Top 10 Most Famous China Landmarks Travelers Talk About

China is a simply enormous country that is home to some of the most important historical and artistic sites in the entire world. Known for an incredibly diverse landscape and various unique cultures, it’s nearly impossible to see all that China has to offer in one visit. This is especially true in the case of famous landmarks in country, of which there is a great abundance. Scattered throughout the vast countryside are ruins, sculptures, museums and tombs that bring visitors from around the world each and every year. Tourist attractions are plentiful in here, but famous landmarks in China shouldn’t be missed during a visit here any time of year. We’ve put together the best ten to ensure that first time travelers and seasoned tourists alike get the most out of their trip to China.

1. Great Wall of China: A UNESCO World Heritage Site and Wonder of the World, draws thousands upon thousands of tourists each and every year thanks to its historical and architectural magnificence. The two thousand year old wall is one of the most famous of all China Landmarks and stretches for five and a half thousand miles across the country from east to west. It was built by three states for the purpose of defense. Some of the wall is in a ruined state and much of what is still visible was built during the Ming Dynasty.

2. The Forbidden City in China: Another of the most famous China landmarks that reached the height of importance during the Ming Dynasty is the Forbidden City, which played residence to two dozen emperors over a period of about three hundred years. It’s called “forbidden” because nobody who had not been granted special permission was allowed to enter. Today it’s known as The Palace Museum and is still the largest palace complex in the entire world, boasting a moat, a perimeter wall and more than eight thousand different rooms.

3. The Ming Tombs: Located very near Beijing at the base of a mountain can be found the area surrounding the Thirteen Tombs of the Ming Dynasty. Following in the footsteps of Ming Dynasty first emperor Changling, a dozen subsequent emperors built their tombs in this area, creating a royal burial scenic site. Although each of the thirteen mausoleums are quite similar, each has it’s own unique site dedicated to it. Even though a baker’s dozen of burial tombs are found here, only four of these China landmarks are open to the public, including those of Changling, Dingling, Zhaoling and Sacred Way.

4. Longmen Grottoes: For tourists seeking fine art combined with historical relevance, there are few stops as intriguing as these rock sculptures, carved during the Tang and Northern Wei Dynasties. Along the banks of the Yi River, some two thousand caves hold over one hundred thousand different carvings and sculptures that are all very well preserved thanks to natural environmental protection. The rock art is considered one of the most important of all China landmarks and is both a World Heritage Site and protected by the government.

5. Yangtze River: The Yangtze is the third longest river in the world and its nearly four thousand mile length travels through eleven different provinces and is a vital part of the history, culture and economy of the country. Natural beauty along the banks of the river where gentle hills and gorges make for stunning river cruises. However, modern features also add to the river’s importance where the largest dam and hydroelectric power plant in the world can be found. Interestingly enough however, it’s not the natural beauty or many benefits of the river that make it one of the most important of all China landmarks. The Yangtze serves as a sort of border between north and south China where it plays as the dividing line between different environments and even cultures.

6. Potala Palace Tibet: In a marvel of ancient construction that seems to defy the laws of both physics and gravity, the Potala Palace rests at the top of Red Mountain amongst snow covered peaks some ten thousand feet high. The structure itself is regal and intimidating in appearance boasting gates, walls and turrets amongst the numerous buildings scattered below the highest and largest building of them all. While impressive on appearances alone, this famous selection amongst China landmarks is a very important place for many people. It serves as a symbol of Buddhism and plays residence to the Dalai Lama in the winter.

7. Victoria Peak Hong Kong: Surprisingly enough, with all the technology, culture and cuisine that Hong Kong is known for, the biggest attraction for tourists to the area is Victoria Peak. The top of this mountain provides an awe inspiring view of both the impressive skyline of Hong Kong and the natural scenery that surrounds it. Travelers can reach this monolith of China Landmarks via a century old rail system, and the attraction is most popular at night when the city lights are starting to come on.

8. Terracotta Warriors: The site that the warriors and horses known as the Museum of Qin can be found at is not only considered one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the last few centuries, it’s actually still being excavated even today. Here, over seven thousand different pottery pieces including warriors, horses, chariots and more can be found in the three pits that comprise the site. Of all China landmarks, the Museum of Qin is not to be missed by first time travelers. The site has even been responsible for greatly increasing travel to the province of Xian, where it is located.

9. Guilin Stone Forest: Although they may look like something that was made from human hands, the limestone formations found in the Yunnan province have existed for nearly three hundred million years. They look like grayish, petrified trees and reach upwards from the ground, creating the look of a forest. From a distance, they look like strategically placed pieces of massive rock, surrounded by lush greenery. However, they are simply a powerful, natural work that draws crowds of visitors every year. The area surrounding this unique selection amongst China landmarks boasts caves, waterfalls and lakes in an area that plays hosts to the phenomenon known as ‘stone forests’.

10. The Bund Shanghai: The Bund is synonymous with Shanghai and although many impressive structures actually comprise it, the waterfront itself, which is what the name refers to is actually one of the most impressive of all China landmarks. Situated on the west bank of the Huangpu River, here can be found various different types of architectural styles including gothic, classic and Romanesque, making for a unique cultural experience. Although impressive any time of day, the attraction is even more popular at night where the colorful lights in the river play well with those from the massive buildings illuminated above.