Historic sites in China

From the Great Wall to the birthplace of Mao Zedong, the Historic Sites in China paint a fascinating picture of this country’s incredible past.

Whether you’re interested in its ancient past, its magnificent dynasties or its more modern story, the Historic Sites in China offer a tangible link to times gone by and a way to immerse oneself in the history. There’s a fantastic selection of Historic Sites in China and you can plan some great things to see on your trips by browsing our selection. Our interactive map lets you discover Historic Sites in China or you can navigate further by using the links below.

Once you’ve explored the Historic Sites in China you can use our itinerary planner tool to plan out your trip and then print off a free pocket guidebook.

Our database of historic sites is constantly growing, but we may not cover them all. Remember, if you know of other Historic Sites in China, you can always add them to Trip Historic now by visiting our upload page.

China: Site Index

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Beihai Park

Of the historical sites in China, Beihai Park has one of the strongest links with the country’s royals. This imperial palace and garden have a history dating back to the 1st century AD.

Beihai Park is an imperial garden and palace in Beijing, China established during the Liao Dynasty in the first century AD. Since then, Beihai Park has undergone significant changes and renovations, with each imperial dynasty making its mark on the gardens. In fact, Beihai Park has served as a haven... Read More

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Chaotian Gong

This archaeological museum is set on the location of one of the ancient historic sites of China, a Confucius Temple dating to the 4th century AD.

Chaotian Gong or the “Heaven Palace” in Nanjing is often called the Confucius Temple, having been built on the site of a former temple dating back to 390 AD and later used as a centre of learning. The buildings which can be seen today at Chaotian Gong were actually constructed in... Read More

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Emei Shan

Emei Shan was the site of China’s first ever Buddhist temple and remains one of its most holy sites.

Emei Shan (Mount Emei) is amongst the holiest of Buddhist sites with a history stretching 2,000 years. It was here that China’s first ever Buddhist temple was built and it is on the mountain of Emei Shan that one can still find thirty temples as well as the famous Giant... Read More

First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party

Whilst probably not one of the top tourist things to do in China, The Museum of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is an important part of the nation’s past as the place where the party was founded.

The Museum of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is the site where Mao Ze Dong and a further eleven members of various communist groups from around China met for the first time as the National Communist Party. The meeting took place on 23 July 1921 and marked... Read More

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Giant Buddha of Leshan

Definitely among the more arrestingly beautiful historic sites in China, The Giant Buddha of Leshan has the honour of being the biggest Buddha in the world and is a World Heritage site.

The Giant Buddha of Leshan, also known as Dafo or the Great Buddha statue in Leshan, China, is a massive sculpture of a sitting Buddha which was carved into Mount Lingyun from 713 AD. At an incredible height of 230 feet, the Giant Buddha of Leshan was originally created by a... Read More

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Great Wall of China

It’s impossible to list the historic sites of China without The Great Wall. This iconic ancient defensive structure was first built by the Qin Dynasty.

The Great Wall of China is an iconic structure and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Great Wall was originally made up of several different defensive walls constructed throughout China between of 476 and 221 BC. It was during the reign of the first Emperor Qin Shihuang of the Qin Dynasty... Read More

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Great Wall of China - Huanghuacheng

This little known section of the Great Wall of China is not open to the public.

The Huánghuā section of the Great Wall of China is far less visited than its counterparts in Mùtiányù and Bādálǐng. This is due to a number of factors, including the fact that it is further from Beijing and that it is not promoted as part of the traditional tourist trail. The... Read More

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Great Wall of China - Mutianyu

Less well-known than the main tourist area of this famous site, the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China offers an alternative place to view this fantastic icon of the historic sites of China.

