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Incredible China: big, bigger, the biggest !!!

When we think about China, we think big ! Big because first of all it is a huge country (the 3rd biggest country) but also because we can’t ignore the architectural prowess of amazing and huge buildings or structures, ancient and contemporary. 

Nothing seems impossible for the Chinese and China definitively likes superlatives (I let you count the number of ‘the tallest’, ‘the biggest’, ‘the highest’, ‘the largest’…) and a lot of architectural structures and building undoubtless match that statement.

 

The very first one that comes into the mind is undoubtedly the Great Wall since it is the longest structure ever built by humans. If you measure the length of all the different sections of wall, the distance is 22000 kilometres (13670 miles). The widest section of the wall is around 9 metres and the highest point of the wall is around 8 metres. Huge enough to be seen from a satellite ! Needless to say it is a must see spot at only one hour and a half far driving from Beijing. U China Travel brings you to Mutianyu Great Wall, one of the best-preserved and less crowded Great Wall sections. It has been renovated, making it easier and safer to climb. Moreover, it is equipped with cableway and luge, which make the visit possible for children and seniors.

Flowers bloom all over the mountains in spring. Grasses dress the hillside green in summer. Trees are laden with sweet fruit in autumn, and especially in October, leaves turn red or yellow, touching the mountain tops with gold. In winter, the wall is covered by snow, making it more magnificent.

Great Wall of China U China Travel
The Great Wall of China

 

Another must-see spot U China Travel likes bringing you to for the first time or umpteenth as wandering inside is such an unrivalled feeling is The Forbidden City. This magnificent building complex located in the very heart of Beijing is the largest and well-preserved wooden building complex of the world.

Forbidden City in Beijing

 

Also in Beijing, the Temple of Heaven is the largest existing temple in China. It is renowned for its precise outlay, unique structures and decorations which cover an area of 2.7 million square meters. 

Early morning is the best time to visit The Temple of Heaven. It is well worth waking up for; you will have an interesting experience watching local people doing morning exercises. Next to an older person practicing the slow and flowing movements of Tai Chi there might be a youngster performing vigorous karate-like punches and kicks; one group might be learning the ancient martial art of sword fighting, while another would be practicing a traditional dance. If you want to explore and try Tai Chi, U China Travel can make you join the practitioners at sunrise.

Temple of Heaven in Beijing

 

Among the top ten most unstable architectures in the world, the Hanging Temple is located on a cliff of Mt. Hengshan in Datong, Shanxi Province.

How could a building like this withstand the winds and storms of so many years? Hanging Monastery is an architectural wonder. A unique mechanical theory was applied to building the framework. 

And why build a monastery like this? Location is the first reason: building a monastery on the cliff could shield it from floods. In addition, the mountain peak protects it from rain and snow; and the mountain around it also diminishes damage from long-time sunshine. 

Hanging Temple
Hanging temple near Datong in Shanxi province
Sakyamuni Pagoda Fogong Temple

 In the same Province, Sakyamuni Pagoda Fogong Temple is the oldest fully wooden pagoda still standing in China today. With the total height of 67.13 meters, Yingxian Muta is the highest wooden pagoda in China and also the world highest wooden pagoda.

But more impressive than its beauty, it is its durability. The 220.83 ft. tall temple was built almost 2000 years ago (yes you read that right!) in 1056. It has survived several earthquakes and other natural disasters, which is a miracle in itself. 

 

 

Situated at a strategic point along the Silk Road, at the crossroads of trade as well as religious, cultural and intellectual influences, the Mogao Grottoes (Gansu Province) are the largest, oldest and the best-preserved Buddhist grottoes with the richest contents in the world.

Mogao Grottoes along the Silk Road

 

Leshan Giant Buddha (Sichuan Province) is the tallest stone Buddha in the world, carved out of a cliff. Finally finished under the hard work by three generation of craftsmen for 90 years, this engineering masterpiece has a history over 1300 years.

While the width of mouth and eye is 3.3 meters, his neck is 3 meters tall, his shoulder is 24 meters wide and his finger is 8.3 meters long.

His smallest toenail can accommodate a seated person.

Leshan Giant Buddha
Leshan Giant Buddha
The Canton Tower

 Canton Tower (Guangzhou) is also the 4th tallest freestanding structure in the world. In 2011, this record was broke by the Tokyo Sky Tree. But it still remains the title of the tallest building in China.

 The 46-storey Leeza Soho Tower, located in the buzzing Lize Financial Business District in Beijing, with a huge twisting atrium at its centre, is the tallest in the world.

Leeza Soho
Leeza Soho Tower

 

With a totally length of 36 kilometers, Hangzhou Bay bridge ranks as the longest cross-ocean bridge in the world.

