Visit the Forbidden City!
This spectacular palace complex lies at the heart of Beijing and consists of 980 surviving buildings.
The largest building in the complex is the Hall of Supreme Harmony. Once the tallest building in the city, it was used for state occasions, such as the emperor’s birthday. The focal point of the building is the impressive Dragon Throne, which sits on a 2m high white jade dais and is backed by carved gilt screens.
The world’s largest collection of well-preserved medieval wooden structures, the Forbidden City is a magnificent example of traditional Chinese architecture and is rich in symbolism, with plenty of dragons, phoenixes and lions on roofs of the most important buildings for prosperity and good fortune.
Did you know? The forbidden city is the largest palace complex in the world and is three times the size of the Louvre!
Visit the Bund
Shanghai’s focal point, the Bund is the city’s iconic waterfront area and one of its biggest tourist attractions – it’s certainly not to be missed on your school trip to Shanghai!
Once just a muddy bank, the area was settled by the British after the first Opium War in 1842. It was around the turn of the 20th century when much of the spectacular Beaux Arts architecture sprang up as commerce thrived and the area is now one of the most important financial centres in East Asia.
This is the perfect place to people watch and to learn more about Chinese culture and Western colonialism. This is also a fantastic example of modern China and offers an interesting contrast to the history you’ll see in Beijing.
Did you know? The Bund is known as Waitan in Chinese, which means ‘Outer Beach’.
Visit the Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is somewhat of a misnomer, as it would more accurately be described as a collection of fortification systems.
The beginnings of the Wall lie in the fortifications built by the Han, Qi, Qin, Wei, Yan, Zhao and Zhongshan states during the Warring States Period and developed over the centuries to protect China from invaders and to protect the Silk Road trade route.
It’s believed that the length of the entire Wall measures over 21,000km and it is considered one of the greatest architectural feats in human history.
Did you know? While the Wall is believed to be well over 2,000 years old, the bit we all think of as the Great Wall of China – the stone fortifications around Beijing – are only around 500 years old, having been built during the Ming dynasty.