Attractions of Ancient China
China is home to over a billion people, many of whom live in glittering modern cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou where they enjoy the latest in modern technology and comfort. But China is also a land steeped in history, with a national character guided by the 3,000-year-old teachings of an ancient scholar – Confucius. For those interested in culture and ancient civilizations, China’s venerable past is an irresistible magnet, drawing them back to a long-gone time of conquest and discovery. Step into our time machine as we take you back in time to walk in the footsteps of the Emperors and warriors of ancient China.
Luoyang, Cradle of Chinese Civilization
Our first stop on our private luxury tour of ancient China has to be Luoyang in central China’s Henan province, the cradle of the Chinese civilization. There are several archaeological digs to visit in this one-time capital which stands on thousands of years of history. Relics discovered in the area, among the world’s greatest treasures, date back to 2070 BC during the time of China’s Xia dynasty.
White Horse Temple
Baima Si (White Horse Temple) is said to be the very first Buddhist temple in China, dating back to 68 AD under the patronage of Emperor Ming. Legend has it that the temple was built to honor and house two monks from India who arrived in Henan carrying Buddhist scriptures on two white horses.
Dengfeng Shaolin Temple
Visit the Dengfeng Shaolin Temple and you may see grandmasters such as Shi DeRu and Shi DeYang, decedent disciples of the late Great Grand Master of the Shaolin Temple Shi SuXi. This Chan Buddhist temple and its Pagoda Forest are UNESCO recognized World Heritage sites and it remains the main home of Shaolin Kungfu. Image by Shi Deru
The Longmen Grottoes are another UNESCO recognized site. The caves hold many thousands of statues of Buddha and his disciples, 60 stupas and over 2,800 inscriptions on steles carved into the limestone. This is the most impressive collection of Chinese Art from the late Northern Wei and Tang Dynasties and date from 316 to 907 AD. The people of Luoyang are proud of their rich cultural heritage as the birthplace of Chinese history. 105 Chinese emperors made the area their home and as you explore the streets of the ancient city, you may be walking in their very footsteps.
Xi’an, One of the Four Great Ancient Cities
Next, we will visit Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province and the oldest of the ‘Four Great Ancient Capitals‘. Located in central-northwest China, this city is a living history book to the area’s cultural past. Formally known as Chang’an, Xi’an lies on the eastern base of the world-famous Silk Road and is probably best known today as the site of Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum and the impressive Terracotta Army, created to accompany him into the afterlife. Emperor Qin became the first ruler of a unified China in 221 BC at the age of 38. Not only were 6,000 plus warriors crafted to protect Emperer Qin. He also took with him 130 chariots and over 600 horses. The detail in each individual creation is astonishing. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was described as the eighth wonder of the world by the former French president, Jacques Chirac.
Chinese Tea Ceremony
Xi’an is the ideal place to experience a traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony. Tea making in China dates back thousands of years and was made especially popular during the Tang dynasty. As you sit in an ancient teahouse, immersed in the grace of the tea preparation, you can imagine that you are sitting in the company of scholars and noblemen from an older age as they discuss points of law and philosophy.
Big Wild Goose Temple
Xi’an is home to many temples and ancient monuments. One such is Big Wild Goose Pagoda, built in 652 in the midst of the Tang Dynasty. It was established, so the story goes, at the site where a big wild goose crashed to earth with broken wings after a hungry meat-eating monk had wished for meat. The monks all believed this was a sign that Bodhisattva was displeased at their lack of piety and they immediately stopped eating meat.
Back to the Future in Shanghai
Sadly, every vacation must come to an end. The mysteries and treasures of ancient China are fascinating but there are far too many to take in on just one tour. But, don’t worry. Our time machine is here waiting for your next trip. For now, we will take you back to the future where you can spend some time relaxing in one of the world’s most modern cities. Welcome to Shanghai where you can find the best of dining, shopping and nightlife.