Hangzhou Bay Bridge
Hangzhou Bay Bridge

 

In their gigantism spree, China never forgets the aestheticism.

To reach these superlatives and the aestheticism, China attracts the best talents from around the world. China wants to work with architects who understand what the next generation requires, connecting communities and traditions with new technologies and innovations to embrace the future.

The amazingly beautiful architectural buildings and structures are countless!

Self-proclaimed to be one of the “greatest museums of the world,” the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel, will contain collections dating back to the Ming Era. Programs include permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, a research and education center, auditorium, large-scale interior garden and a series of public spaces.

National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) in Beijing
National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) in Beijing

The Egg or Water drop in Beiing or more formally known as the National Centre for the Performing Arts is an ellipsoid dome of titanium and glass surrounded by an artificial lake and vast expanse of green space

The location, immediately to the west of Tiananmen Square and the Great Hall of the People, and near the Forbidden City, combined with the theatre’s futuristic design, created considerable controversy.

Paul Andreu, the French architect who designed this magnificent structure, countered that although there is indeed value in ancient traditional Chinese architecture, Beijing must also include modern architecture, as the capital of the country and an international city of great importance. His design, with large open space, water, trees, was specially designed to complement the red walls of ancient buildings and the Great Hall of the People, in order to melt into the surroundings as opposed to standing out against them.

National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing

 

More recently, the Tianjin Binhai Library made the buzz for its incredible white floor to ceiling bookshelves, and all-around gorgeous interior design!  With 33,700 square meters and five levels, there is enough shelf space for 1.2 million books. Needless to say it is the biggest library in the world!

Tianjin Binhai Library
Tianjin Binhai Library

 

Dongzhuang Building Museum of the Western Regions used to be a 1950s grain mill, which has been transformed into a light and airy museum of the Western Regions. It is designed to look like a stone that’s rolled down from the mountain, seamlessly blending into the landscape of the Nanshan grasslands. This museum captures the majestic and uninterrupted view of the mountains. 

Dongzhuang Building Museum of the Western Regions

 

Tianrenhe Museum located in Hangzhou is the first private contemporary art museum. Located in a former train depot and factory it is an impressive space at 2,000m², it is the ‘China’s longest museum’.

Tianrenhe Museum
Tianrenhe Museum

 

The list of the most extravagant and biggest architectural buildings could continue endless since each year new amazing architectural creations spring up. By the way, our future guests will have the possibility to land in the new Beijing airport from late 2019 – the world’s largest airport shaped like a sea star!

To fully appreciate all these breathtaking monuments, buildings, U China Travel is your perfect travel partner to discover them!

For further information and any inquiries, feel free to contact us at: info@uchinatravel.com

Shanxi Museum

Shanxi Museum

Not to be confused with the Shaanxi Museum, the Shanxi Museum, located in the capital of Taiyuan is the largest in the province. The building houses all kinds of goodies from notable cultural relics to over 100,000 ancient texts. There are over 400,000 relics from various dynasties, starting from the Neolithic Age and all the way to the Ming and Qing Dynasty. Shanxi’s extensive amount of artifacts and it’s important history in the country makes the museum an ideal place to learn about the ancient centre of northern China.
The Shanxi museum was founded in 2005, but first opened as a library and museum in 1919. It’s one of the earliest museums to open in China.
A few hours, or an entire morning or afternoon should be needed to cover everything in the museum. There are always numerous exhibitions to explore. There’s a section for visitors to watch the art of pottery making and a traditional Chinese Shadow Play performed throughout the day in the Exhibition Hall. Visitors are encouraged to participate if they desire. Signage and information are marked in English as well as Chinese. There’s also an in-house cafe and bookshop.

Shanghai MOCA

The Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai (MOCA)

The Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai (MOCA Shanghai) is located in the heart of Shanghai just north of People’s Square, which houses the Municipal Government Headquarters and Shanghai’s most time-honored museums. Founded in 2005, the glass-paneled MOCA Shanghai was built in the fashion of the former People’s Park Greenhouse, with a modern twist which belies the edgy masterpieces it contains. The ground floor and first level of the museum boast a total of 1,800 square meters of exhibition space, with the two levels connected by a sweeping steel ramp. MOCA Shanghai is dedicated to the promotion of cross-cultural contemporary artwork, and therefore showcases work produced by established international and Chinese artists, as well as little-known local artists looking to gain entry to the world stage. The museum holds a biennale, MOCA Envisage, which offers an introspective exploration of China’s contemporary art scene, its prominent themes and the nature of its evolution. In addition to the museum’s eye-catching exhibitions, MOCA Shanghai also runs seminars, talks, and educational programs throughout the year, ensuring that the museum’s galleries, though oftentimes abstract and perplexing, are deconstructed in a user-friendly format for easy consumption and digestion.

Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture Museum

Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture Museum

The Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture Museum is near the Erhai Dock, located in the east of Erhai South Road in Xiaguan Town of Dali City, Yunnan Province. It was built in 1986, and has a total area of 50 mu (about 8 acres). It is really a garden Museum with strong local ethnic minority’s characteristics. It combines ancient Dali architectural styles and Bai architectural styles. The museum is also the central institution where the government of Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture conducts cultural relic research, excavations, collecting, exhibiting and so on.

Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture Museum has delightful surroundings. Its exhibition hall shows the clear domestic house architectural style of Bai: ‘Three rooms and one wall screening, four joints and five courtyards’. The layout of the Museum adopts symmetric forms. All of its constructions seem to be one integrated mass, reflected in the surrounding pines and cypress. Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture Museum itself is a great architectural work of art of the Bai ethnic minority. It is indeed worth visiting when traveling in Dali.

Dali City has a history of more than 4,000 years. Nanzhao Kingdom (738-902) and Dali Kingdom (937-1253) were set up successively in Dali. Thus the museum has great cultural relics. Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture Museum is a compilation of Dali history, through which you can appreciate the charms of the historical civilizations in Dali.

Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture Museum is the first Autonomous Prefecture Museum in Yunnan Province.The Nanzhao Kingdom and Dali Kingdom historical relics and the ethnic relics of Bai are the most important exhibitions. The art of bronze and ceramic sculptures are the mainstay. Dali Autonomous Prefecture Museum is a local synthetic Museum. The Museum has twelve main exhibition halls.  Eight of these exhibit year-round, including ‘Bronzes Cultural Relics Exhibition Hall’, ‘Nanzhao Kingdom and Dali Kingdom Stone Carving Arts Exhibition Hall’, ‘Nanzhao Kingdom and Dali Kingdom Painting Arts Exhibition Hall’, ‘Chinaware Exhibition Hall’, ‘Fine Marble Exhibition Hall’, ‘Nanzhao Kingdom and Dali Kingdom Cultural Relics Exhibition Hall’, ‘Bai Folk-custom Exhibition Hall’, ‘Dali Modern Revolutionary Historical Sites Relics Exhibition Hall’, etc. The exhibitions have deep cultural connotations.

Chinese Sturgeon Museum

Chinese Sturgeon Museum

Located in the city of Yichang on the island of Huangpo River, the Chinese Sturgeon Museum serves as a vital research and preservation base for this ancient and important species of fish.
With over 27 species of sturgeon in existence, the Chinese sturgeon is native to the Yangtze River. The species is over 140 million years old and one of the oldest types of fish still in existence today.
A Chinese Sturgeon Research Center opened in 1982 following the Genzhou Dam Project. Over a decade later, the Center constructed and opened a Sturgeon Museum to the public. Numerous tanks are displayed with the native Chinese sturgeon and other sturgeon species, including the rare Russian sturgeon. There are also a variety of fish and aquatic animals. Soon a breeding base will be open for public observation.
The Research Center has proven to be successful in the preservation of this unique species of fish in China.

General Joseph W. Stilwell Museum

General Joseph W. Stilwell Museum

This is a Chongqing museum dedicated to General Joseph W. Stilwell, who was affectionately known as “Vinegar Joe”. He was the U.S’s Commander-in-Chief for the China-Burma-India Theater in WWII during the Second Sino-Japanese war. Fluent in Chinese and Japanese, Stilwell served as a vital communicator between the American, Chinese and Japanese troops with commander Chiang Kai-shek. He re-located to Chongqing in March of 1942, and the Chongqing house was his last residence in China as well as the army’s main office.
Outside of the museum overlooking the Chongqing skyline is a bust of Stilwell. The museum’s main building has two floors and is decorated in the style of the 1940’s. In the courtyard, there lies a stone plaque of a letter written by former president Franklin D. Roosevelt to the people of Chongqing.
In 1991 the Chongqing city government decided to transform the house into a museum. It’s situated along the Jialing River in Chongqing’s Yuzhong district.

Shanghai China Art Museum

Shanghai China Art Museum

More so than any other city in China, Shanghai is filled with an extensive array of modern art museums which are as much about pushing new architectural boundaries as they are about challenging viewers with edgy artwork. While traditional forms of art are best viewed within a traditional setting, contemporary works are more easily embedded within novel exhibition format, allowing for more avant-garde forms of presentation and expression.

