Thursday, 1 December 2011

World Heritage in China

Since joining the International Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage in 1985, China has 40 world heritage sites to date; of these 28 are cultural heritage sites, seven are natural heritage sites, and four are cultural and natural (mixed) sites, ranking third in the world.
Hong Kong Post issued the stamp series depicted the World Heritage in China, but only some like The Imperial Palace, Jiuzhaigou, The Old Town of Lijiang, Mausoleum of the  first Qin Emperor  , Mount of Huangshan, The Potala Palace.


Jiuzhaigou National Park  (literally "Nine Village Valley") takes its name from the nine Tibetan villages along its length is a nature reserve in the north of Sichuan, a province in south western China. Jiuzhaigou's best-known feature is its dozens of blue, green and turquoise-colored lakes and many multi-level waterfalls  and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.It belongs to the category V (Protected Landscape) in the IUCN system of protected area categorization.
Jiuzhaigou's ecosystem is classified as temperate broad-leaf forest and woodlands, with mixed mountain and highland systems. Nearly 300 km2 (116 sq mi) of the core scenic area are covered by virgin mixed forests. Those forests take on attractive yellow, orange and red hues in the autumn, making that season a popular one for visitors. They are home to a number of plant species of interest, such as endemic varieties of rhododendron and bamboo.
Jiuzhaigou is  home to approximately 140 bird species. Local fauna includes the endangered giant panda and golden snub-nosed monkey. Both populations are very small (less than 20 individuals for the pandas) and isolated. Their survival is in question in a valley subject to increasing tourism.

The Forbidden City (technically called "The Purple Forbidden City," a reference to a secret purple area in heaven thought to be centred near the North Star) was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost five hundred years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government.
Built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings with 8,707 bays of rooms[ and covers 720,000 m2 .The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987,and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. 
The Old Town of Lijiang  is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Lijiang City, Yunnan, China. The town has a history going back more than 800 years and was once a confluence for trade along the old tea horse road. The Lijiang old town is famous for its orderly system of waterways and bridges. The old town of Lijiang differs from other ancient Chinese cities in architecture, history and the culture of its traditional residents the Nakhi people.
Lijiang old town (including Dayan, Baisha and Shuhe) was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List in December 4, 1997. Since then, the local government has taken more responsibility for the development and protection of the old city. Lijiang's tourism also boomed, and travellers from around the world flooded in; although many locals fear that due to much of the development, the old town of Lijiang will lose its appeal.
The Nakhi people perform Dongjing Music, an ancient form of Taoist ritual music, in Lijiang. Lijiang is also the site of the Lijiang Snow Mountain Music Festival , which features Chinese rock music. The festival was created by Chinese pop musician Cui Jian. 

Huangshan  is a mountain range in southern Anhui province in eastern China. The area is well known for its scenery, sunsets, peculiarly-shaped granite peaks, Huangshan Pine trees, and views of the clouds from above.
Huangshan is a frequent subject of traditional Chinese paintings and literature, as well as modern photography.

Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of China's major tourist destinations.
Physical features for which Huangshan is known include sunrises, pine trees, "strangely jutting granite peaks",and views of clouds touching the mountainsides on more than 200 days out of the year.
The Huangshan mountain range comprises many peaks, some more than 1,000 meters (3,250 feet) high.The three tallest and best-known peaks are Lotus Peak (Lian Hua Feng, 1,864 m), Bright Summit Peak (Guang Ming Ding, 1,840 m), and Celestial Peak (Tian Du Feng, literally Capital of Heaven Peak, 1,829 m).This World Heritage Site covers a core area of 154 square kilometres and a buffer zone of 142 square kilometres
The mountaintops often offer views of the clouds from above, known as the Sea of Clouds or "Huangshan Sea" because of the clouds' resemblance to an ocean, and many vistas are known by names such as "North Sea" or "South Sea."
The hotels, restaurants, and other facilities at the top of the mountain are serviced and kept stocked by porters who carry resources up the mountain on foot, hanging their cargo from long poles balanced over their shoulders or backs.


The Potala Palace is located in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, China. It was named after Mount Potala, the abode of Chenresig or Avalokitesvara. Built at an altitude of 3,700 m on the side of Marpo Ri ('Red Mountain') in the center of Lhasa Valley.
The Potala Palace was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, India, after an invasion and failed uprising in 1959. Today the Potala Palace has been converted into a museum by the Chinese government.
The building measures 400 metres east-west and 350 metres north-south, with sloping stone walls averaging 3 m. thick, and 5 m. thick at the base, and with copper poured into the foundations to help proof it against earthquakes.
Thirteen stories of buildings – containing over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and about 200,000 statues – soar 117 metres  on top of Marpo Ri, the "Red Hill", rising more than 300 m in total above the valley floor.

The Terracotta Army or the "Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses", is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China. The figures, dating from 210 BC, were discovered in 1974 by some local farmers near Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China near the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor.
The figures vary in height 1.83–1.95 metres ,according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots, horses, officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits.
The Terracotta Army is a form of funerary art buried with the First Emperor of Qin in 210-209 BC. The Army's purpose was to help rule another empire with Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife. Consequently, they are also sometimes referred to as "Qin's Armies."
The material to make the terracotta warriors originated on Mount Lishan. According to historian Sima Qian (145-90 BC), construction of this mausoleum began in 246 BC and involved 700,000 workers.

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