The Mùtiányù section of the Great Wall of China dates back to the Qin Dynasty, although it was renovated during the Ming era. The added distance to Mùtiányù from Beijing, as opposed to Bādálǐng, makes it a less touristy and less crowded experience. There’s a cable car taking visitors onto the... Read More

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Jingshan Park

Several historic sites in China are located in Jingshan Park. Once an ancient imperial garden, Jingshan Park is now home to sites such as the holy Hope Tower and the coffins of members of the Qing Dynasty.

Jingshan Park in Beijing, China started life as an imperial garden in Ming Dynasty era during the reign of Emperor Yongle. Jingshan Park has often been called “Coal Hill” due to the fact that it is an artificial mound made up of soil extracted during construction of the Forbidden Palace... Read More

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Longhua Martyrs Cemetery

One of the historic places in China located in Shanghai, The Longhua Martyrs Cemetery is a memorial to those who died under the Kuomintang and was a Japanese internment camp in WWII.

The Longhua Martyrs Cemetery in Shanghai is a memorial to those who died under the regime of the Kuomintang, led by Chiang Kai-shek. In the 1920’s and 1930’s, the site of the Longhua Martyrs Cemetery was a Kuomintang prison where hundreds of communists were executed in an attempt to obliterate the... Read More

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Longhua Temple

The Longhua Temple in Shanghai is a Buddhist monastery dating to the 10th century and one of many picturesque holy historic sites in China.

The Longhua Temple in Shanghai is a Buddhist monastery dating back to 977AD, although a temple has existed on the site since 687 AD. As the largest of Shanghai’s temples, it is a popular site together with its pagoda and nineteenth century bell.... Read More

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Longmen Caves

Listed amongst the World Heritage historical sites in China, the Longmen Caves contain a vast collection of Buddhist statues dating back to the Northern Wei Dynasty.

The Longmen Caves or Longmen Grottoes near Luoyang, China are a series of approximately 2,000 caves containing in excess of 100,000 stone carved Buddhist statues, some dating back as far as the fifth century. The Longmen Caves were created during the rule of the Northern Wei Dynasty in around 494 AD.... Read More

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Ming Tombs

Dating back to the fifteenth century, the Ming Tombs are among the best known historic places in China and house the mausoleums of 13 of the Ming Emperors.

The Ming Tombs were established by the third Ming emperor, Yongle, in the fifteenth century and house the mausoleums of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. Three of the Ming Tombs are open to the public. Emperor Yongle’s tomb, known as Chang Ling, is perhaps the most remarkable of the three,... Read More

Pingyao Ming City Walls

Among the best preserved examples of Ming-era historic sites in China, the Pingyao Ming City Walls still surround the city.

The Pingyao Ming City Walls in China are some of the sole surviving fortifications of their kind. Built in around 1370 by the Ming Hongwu Emperor, these 39 foot walls span 6km in length and are one of the major factors in the decision to make the Ancient City of... Read More

Puning Si - Chengde

An 18th century Quing Dynasty temple, Puning Si is one of the historic sites in China listed as part of the UNESCO site of the Chengde Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples.

Puning Si in Chengde, China, also known as the Temple of Universal Peace, is an eighteenth century temple built by the Qing emperor Qianlong. A blend of Chinese and Tibetan architecture, Puning Si was intended to be a symbol of harmony between the ruling dynasty and the ethnic minorities in the... Read More

Shaanxi History Museum

The Shaanxi History Museum in Xi’an, China explores the history of the Shaanxi people.

The Shaanxi History Museum in Xi’an, China explores the history of the Shaanxi region and contains over 350,000 pieces dating back as far as the Neolithic period. Divided chronologically, the museum has dedicated rooms for, amongst others, the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, the Qin Dynasty, the Han Dynasty and the Tang... Read More


One of the lesser known historic sites in China yet often still a place of pilgrimage for many is Shaoshan, the birthplace of Mao Zedong.

