China is the most populous country in the world and has been an economic power for years. The huge area covered by the People’s Republic of China and long rich pre-communistic history made China a home to many natural and manmade landmarks.

There are as many as 50 sites inscribed on the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List in China, which gives this country second place in the world right after Italy. Read about the most famous landmarks in China.

While we are on the landmarks do check our other post about European Landmarks, Landmarks in Greece

famous landmarks in china
Top China Landmarks

Man made historical landmarks in China

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is a building that probably everyone has heard of. The most famous chinese landmark,  a symbol of China is enlisted on unesco world heritage site  since 1987. The wall has over 21 thousand. km long, which makes it the most magnificent building of this type in the world. It was created to protect China from the invasion of northern peoples. The Great Wall of China actually consists of several sections that were built at different times. The most popular, restored fragment of the wall is located outside Beijing, between the Badaling hill range.

There are 23 watchtowers over the 1 ½ mile long
The Most Famous Landmark in China

Great Wall of China was build during the rule of Ming Dynasty by Emperor Shih Huang Ti.

The Forbidden City, Beijing

Beijing has been the capital of China for over 700 years. the city is vast and rich in historical attractions as well as modern complexes and buildings. The most famous and one of the greatest landmarks in China   is the Forbidden City. The Imperial Palace, which covers over 72 hectares is the largest palace in the world.

Summer Palace complex on the prestigious UNESCO list. Located in the heart of Beijing, this Imperial palace

Forbidden City was the residence for 24 emperors from Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty emperors.

The Terracotta Army in Xi’an

Xi’an was the first capital of a united China. Made famous for the ancient Silk Road, which started in this city. Today, the city is so eagerly visited mainly due to the Terracotta Army Museum, which is one of the largest archaeological sites in the world. The Terracotta  warriors  is nothing more than life-size figures made of fired clay or terracotta. Over 7.5 thousand dowries were made at the behest of China’s first Emperor Qin Shi to guard his life after death.

Terracotta warriors – Emperor Ginshihuang’s Mausoleum Site museum, Xi’an, China

Xuan Kong Si Hanging Temple

Xuan Kong Si Temple (Hanging Temple) is located in Northeast China, about 300 km from Beijing. This unusual structure was created over 1500 years ago by Buddhist monks. Such a specific location of the monastery was determined by practical reasons, to protect the temple against floods, snowstorms and excessive sun. All three of the most popular religions in China, namely Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, successfully coexist and are practiced in the monastery.

Shaolin Monastery

Shaolin Monastery is a Buddhist temple that is over 1500 years old. It is the birthplace of martial arts. She became famous thanks to the Indian monk Bodhidharma, who made a kind of training academy in Shaolin. Real monks reside in the monastery to this day. In 2010, the property was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There is a huge number of private martial arts schools around the monastery, thus shaping the industry of the entire region.

Giant Buddha in Leshan

Leshan Giant Buddha is located in Sichuan Province at the confluence of three Chinese rivers. The statue carved in the rock is 71 meters high, which makes it the 18th tallest statue in the world. Work on the statue took over 90 years. The efforts of thousands of workers have been recognized more than 1,000 years after the completion of the work, when in 1996, the Buddha statue was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The greatness of the Leshan Buddha lies not only in its enormous size, but also in its craftsmanship. The architectural success of the statue is the unusual drainage system (gutters and channels hidden on the head and shoulders) that protects the Buddha from rain.

Leshan Giant Buddha was built between 713 and 803, during the Tang Dynasty

Potala Palace

Towering at 13,000 feet above sea level and with a circumference of one mile, the Potala Palace is more than just an ancient landmark. It was also used as Tibet’s seat of power until 1959 when it became part of China. A symbol for Tibetan Buddhism itself this magnificent palace has seen many centuries come and go while still standing tall today impressing visitors from all around the world alike since their first steps inside its walls back in 17th century AD

Dujiangyan Panda Base, Dujiangyan

Chengdu is the capital of the Sichuan Province and also the largest concentration of Giant Pandas in China. The incredible attraction of this place is the fact that these beautiful animals can be seen in their natural habitat. In Chengdu, there is not only a reserve, but also a museum of the Giant Panda. A big attraction of the region is also Szechuan cuisine, popular not only in Asia, with dishes such as chicken gongbao and spicy hotpot.

