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Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains
and temples which form the nucleus of this group of secular and religious
buildings exemplify the architectural and artistic achievements of Chinaâ€™s Yuan,
Ming and Qing dynasties. Situated in the scenic valleys and on the slopes of the
Wudang mountains in Hubei Province, the site, which was built as an organized
complex during the Ming dynasty (14thâ€“17th centuries), contains Taoist buildings
from as early as the 7th century. It represents the highest standards of Chinese
art and architecture over a period of nearly 1,000 years.
Ancient City of Ping Yao
Ping Yao is
an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Han Chinese city,
founded in the 14th century. Its urban fabric shows the evolution of
architectural styles and town planning in Imperial China over five centuries. Of
special interest are the imposing buildings associated with banking, for which
Ping Yao was the major centre for the whole of China in the 19th and early 20th
Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui -
Xidi and Hongcun
traditional villages of Xidi and Hongcun preserve to a remarkable extent the
appearance of non-urban settlements of a type that largely disappeared or was
transformed during the last century. Their street plan, their architecture and
decoration, and the integration of houses with comprehensive water systems are
unique surviving examples.
Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom
includes archaeological remains of three cities and 40 tombs: Wunu Mountain
City, Guonei City and Wandu Mountain City, 14 tombs are imperial, 26 of nobles.
All belong to the Koguryo culture, named after the dynasty that ruled over parts
of northern China and the northern half of the Korean Peninsula from 37 BC to
668 AD. Wunu Mountain City is only partly excavated. Guonei City, within the
modern city of Ji An,
played the role of a supporting capital after the main Koguryo capital moved to
Pyongyang. Wandu Mountain City, one of the capitals of the Koguryo Kingdom,
contains many vestiges including a large palace and 37 tombs. Some of the tombs
have elaborate ceilings, designed to roof wide spaces without columns and carry
the heavy load of a stone or earth tumulus (mound) which was placed above them.
Classical Gardens of Suzhou (1997)
Chinese garden design, which seeks to recreate natural landscapes in miniature,
is nowhere better illustrated than in the nine gardens in the historic city of
Suzhou. They are generally acknowledged to be masterpieces of the genre. Dating
from the 11th-19th century, the gardens reflect the profound metaphysical
importance of natural beauty in Chinese culture in their meticulous design.
Dazu Rock Carvings (1999)
hillsides of the Dazu area contain an exceptional series of rock carvings dating
from the 9th to the 13th century. They are remarkable for their aesthetic
quality, their rich diversity of subject matter, both secular and religious, and
the light that they shed on everyday life in China during this period. They
provide outstanding evidence of the harmonious synthesis of Buddhism, Taoism and
Historic Centre of Macao (2005)
lucrative port of strategic importance in the development of international
trade, was under Portuguese administration from the mid 16th century until 1999,
when it came under Chinese sovereignty. With its historic street, residential,
religious and public Portuguese and Chinese buildings, the historic centre of
Macao provides a unique testimony to the meeting of aesthetic, cultural,
architectural and technological influences from East and West. The site also
contains a fortress and a lighthouse, which is the oldest in China. The site
bears testimony to one of the earliest and longest-lasting encounters between
China and the West based on the vibrancy of international trade.
Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa
Palace, winter palace of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century, symbolizes
Tibetan Buddhism and its central role in the traditional administration of
Tibet. The complex, comprising the White and Red Palaces with their ancillary
buildings, is built on Red Mountain in the centre of Lhasa Valley, at an
altitude of 3,700m. Also founded in the 7th century, the Jokhang Temple
Monastery is an exceptional Buddhist religious complex. Norbulingka, the Dalai
Lamas former summer palace, constructed in the 18th century, is a masterpiece of
Tibetan art. The beauty and originality of the architecture of these three
sites, their rich ornamentation and harmonious integration in a striking
landscape, add to their historic and religious interest.
Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing
it has been inscribed as an extension of the Imperial Palace of the Ming and
Qing Dynasties site inscribed in 1987. The property is now to be known as the
Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang. 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.
Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties
the addition of three Imperial Tombs of the Qing Dynasty in Liaoning to the Ming
tombs inscribed in 2000 and 2003. The Three Imperial Tombs of the Qing Dynasty
in Liaoning Province include the Yongling Tomb, the Fuling Tomb, and the
Zhaoling Tomb, all built in the 17th century. Constructed for the founding
emperors of the Qing Dynasty and their ancestors, the tombs follow the precepts
of traditional Chinese geomancy and fengshui theory. They feature rich
decoration of stone statues and carvings and tiles with dragon motifs,
illustrating the development of the funerary architecture of the Qing Dynasty.
The three tomb complexes, and their numerous edifices, combine traditions
inherited from previous dynasties and new features of Manchu civilization.
