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ref:topbtw-1230.html/ 27 Aprile 2018/A

Le cinque destinazoni..
Top Five Tourist Destinations in China

Cina: da un posto qualsiasi..

As the summer holidays come closer, many of us are already thinking of places to visit:

Whether you want to spend a simple summer at the beach and mountains, visit family scattered all over your country or go travelling, we all want a nice, relaxing holiday.

And if you're willing to go the extra mile (or 4600), why not plan a holiday in China?

There are beautiful landmarks and star attractions here, and why not take advantage of the holidays to travel and learn about a developing culture in one of the largest economies of the world?

I'm here today to share five great cities to visit in China and each of their top attractions.

1 - Beijing

Probably at the top of every list, Beijing is the star attraction of China.
If you had to visit only one city, I greatly suggest Beijing.
With its long history and diversity, it is easily one of the largest cities of China.
Of course, the Great Wall is a must-see for every tour.
A historical relic from the Qin Dynasty, it was constructed as a wall of defense, and it is still the longest in the world.

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World".
The wall is actually 5,000 km long, but it's best preserved area is near Beijing.
Another significant place is the Forbidden City, an area in Beijing containing highlights such as the Hall of Supreme Harmony and five Golden River Bridge.

Originally build for the emperor (and therefore also known as the 'Imperial Palace'), this enclosure was built in 1406, and was home to 24 Ming and Qing Emperors.
The reason why it is called 'forbidden' is because only royalty could enter.
Now, it is a frequent destination of the capital.

2 - Xi'an

This city is home to one of the most significant Chinese archeological finds of all time:
The Terracotta Army.

Originally built by Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China to protect him in the afterlife, the army was discovered by farmers in the 1970s.
Over 8,000 clay warriors, 520 horses complete with 100 chariots, all the statues are life-size and each face distinctly different, and some say that it is an identical replic of the army which fought and won in the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), which was a key factor in uniting China.

This unforgettable location became a World Cultural Heritage site in 1987 and is always amongst the top locations in China.

3 - Guilin

Immortalized by its picture in the reverse side of the current 20 Yuan paper note, the Li River and its mountains in Guilin is a breath-taking haven for nature-seeking tourists.

Famous figures such as former US Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush (senior), and Bill Gates have visited the site, and it has painted and pictured by artists all around China.

With its sparkling hills, populated villages and impressive cliffs and beautiful bamboo trees, it was listed as one of t he 'World's Top Ten Watery Wonders' by America's National Geographic Magazine. One of the best ways to enjoy the scenery is to take a boat trip across the most beautiful part, between Guilin and Yangshuo.

4 - Chengdu

One of the first things that people think of when China is mentioned is the giant panda.
Rare and cute, they are considered a national treasure in China and a curious discovery for foreigners.

Pandas are even the symbol for the WWF (World Wildlife Fund)!
Now, you may be able to see pandas in fancy zoos all around the world, but the best place to see them is the Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu.
With over 80 pandas, it's a place where pandas can roam in their natural habitat, and visitors will be able to study them closely.

It is mesmerizing to see these animals go about their daily routines, stereotypically fat and clumsy but in fact elegant and graceful.

There are English tours are available, and there's even a volunteer program in Bifengxia or Dujiangyan Panda Valley, an hour outside Chengdu for animal-lovers that want to get closer to these splendid animals.

5 - Huangshan

Huangshan literally means 'Yellow Mountains' in Chinese, and they are located near Shanghai and Hangzhou.
The Yellow Mountain Scenic Area is famous nationwide for being one of the best national parks, and an inspiration for Chinese writers and artists.

Often described as the "loveliest mountain of China", it is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the ideal place for a day trip in nature.
There are five wonders described in 'China Highlights':
sun rises, seas of clouds, oddly-shaped rocks, twisted pine trees, and hot springs.
These peaks deserve a place in every top-five list, for their beauty and wonder.

I hope this list helped, or at least inspired you for your vacation.
I myself want to visit more places in China, and these are surely on my list...

Cortesia di L.B.

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