There are a handful of museums in Shanghai leading this collection of groundbreaking new institutions, the first being the The China Art Museum, popularly known as the China Art Palace due to its gleaming, majestic presence. Boasting 166,000 square meters of floor space and 27 cloistered exhibition halls, the China Art Palace is the largest art museum in Asia and Shanghai’s flagship museum within the realm of contemporary art. While not strictly a contemporary art museum, the upper floors of the museum are dedicated to the museum’s permanent collection, which prominently feature a staggering array of Chinese modern art. The China Art Palace’s main exhibitions are centered on four overarching themes: the Origin of Chinese Modern and Contemporary Art, Artworks Featuring Shanghai’s Historical and Cultural Development, the Artwork of Noted Painters and Artistic Development in the New Century. On the lower floors, you will find a glitzy array of Mao-era memorabilia and neo-socialist iconography commemorating China at the height of its collectivist surge. The museum has also hosted works from New York’s Whitney Museum, London’s British Museum, and Paris’s Maisons de Victor Hugo, so be sure to keep an eye out for visiting exhibitions. Housed in the former China Pavilion of the 2010 Shanghai Expo, the China Art Palace’s exterior facade is as impressive as the masterpieces it houses, and it’s worth noting that while the museum is free for visitors, online reservations are required in order to enter.

 

Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Museum

Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Museum

Located in the basement of a nondescript Shanghai apartment complex on Huashan Road facing Wukang Road, in the former French Concession area, is the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Museum, a cozy collection of Chinese propaganda posters dating from 1910 to 1990. As a private museum started by Yang Pei Ming, a local who began collecting posters back in 1995 when the Chinese government began purging propaganda materials in order to wipe the state’s political slate clean, the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Museum is an organically-grown, one of a kind institution. By documenting the evolution of modern China through the state-driven depictions printed on thousands upon thousands of boldly illustrated posters, over the years Yang managed to accumulate the largest and most comprehensive collection of Chinese propaganda posters in the world. While this hidden collection remained a controversial point of contention during the first decade it was opened to the public, in 2012 the museum obtained an official license from the government, to an extent highlighting the Chinese government’s evolving approach to acknowledging the country’s storied past. Gazing into the posters’ colorful iconography, the past several decades of China’s turbulent history come to life in a way no lecture or history book could ever hope to match, and although the voice of Chairman Mao is but a faint echo in the nation’s memory, these thousands of posters continue to provide a patchwork window for visitors to peer through.

Heilongjiang Provincial Museum

Heilongjiang Provincial Museum

First established in 1904, the Heilongjiang Provincial Museum remains the largest museum in Heilongjiang Province, covering an area of more than 7,000 meters. Constructed in traditional Russian architectural styles, the main structure is brick and wood, and is separated into two main sections; an exhibition area, and an area reserved for the storage of relics.  The museum is home to an astonishing 107,400 piece collection of historical relics, including 40,000 ancient books, 70,000 fossil specimens, and 30,000 paintings and relics belonging to the region’s minority groups. Encompassing a vast body of information on the areas art, history, culture, animals, and plants, the museum is the primary resource for research in the provincial region.  The exhibition area is subdivided into three spaces displaying historical relics, animals, and ancient animals respectively. The historical hall follows the historical development of Heilongjiang Province through the exhibition of more than 900 cultural relics. In the animal exhibition hall information is revealed about the region’s local animal population including fossil specimens. Information pertaining to the fascinating history of the area’s early inhabitants can be found in the ancient animal exhibition hall. There you can observe fossil specimens belonging to dinosaurs, mammoths, and wolly rhinoceros, explaining the evolutionary processes that occurred in the region.

China National Museum

China National Museum

Following an extensive three-year renovation, China’s National Museum has finally reopened in its original location along the east side of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. The renovation included an expansion, bringing the museum’s size to a whopping 191,900 square meters distributed over 49 exhibition halls, placing it in contest for one of the world’s largest museums.

The museum boasts a collection of more than 1 million relics spanning China’s extensive history, with pieces dating back as far as 3,500 years. Its two permanent exhibitions include one dedicated to the history of ancient China, and one documenting Chinese history following the Opium Wars of 1840. Museum curators also have plans to host an array of special exhibitions documenting Chinese art including bronze, porcelain, jade, ink painting, calligraphy and Ming and Qing dynasty furniture.

Besides exhibitions, the museum will hold various public functions, as well as conduct archeological research and host educational functions for the public. Curators also hope to host cultural exchanges with other museums.

With its official public opening slated to take place on March 16th, the museum will welcome 3,000 visitors daily, 2,000 of which are attending as groups, and 1,000 of which hold individual tickets.