Longmen Grottoes (2000)
and niches of Longmen contain the largest and most impressive collection of
Chinese art of the late Northern Wei and Tang Dynasties (316-907). These works,
entirely devoted to the Buddhist religion, represent the high point of Chinese
Lushan National Park (1996)
in Jiangxi, is one of the spiritual centres of Chinese civilization. Buddhist
and Taoist temples, along with landmarks of Confucianism, where the most eminent
masters taught, blend effortlessly into a strikingly beautiful landscape which
has inspired countless artists who developed the aesthetic approach to nature
found in Chinese culture.
Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor
thousands of statues still remain to be unearthed at this archaeological site,
which was not discovered until 1974. Qin (d. 210 B.C.), the first unifier of
China, is buried, surrounded by the famous terracotta warriors, at the centre of
a complex designed to mirror the urban plan of the capital, Xianyan. The small
figures are all different; with their horses, chariots and weapons, they are
masterpieces of realism and also of great historical interest.
Mogao Caves (1987)
Situated at a
strategic point along the Silk Route, at the crossroads of trade as well as
religious, cultural and intellectual influences, the 492 cells and cave
sanctuaries in Mogao are famous for their statues and wall paintings, spanning
1,000 years of Buddhist art.
Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System
of the Dujiangyan irrigation system began in the 3rd century B.C. This system
still controls the waters of the Minjiang River and distributes it to the
fertile farmland of the Chengdu plains. Mount Qingcheng was the birthplace of
Taoism, which is celebrated in a series of ancient temples.
Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples, Chengde
Resort (the Qing dynastys summer palace), in Hebei Province, was built between
1703 and 1792. It is a vast complex of palaces and administrative and ceremonial
buildings. Temples of various architectural styles and imperial gardens blend
harmoniously into a landscape of lakes, pastureland and forests. In addition to
its aesthetic interest, the Mountain Resort is a rare historic vestige of the
final development of feudal society in China.
Old Town of Lijiang (1997)
The Old Town
of Lijiang, which is perfectly adapted to the uneven topography of this key
commercial and strategic site, has retained a historic townscape of high quality
and authenticity. Its architecture is noteworthy for the blending of elements
from several cultures that have come together over many centuries. Lijiang also
possesses an ancient water-supply system of great complexity and ingenuity that
still functions effectively today.
Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian (1987)
work at the site, which lies 42 km south-west of Beijing, is still underway. So
far, it has led to the discovery of the remains of Sinanthropus pekinensis,
who lived in the Middle Pleistocene, along with various objects, and remains of
Homo sapiens sapiens dating as far back as 18,000-11,000
B.C. The site is not only an exceptional reminder of the prehistorical human
societies of the Asian continent, but also illustrates the process of evolution.
Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in Beijing
Palace in Beijing -
first built in 1750, largely destroyed in the war of 1860 and restored on its
original foundations in 1886
is a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of
hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions,
halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding
Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion
cemetery and family mansion of Confucius, the great philosopher, politician and
educator of the 6th-5th
centuries B.C., are located at Qufu, in Shandong Province. Built to commemorate
him in 478 B.C., the temple has been destroyed and reconstructed over the
centuries; today it comprises more than 100 buildings. The cemetery contains
Confucius tomb and the remains of more than 100,000 of his descendants. The
small house of the Kong family developed into a gigantic aristocratic residence,
of which 152 buildings remain. The Qufu complex of monuments has retained its
outstanding artistic and historic character due to the devotion of successive
Chinese emperors over more than 2,000 years.
Temple of Heaven: an Imperial Sacrificial Altar in Beijing
The Temple of
Heaven, founded in the first half of the 15th century, is a dignified complex of
fine cult buildings set in gardens and surrounded by historic pine woods. In its
overall layout and that of its individual buildings, it symbolizes the
relationship between earth and heaven-the
human world and Gods world-which
stands at the heart of Chinese cosmogony, and also the special role played by
the emperors within that relationship.
The Great Wall (1987)
In c. 220
B.C., under Qin Shi Huang, sections of earlier fortifications were joined
together to form a united defence system against invasions from the north.
Construction continued up to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644),
when the Great Wall became the worlds largest military structure. Its historic
and strategic importance is matched only by its architectural significance.
Yin Xu (2006)
archaeological site of Yin Xu, close to Anyang City, some 500 km south of
Beijing, is an ancient capital city of the late Shang Dynasty (1300 to 1046 BC).
It testifies to the golden age of early Chinese culture, crafts and sciences, a
time of great prosperity of the Chinese Bronze Age. A number of royal tombs and
palaces, prototypes of later Chinese architecture, have been unearthed on the
site. The site includes the Palace and Royal Ancestral Shrines Area (1,000m x
650m), with more than 80 house foundations, and the only tomb of a member of the
royal family of the Shang Dynasty to have remained intact, the Tomb of Fu Hao.
