(Note: Guest post by Mr. Nick Steele)
Photo credit: Viking River Cruises website
China is consistently among the most popular tourist destinations and, every year, tourists flock to this amazing country on land tours and China river cruises. But why? For some travelers, China seems very exotic, particularly in comparison with western countries, and they travel there to see a culture that is vastly different than their own. For others, it’s the fact that this civilization has thrived for thousands of years…much longer than those of Europe and even of the Americas. And last, some people like traveling to China because it is the home of the Great Wall of China; one of those awe-inspiring sights, like the pyramids or Mount Rushmore, that people aspire to see in their lifetimes.
China’s sacred mountains have been pilgrimage destinations for centuries and, therefore, have
well marked trails to the summits. Frequently, there are even stairways carved into rock faces and fascinating sights along the route which include poems and inscriptions carved into the rock as well as numerous temples. The main attraction, sunrise at the summit, is where camera toting crowds gather to gaze on a remarkable sea of clouds.
Another fascinating, and religiously significant sight, The Grand Buddha at Leshan in Sichuan Province, is the largest Buddha in the world. Standing 71m high and carved into a cliff face, this Buddha overlooks the meeting of the Dadu and Min rivers.
Dramatic landscapes make up China’s vast topography serving as the background scenery for the rise and fall of emperors and dynasties over thousands of years. The jewel in China’s imperial crown is Beijing. It has been the capital of China for about 500 years and is home to sights such as the Forbidden City, the off-limits palace of Ming and Qing emperors and The Summer Palace, established in the late Qing period. Beijing is also the starting point for China’s most famous imperial legacy, The Great Wall of China. The wall can easily be viewed from many places, but most visitors approach it from Beijing.
The Great Wall
The Great Wall of China is considered to be one of the greatest wonders of the world. Looking almost like a giant dragon, the Great Wall winds across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, stretching approximately 5,500 miles across the landscape from the east to west. With a history of more than 2000 years, some of the sections are now in ruins or have disappeared. However, it is still one of the most visited attractions in the world due both to its architectural grandeur and historical significance.
For all these reasons, China just isn’t a country; it’s a unique and awe-inspiring place unlike any other in the world. From the vast grasslands of Inner Mongolia with sacred peaks, astounding caves and imperial ruins to the cosmopolitan cities of Beijing and Shanghai, China is a land of cultural and geographic diversity and unparalleled beauty and inspiration. It’s no wonder that thousands of travelers flock to this amazing country year after year.