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As the world’s oldest continuous civilisation, China unsurprisingly has some of the most impressive and historically significant artefacts in the world. Despite the country tumultuous recent history China still offers visitors a chance to glimpse at some of the world’s most illustrious ancient empires.
Currently China is home to over 40 UNESCO world heritage sights, dotted all over the country. The capital of Beijing itself hosts 7 of these! The most famous of which is probably the Forbidden City. Built during the height of the Ming dynasty, the enormous palace complex was the imperial palace for twenty-four emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Now known as the Palace Museum, the world's largest palace complex and covers 74 hectares and is surrounded by a 52-meter-wide moat and a 10-meter-high wall are more than 8,700 rooms.
Turning west from Beijing travellers will find the equally fascinating city of Xi’an home to the world famous Terracotta Warriors. Added to the UNESCO list of cultural heritage sights in 1987 the Terracotta Warriors of The first Qin Emperors Tomb are a must see sight for any traveller to China. Over 7,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been unearthed from the tombs making it one of the most important and fruitful archaeological finds of the last century.
On 3rd July this year the historically enthralling and largely unknown structures from the ethnically diverse Tusi Sites in southwest China were added to the prestigious UNESCO world heritage sites, joining the likes of the Forbidden city and .
Although maybe not as large or well-known as many of its counterparts on the World Heritage List. What the Tusi sites lack in size they make up for in intrigue. The Tusi sites are comprised of Hailongtun Fortress in Guizhou Province, the Laoshicheng citadel ruins and mansions in the Hunan Province, and the Tangya archways in Hubei Province.
Having been deemed to have 'universal value,' the sites boast the remains of an ancient political system adopted by Chinese emperors to govern ethnic minority regions in south-central and southwest China, with Tusi literally referring to the hereditary tribal headmen appointed to oversee the often unruly areas.
Impressively, once these changes were adopted, the following historical period, from the 13th to the 20th century, facilitated a high amount of ethnic diversity, strengthened national unity and promoted coexistence between the country's central government and the local minority areas.
Emperors adopted the system, which facilitated ethnic diversity and promoted coexistence, in the 13th century.
Today's residents of the Tusi areas, which include the Miao, Tujia and Mulam ethnic groups, have preserved the traditional folklore, beliefs and poetry of the Tusi era, which shows a dynamic cultural heritage.
Despite their recent addition to UNESCO the sights remain very isolated and getting to them can be very tricky, requiring long trips on bumpy roads in the middle of the wild southern Chinese countryside or rides up small winding rivers in some of china’s most underdeveloped regions. But if you are a traveller determined to visit these sights there is a way.
Probably the safest route is to fly into the capital of Hubei province Wuhan and then commission a vehicle to take you on the very long drive out to the nearest of the sights, from there you can drive into the neighbouring provinces to visit the other sights.
A trip to the Tusi sights is not for the fainthearted.
If you are interested in learning more about the history of China, its people or culture this year why not take the leap and plan a holiday to China with CTS Horizons. With our years of experience and expertise in China we can help introduce travellers to this stunning misunderstood country and feed any curiosity you may have.
CTS Horizons tours are designed to help travellers get to know China more personally in comfort and ease. If you’re interested in the dynastic history of China why not try our Very Best of the Middle Kingdom tour or if you’re interested in the many different minority cultures of China why not book or China Panorama tour? And new for 2016 is our Red China tour where travellers will have the opportunity to visit China’s ancient and modern historical monuments.
Please contact us on 020 3750 1655 or email us email@example.com.