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Posts Tagged ‘China’


A Chinese Visa: Your Key to Enter the Forbidden City

April 17th, 2011
This week's featured UNESCO World Heritage Site was the home of the last two great Chinese dynasties: the Ming and the Qing. Once, the Forbidden City was the center of the Chinese empire. Nobody could enter or leave without the permission of the emperor, hence the name. The last emperor of China was kicked out of the palace in 1924, and the Forbidden City is now the Palace Museum, open to anyone who can pay the fees. Still, it continues to impress and delight visitors. Part of the Forbidden City's grandeur comes simply from its scale. It is the largest palace complex in the world, and took 15 years to build. When the trees were cut down for the main hall, records indicate that the massive trunks were too big for workers to move.  Instead, they had to wait for floods to wash them

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Get a Chinese Visa to Visit the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan

March 13th, 2011
You could literally spend weeks touring this week's featured UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas includes 1.7 million hectares of land inside China's Three Parallel Rivers National Park. The three rivers in question are among the largest and most important in Asia: the Yangtze, the Mekong and the Salween. Although their courses take them far away from each other, they run roughly parallel in Yunnan province, slicing deep gorges into the steep mountains. According to UNESCO, "The deep, parallel gorges of the Jinsha, Lancang and Nu Jiang are the outstanding natural feature of the site; while large sections of the three rivers lie just outside the site boundaries, the river gorges are nevertheless the dominant scenic element in the area. High

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China Visa Requirements to See the Bianzhong Bells of Marquis Yi

February 3rd, 2011
There's an entire laundry list of technological innovations that the Chinese developed centuries before the West, including porcelain, silk, the compass, paper and gunpowder. Another area in which the Chinese beat the west was music, via an instrument called the bianzhong. Bianzhong bells are made of bronze and were developed at least 3600 years ago in ancient China. Because of their unique shape, each bell can produce two different tones, depending on where the musician strikes them. A full set of 65 bells can play a complete 12 tone scale - another capability that the Chinese developed over 2,000 years earlier than Europeans. In the entire world, only one of these ancient instruments remains intact. In fact, their existence was basically forgotten until 1978, when a set of Bian

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Get a Chinese Visa to Visit the Tombs of Emperors

January 16th, 2011
This week's featured UNESCO World Heritage Site is the final resting place for some of China's most powerful emperors in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. These dynasties, which together lasted from 1368 to 1912, were China's last two imperial dynasties. After the Qing Dynasty fell in 1912, it was succeeded by the Republic of China. The tombs themselves, which are laid out according to ancient Chinese principles of fengshui, are impressive and richly decorated with carvings and statues. They are designed to look like imperial palaces, providing suitable housing for the spirits of emperors, empresses, and other members of the royal family. UNESCO says that "The Ming and Qing imperial tombs are outstanding testimony to a cultural and architectural tradition that for over 500 years dominated

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Chinese Visa Requirements to Tour the Tea Horse Road

December 26th, 2010
The Silk Road may get all the glory, but there's another, lesser-known Chinese trade route that's no less interesting to explore. The "Tea-Horse Road"  once carried tea from China to Tibet, where the Chinese traded it for tough Tibetan horses. The original trail was incredibly difficult and rough, and yet Chinese tea porters made the journey with packs of tea on their backs that weighed more than they did.  National Geographic travel writer Mark Jenkins recently traveled what remains of the  Tea Horse road, and found some elderly Chinese porters who were willing to talk about their days hauling tea. The traditional tea porter song that they sang for him illustrates how hard the work was: Seven steps up, you have to rest. Eight steps down, you have to rest. Eleven steps flat,

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