The large number and superb craftsmanship of the burial accessories found there
bear testimony to the advanced level of Shang handicraft industry, and form now
one of the national treasures of China. Numerous pits containing bovine shoulder
blades and turtle plastrons have been found in Yin Xu. Inscriptions on these
oracle bones bear invaluable testimony to the development of one of the worlds
oldest writing systems, ancient beliefs and social systems.
Yungang Grottoes (2001)
Grottoes, in Datong city, Shanxi Province, with their 252 caves and 51,000
statues, represent the outstanding achievement of Buddhist cave art in China in
the 5th and 6th centuries. The Five Caves created by Tan Yao, with their strict
unity of layout and design, constitute a classical masterpiece of the first peak
of Chinese Buddhist art.
Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area
the north-west of Sichaun Province, the Huanglong valley is made up of
snow-capped peaks and the easternmost of all the Chinese glaciers. In addition
to its mountain landscape, diverse forest ecosystems can be found, as well as
spectacular limestone formations, waterfalls and hot springs. The area also has
a population of endangered animals, including the giant panda and the Sichuan
golden snub-nosed monkey.
Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area
over 72,000 ha in the northern part of Sichuan Province, the jagged Jiuzhaigou
valley reaches a height of more than 4,800 m, thus comprising a series of
diverse forest ecosystems. Its superb landscapes are particularly interesting
for their series of narrow conic karst land forms and spectacular waterfalls.
Some 140 bird species also inhabit the valley, as well as a number of endangered
plant and animal species, including the giant panda and the Sichuan takin.
Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries (2006)
Panda Sanctuaries, home to more than 30% of the worlds highly endangered pandas,
covers 924,500 ha
with seven nature reserves and nine scenic parks in the Qionglai and Jiajin
Mountains. The sanctuaries constitute the largest remaining contiguous habitat
of the giant panda, a relict from the paleo-tropic forests of the Tertiary Era.
It is also the species most important site for captive breeding. The sanctuaries
are home to other globally endangered animals such as the red panda, the snow
leopard and clouded leopard. They are among the botanically richest sites of any
region in the world, outside the tropical rain forests, with between 5,000 and
6,000 species of flora in over 1,000 genera.
Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas
eight geographical clusters of protected areas within the boundaries of the
Three Parallel Rivers National Park, in the mountainous north-west of Yunnan
Province, the 1.7 million hectare site features sections of the upper reaches of
three of the great rivers of Asia: the Yangtze (Jinsha), Mekong and Salween run
roughly parallel, north to south, through steep gorges which, in places, are
3,000 m deep and are bordered by glaciated peaks more than 6,000 m high. The
site is an epicentre of Chinese biodiversity. It is also one of the richest
temperate regions of the world in terms of biodiversity.
Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area
area stretching over more than 26,000 ha in Chinas Hunan Province, the site is
dominated by more than 3,000 narrow sandstone pillars and peaks, many over 200 m
high. Between the peaks lie ravines and gorges with streams, pools and
waterfalls, some 40 caves, and two large natural bridges. In addition to the
striking beauty of the landscape, the region is also noted for the fact that it
is home to a number of endangered plant and animal species.
Scenic Area, including Le, shan Giant Buddha Scenic Area
Buddhist temple in China was built here in Sichuan Province in the 1st century
A.D. in the beautiful surroundings of the summit Mount Emei. The addition of
other temples turned the site into one of Buddhisms holiest sites. Over the
centuries, the cultural treasures grew in number. The most remarkable is the
Giant Buddha of Leshan, carved out of a hillside in the 8th century and looking
down on the confluence of three rivers. At 71 m high, it is the largest Buddha
in the world. Mount Emei is also notable for its exceptionally diverse
vegetation, ranging from subtropical to subalpine pine forests. Some of the
trees there are more than 1,000 years old.
Mount Huangshan (1990)
known as the loveliest mountain of China, was acclaimed through art and
literature during a good part of Chinese history (e.g. the Shanshui mountain and
water style of the mid-16th century). Today it holds the same fascination for
visitors, poets, painters and photographers who come on pilgrimage to the site,
which is renowned for its magnificent scenery made up of many granite peaks and
rocks emerging out of a sea of clouds.
Mount Tai (shan means mountain) was the object of an imperial cult for nearly
2,000 years, and the artistic masterpieces found there are in perfect harmony
with the natural landscape. It has always been a source of inspiration for
Chinese artists and scholars and symbolizes ancient Chinese civilizations and
Mount Wuyi (1999)
Mount Wuyi is
the most outstanding area for biodiversity conservation in south-east China and
a refuge for a large number of ancient, relict species, many of them endemic to
China. The serene beauty of the dramatic gorges of the Nine Bend River, with its
numerous temples and monasteries, many now in ruins, provided the setting for
the development and spread of neo-Confucianism, which has been influential in
the cultures of East Asia since the 11th century. In the 1st century B.C. a
large administrative capital was built at nearby Chengcun by the Han dynasty
rulers. Its massive walls enclose an archaeological site of great significance.