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Overview to China: Travel Guide and Tourist Information
Few countries in the world have such an extensive list of top-class attractions as China. Only Italy and Spain can match its number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and to list them is to look at a roll call of some of the world’s most beautiful monuments.
To the north and east of the country are the great cities of Beijing and Shanghai. Beijing, the country’s capital, lays claim to Tiananmen Square (scene of the infamous uprising) and the remarkable Forbidden Palace.
To the southwest of the country, Buddhist Tibet – sometimes referred to as ‘the Roof of the World’ – is home to the stunning Potala Palace set against its backdrop of snow-capped mountains.
Elsewhere in the country, the imperial city of Xian with its infamous Terracotta Warriors, the ancient trade route of the Silk Road and the Yangzi River, are all guaranteed to draw gasps of admiration from even the most hardened backpacker.
Practically everything about China is big, bold and beautiful. The truly magnificent Great Wall of China winds its way some 6,400km across the country, whilst the celebrations for Chinese New Year involve the largest human migration.
What's more, understandably for a country with so vast a population, China is a place of stark, and occasionally disconcerting, contrasts. The difference between the huge skyscrapers and fabulous wealth of the big urban centers and the pre-industrial poverty of rural China is striking.
But these contrasts are apparent in everything. Its cuisine (so different from the ‘Chinese’ food you get outside of the country) varies enormously from place to place, as do its peoples, their customs and their languages. Most varied of all, though, are its otherworldly, almost mystical landscapes.
From the barren, windswept deserts of Xinjiang and the emptiness of the Gobi Desert, to the Panda sanctuaries of the misty forests of Szechuan Province, China is a country of almost limitless variety.