1. Terra-Cotta Army – Xian
700 000 workers made 6000 terra-cotta figurines just to be bury them with their Emperor Qin, more than 2200 years ago. This discovery made in 1974 beats the Egyptian idea of after life, to flinders, (and the famous Egyptologist Flinders Petrie would agree with me, no pun intended).
In fact, Emperor Qin had full intentions of conquering worlds after death, and that is why he got a complete army made of terra-cotta to accompany him to the afterlife. People talk about this legend that he ordered all his army to be killed and buried along with him, but I would take that with a pinch of salt. No successor of his would waste such valuable human resource! So if you want to see ancient charioteers, infantry and cavalry in ancient battle formation, go right ahead and visit the terracotta Army.
Find out more here Terra Cotta Army (Wikipedia)
2. The Lost City – Lhasa
The 2nd of my have- to- see places is not exactly in China, because it is in Tibet, but ever since the Chinese decided that Tibet belonged to them, you need to go and see the Potala, in the lost city Lhasa, going down the silk Route.
This is definitely one of the must do things for a person who is extremely interested in going adventuring. By the way, Lhasa is one of my favorite places in the world, if only for the artwork and embroidery. Not that Chinese art and embroidery is something to sneeze at. :-)
Let me admit it. It would take a lifetime to explore the wonders that can be found in China, both man-made and natural. So this list is just what I have found made up my Chinese holiday really memorable!
Read more about the Lost City here (Spiegel)
3. Jade Buddha Temple – Shanghai
Talk about Chinese art and Burmese jade. Bring them together with the help of painstaking professionals to get one of the most amazing man made creations in China, the Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple.
I can only thank Buddha on my very humbly grateful bended knees that the statues were not destroyed in the Chinese revolution,- even though priceless artefacts and the original temple was set on fire because they had no part in the future of China as thought of by the intellectuals of the early 1920s. — It was rebuilt in 1928. What a blessing the terra-cotta Army was not discovered then; it would have been used for target practice…
The official page for the Jade Budha Temple (yoshotemple)
4. Tarim Tree Reserve – Southern Xinjiang Territory
These trees have been around for more than 60 million years and can be considered to be living fossils. You would need to pay hundred Rnb to see them, but your meeting with Tertiary era living fossils should be something to remember.
I wonder why the Chinese government does not sell these poplar seedlings to repopulate the desert area of countries with arid and desert soil. But then, logic, practicality and common sense are not so common and government officials and environmentalists can visit this place to see just why these poplars survived here for 60 million years!
Find out more here – Tarim Tree Reserve
5. Mogao Grottoes – Dunhuang
Last on the list is the Mogao grottoes at Dunhuang in the Gansu province. The 492 temples have priceless Buddhist art and wall paintings. These creations are more than 2400 years old, and are now a world heritage site. People do not come to visit this place, because they do not know about it, but do put it on your itinerary!
All you need to know about the Mogao Caves