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China is a very large and diversified country, home to the largest population on this planet. Its area
 includes many regional differences in food, clothing, language, climate, and geography. Almost everyone
 is familiar with its Great Wall, the Ming Tombs, giant panda bears, and, of course, "Chinese food".
Since 1951, China has incorporated Tibet into its national identity.

Locator Map for China

Click on any picture to enlarge it.

Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China   Mao's Mausoleum, Beijing   Detail of Sculpture at Mao's Mausoleum, Beijing

Tiananmen Square is one of the largest open squares in the world. It is bounded at one end by the wall of the Forbidden City and at another end by Mao's Mausoleum.

Jerrold Patz in front of the Forbidden City (L), a detail of the protective moat between the walls (C), and Naimah and me in a courtyard within the Forbidden City.

Jerrold Patz at the Forbidden City, Beijing   Detail of the protective moat in the Forbidden City, Beijing   Naimah and me in a courtyard inside the Forbidden City

Ticket to the Beijing Opera

Our ticket to the Beijing Opera, part acrobatics, kung-fu, screechy singing, and dance, all in elaborate costumes and makeup.

The Beijing Opera performers apply their makeup in the theater foyer for all to observe (L), and part of the elaborate performance (R).

   Beijing Opera Performers Applying Makeup   The Beijing Opera

Jerrold Patz and Naimah on the Great Wall of China   The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China   Jerrold Patz on the Great Wall of China

These are pictures taken at the Great Wall,  and a great wall it is indeed -- begun in the 3rd Century BCE, it spans over 4000 miles from the East China Sea to the Gobi desert in Central Asia. In the left top, Jerrold Patz and Naimah Zakaria pose in an empty section at Mu Tian Yu, and on the bottom right, Jerrold Patz is framed by one of the guard house arches. For over 15 centuries, the Great Wall was the largest civil engineering project in the world. It is listed as another of China's UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

These are pictures of one of my favorite buildings in the world, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. Here are views of both the front and back. The last picture is of a scale model at the China Pavilion, Walt Disney World, Florida.

Temple of Heaven, Beijing, front view   Temple of Heaven, Beijing, rear view   An uncrowded view of the back of the Temple of Heaven   Temple of Heaven (scale model at Walt Disney World, Florida)

Decorated Gate at the Summer Palace    Scene at the Summer Palace  Stone Boat at the Summer Palace

Scenes at the Summer Palace, refuge for the Dowager Empress to escape Beijing's summer heat. The last is of the famous stone boat, paid for with monies earmarked for military spending.

Prior to the discovery of the Terra Cotta Soldiers in 1974, Xian was a dusty provincial capital. (During the Tang Dynasty [~610-907] it was the capital of China and the most populous city on earth). Now, with the Terra Cotta Army, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Additionally, its city wall is one of the best preserved in all of China. city wall, walled city, town wall   

Xian City Wall Gate   Xian City Wall

Xian terra cotta Army Scene   Xian terra cotta Army and Cavalry Scene   Details of some of the different facial characteristics of the Xian warriors

There are thousands of foot soldiers and cavalry to protect the long-dead first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang [pronounced as "CHIN", from which we derive the name of the country China.] No two soldiers have the same face.

Almost everyone seems to adore the cuddly giant pandas, real life's version of the Teddy Bear. These were visited at Chengdu's Giant Panda Protection & Research Center. Here are four nibbling muffins (L) and a younger one sleeping in a tree (R). Other photos are below.

Four Giant Pandas Munching   Giant Panda Sleeping In a Tree

Rock Displaying a Map of the Dazu Sites   Admission ticket to the Dazu Sites

A rock maps out the site at the Dazu area (L) and the admission ticket to Dazu's Baoding Mountain (R).

Statue of the "Six Rounds of the Life Cycle". This is the only "Life Cycle" in Chinese grotto art. According to Buddhism, all people live in rounds of the life cycle of reasons and results. People who do good will be raised to heaven while people doing evil will be punished in hell. It is an endless cycle which the wheel depicts.

   Six Rounds of the Life Cycle

 Reclining Buddha Carving at Dazu  
Rock Carvings at Dazu   Jerrold Patz at the Rock Carvings at Dazu
The Three Saints at the Dazu Rock Carving Site

The Dazu Rock Carvings are a series of Chinese religious sculptures and carvings, dating back as far as the 7th century CE, depicting and influenced by Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist beliefs. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dazu Rock Carvings are made up of 75 protected sites containing some 50,000 statues, with over 100,000 Chinese characters forming inscriptions and epigraphs. The sites are located on the steep hillsides within Dazu County (a few hours from the city of Chongqing, China), with the high points being the carvings found on Mount Baoding and Mount Beishan. The Three Saints is perhaps the best-known set of carvings (R), while the "Six Rounds of the Life Cycle" (above) is the rarest. Although the site contains rare, beautiful, and valuable carvings, it is infrequently visited by tourists.

We sailed the Yangtze through the famed Three Gorges and then visited the Three Gorges Dam site, one of the largest in the world.

JP and NZ with Captain Li and River Guide Daniel on the Yangtze River   One of the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River   Us at the Three Gorges Dam Site   A Striking Chinese Ship Passed on the Yangtze

Maglev Train Ticket   JP with Maglev Train, Shanghai   Speed of our MagLev Trip - 431 km/h

Shanghai has one of the few operating MagLev (magnetic levitation) trains in the world. The train has no wheels and floats above its platform, propelled by magnetic forces. While it can reach speeds over 500 km/h, ours reached 431 km/h [~260 mph] (R).

A picture of our traveling group (taken the Tiananmen Square, in front
of the Forbidden City).

Our China Group Picture, Beijing

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china tourist attraction  "Great Wall of China" Jerrold Patz "Temple of Heaven" temple of heaven   "Ming Tombs"  "Forbidden City" China Beijing "Tiananmen Square"  "Jerrold Patz" Ming  Xian terra cotta warriors "peking duck"  "terracotta warriors" "terra-cotta warriors" "terra-cotta army"  "Ming tombs" "terra cotta army"  Shanghai customs house bund "street dentist"  "marble boat" "stone boat"  maglev train  "dazu rock carvings" "UNESCO  "world heritage site"  Dazu dazu  "Dazu rock carvings" giant pandas  "Beijing Opera" "flying goose pagoda"  three gorges  fengdu  underworld shanghai subway metro three gorges dam