baby giant pandas
Dujiangyan Panda Base

Man-made modern landmarks in China

Shanghai and Suzhou

Shanghai is one of the largest and most modern cities not only in China, but also around the world. It has a state-of-the-art business center, huge port, stock exchange, historic colonial-era promenade, picturesque gardens and even Disneyland. Near Shanghai there is a picturesque town of Suzhou called the Venice of the East. The city is famous for its beautiful gardens that date back to the 14th century and the Silk Museum.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong and Macao are two special administrative regions of China located on the east coast of the country by the South China Sea. Cities are separated in a straight line only 60 km, which in Chinese conditions is a very short distance. Hong Kong is a former British colony. It is a place of many contrasts, a blend of many cultures, economic power and unique nature. In order to save a small area on which Hong Kong lies, many state-of-the-art skyscrapers have been built here. Hong Kong is the most visited city in the world.

the most visited city


Macao, in turn, was a former Portuguese colony. Relatively recently, only in 1999, it was handed over to China. It is one of the richest regions in the world. The economy is largely based on tourism and gambling. Macau is the only place in China where citizens can gamble legally.

Dam on the Yangtze River – Three Gorges Dam

The Three Gorges Dam is a huge dam and also the world’s largest hydroelectric power plant. The Yangtze River Dam is located in the Hubei Province of Central China. The cost of building the dam is estimated at $ 37 billion. The consequence of the creation of the Three Gorges Dam was the forced displacement of over a million people. The area of ​​17 large cities, 140 towns and over 3,000 villages was completely flooded.

Tiananmen Square

Many people are unaware of the long history and importance behind Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The 13-acre, L shape square is located near Western Chang’An Avenue on the north side of Mao Zedong Memorial Hall (formerly Great Hall Of The People). It was first constructed by Emperor Qin Shi Huang during his unification campaign to serve as a major ceremonial center for China’s ancient capital city Xi’an. Later it became an important site that remembers Chairman Mao Tse Dong after he proclaimed himself chairman at this location in 1949 – where then President Jiang Zemin gave him honorific title “The great leader”.

Natural Landmarks in China

Guilin and Yangshuo

Guilin is an exotic city in Southeast China. It is considered a magical and unique place due to its beautiful nature. Guilin is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the whole country. The city is surrounded by two rivers, four lakes and karst hills. There is a beautiful view of the area from Fubo – the hill taming the waves. The four-hour Li River cruise takes you to the town of Yangshuo, a charming place surrounded by beautiful hills, rice fields and fruit groves. The local inhabitants still use cormorants to catch fish.

Yungang Grottoes

Yungang Grottoes are located in the Chinese Shanxi Province near Datong Town. It is a complex of rock Buddhist temples. Since 2001, the Yungang Caves are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Among the 252 caves there are over 50,000 rock carvings. The largest of them have the 17-meter Buddha.

The Ravine of the Leaping Tiger

The Tiger Leaping Gorge is the name of a distinctive, narrow canyon on the Yangtze River in southwest China. The canyon is located in the province of Yunnan. The gorge is crossed by the vertical, more than 5000 m high Mount Haba and the Snowy Mountain of Jade Dragon. An excellent, over 25 km long trekking route, dotted with rapid waterfalls awaits tourists.

Tianmen Mountains

The Tianmen Mountains are located in the national park of the same name in central China. It is a real miracle of nature, the highest point of which is 1,500 m above sea level. The mountains are almost entirely covered with greenery. There is a “Gate to Heaven”, which is the highest located grotto in the world. This huge, 130 m high rock window is a real tourist attraction. The world’s longest cable car leads to the top. The biggest attraction of this place is the viewing route suspended over the precipice, which in some places has a glass floor.

Mount Everest

A lot of people think Mt. Everest is in China, which isn’t surprising because they call themselves “The Middle Kingdom” (referring back to ancient times). But actually, Mt. Everest sits on the border between Nepal and Tibet at 29000 feet high (8848 meters)

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