhou, linking the Yellow River and Yangtze River. The oldest parts of the canal date back to the 5th century BC, but the various sections were first connected during the Sui dynasty (581–618 AD). The Yuan and Ming dynasties significantly rebuilt the canal and altered its route to supply their capital Beijing.
The Tusi Sites refer to three of the ancient Tusi sites in China that were designated by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites on July 3, 2015. It is the 48th World Heritage Site in China.
Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art
The Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape is an extensive assembly of historical rock art that were painted on limestone cliff faces in Guangxi, southern China over a period of several hundred years at least.
Shennongjia Forestry District is a county-level administrative unit (a "forestry district") in northwestern Hubei province, People's Republic of China, directly subordinated to the provincial government. It occupies 3,253 square kilometres (1,256 sq mi) in western Hubei, and, as of 2007 had the resident population estimated at 74,000 (with the registered population of 79,976). On July 17, 2016, Hubei Shennongjia was listed as World Heritage Site, the 50th World Heritage Site in China.
Qinghai Hoh Xil
Hoh Xil or Kekexili, is an isolated region in the northwestern part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in China. On July 7, 2017, the Hoh Xil in Qinghai was listed among the World Heritage Sites as "the largest and highest plateau in the world".
Kulangsu: a Historic International Settlement
The Gulangyu, Gulang Island or Kulangsu is a pedestrian-only island off the coast of Xiamen, Fujian Province in southerneastern China. A UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, the island is about 2 km2 (0.77 sq mi) in area, and is reached by a 5-minute ferry ride from downtown Xiamen. Although only about 20,000 people live on the island,