China, officially known as the People’s Republic of China, is a country in East Asia with an area coverage of approximately 3.7 million square miles. China’s coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 9,000 miles long and is bounded by four seas, namely the Bohai, Yellow, East China, and South China seas. It is the world’s second largest state by land area and the most populated state. It is one of the cradles of civilization with its history, beginning with an ancient civilization that flourished in the fertile basin of the Yellow River. China has been recorded as having the second largest economy in the world with different phases of boom and recession in a span of several years. Some of the following heritage sites have been recorded as contributing to this economy.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites In China
Ancient City of Ping Yao
The Ancient City of Ping Yao is located at Pingyao County in central Shanxi province, founded in the 14th century. The city was established during the period of King Xuan of Zhou and was used mainly for military purposes and acted as the capital city for the relatives of the emperor. The walls of the city were built to resist invaders. UNESCO included the city as a World Heritage site in the year 1997 as it is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Han Chinese city. It clearly indicates and brings out the evolution that has taken place in the architectural designs and town planning in Imperial China over five centuries.
China Danxia, also known as Danxia landform of China, is the name of a unique type of landscape formed from Redstone. It is characterized by steep red cliffs and other spectacular erosional landforms caused by endogenous forces like uplift and exogenous forces such as erosion. It is located in an approximately 1056 mile arc from Guizhou Province in the west to Zhejiang province in the east. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in August 2010. The inscribed site is a serial property with six parts found in the sub-tropical zone of South-Eastern China. These parts are Chishui, Longhushan, Taining, Langshan, Danxiashan, and Jianglangshan.
The Grand Canal
The Grand Canal, officially known as the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, is the longest canal in the world and a famous tourist attraction destination in China. Its total length is 1,104 miles and at the mountain, its greatest height is reached at 138 feet. Higher elevations can be reached easily by ships after the invention of a pound lock in the 10th century. The safety and functioning of the canal were threatened when the nearby Yellow River flooded causing massive disaster and prolonged economic hardship. Despite all that, it has furthered domestic and faster growing industrial markets in most of China’s urban centers. It is one of the greatest UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country.
The Great Wall of China
This wall is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, and wood built along an east to west line across China’s northern borders to protect Chinese states against invasions and raids from nomadic groups of Eurasian Steppe. The defensive characteristics of this wall have been enhanced over the years through various ways such as the construction of watchtowers. In the 7th century, several walls were built, but they were late joined to form a much stronger wall which is referred to as the Great Wall. The Great Wall was inscribed in the 1987 and has served several purposes such as allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along Silk Road, regulation and encouragement of trade, and control of immigration and emigration.
The Mogao Caves
Thousand Buddha Grottoes is another name for The Mogao Caves. They form a system consisting of 492 temples located South-east of the Centre of Dunhuang. It is an oasis strategically located at the crossroads of trade as well as religious, cultural, and intellectual influences on the Silk Road, Gansu province. Construction of these caves is presumed to have begun in the 4th century, and they contain wall paintings and estimated 1000 years of Buddhist art. The Mogao Caves was inscribed in 1987 by UNESCO and listed as a World’s Heritage Site.
Other Heritage Sites In China
China has one of the highest numbers of heritage sites in the world. Apart from those discussed in the article, others include the South China Karst inscribed in 2007, the Historic Center of Macao inscribed in 2005, Xanadu in 2012, and the most recent is the Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape inscribed in 2016.