Shaoshan (Shao Shan) is the birthplace of China’s leader from 1949 to 1976, Mao Zedong. Known as Chairman Mao, he was the communist leader of the People’s Republic of China. Mao was a controversial figure, both revered as akin to a deity and loathed as the architect of political purges... Read More

Shuanglin Si

A 1,500 year old Buddhist temple, Shuanglin Si in Pingyao is one of the more distinctive historical sites of China, with some two thousand lifelike statues of Buddha.

Shuanglin Si (Shuanglin Temple) is a holy Buddhist site in the UNESCO listed walled city of Pingyao. The first Shuanglin Si was built in the sixth century during the Wei Dynasty, however the current incarnation dates back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties. In the time of these two dynasties, a... Read More

Temple of Heaven

This Ming Dynasty era holy site in Beijing is another great example of the UNESCO historic sites of China.

The Temple of Heaven in Tiantan Park in Beijing was originally built by Ming Dynasty Emperor Yongle in 1420 as a place of worship for Chinese emperors. However, it was only during the reign of the Jiajing Emperor that the site was named The Temple of Heaven as well as... Read More

Terracotta Army

With a staggering collection of over 7,000 life sized clay soldiers, horses, chariots and more, the third century BC Terracotta Army is one of the most iconic historic sites in China.

The Terracotta Army, part of the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, is one of the world’s most famous, intriguing and visually arresting ancient sites, dating back to the third century BC. A chance find by a group of peasants in Xian in 1974, the Terracotta Army is a collection of... Read More

The Forbidden City - Beijing

The Chinese imperial residence for nearly five centuries, the Forbidden City in Beijing is one of the top historic places in China.

The Forbidden City, also known as the Imperial Palace or the Palace Museum, is a fifteenth century palace complex in Beijing. Sprawled over a staggering 720,000 square meters and very well-preserved, The Forbidden City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China and is on UNESCO’s list of World... Read More

The Hongwu Emperor Mausoleum

One of a series of important historical sites in China located in the Purple Mountains, The Hongwu Emperor Mausoleum is the burial place of the first Ming Emperor.

The Hongwu Emperor Mausoleum (Ming Xiao Ling) is the burial site of the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang. The Hongwu Emperor Mausoleum was built in the course of the emperor’s life and completed in 1405, seven years after his death. Located in the Purple Mountains or “Zĭjīn Shān”... Read More

The Nanjing Memorial

Among the more harrowing of the commemorative historical sites in China, The Nanjing Memorial remembers the 1937 massacre.

The Nanjing Memorial, also known as the “Memorial for compatriots killed in the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Forces of Aggression” is a monument commemorating the horrific Nanjing Massacre. This massacre took place in 1937 when the Japanese captured the city. Rather than advising their citizens to flee, as they did, the... Read More

The Old Ming Palace

Whilst not the best preserved of the historic sites of china, this once outstanding fourteenth century palace is an important part of its history.

The Old Ming Palace (Ming Gugong) in Nanjing is a ruin of the remains of what was once a magnificent palatial complex built by the first Ming Emperor Hongwu in the fourteenth century. At that time, Nanjing was the capital. Much of the Old Ming Palace has been destroyed, first by... Read More

The Shanghai Museum

The Shanghai Museum is a museum of art and history in Shanghai in China.

The Shanghai Museum is a museum of ancient Chinese art in Shanghai in China. From calligraphy and seals known as ‘chops’ to ancient coins and its celebrated bronze exhibition, the Shanghai Museum has pieces dating back to prehistoric times and through to the Qing Dynasty. The Shanghai Museum also features as... Read More

The Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum

The tomb of the founding father of the Republic of China, this is one of the grander historic sites in China.

The Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum (Zongshan Ling) near Nanjing is the grand final resting place of the first leader of the Republic of China. Sun Yat-sen (1866 –1925) took a leading role in overthrowing the Qing Dynasty and establishing the republic, then becoming its first president in 1912. However, he was removed... Read More

The Sun Yat-sen Museum

The Sun Yat-sen Museum tells the story of the Republic of China’s first leader.

The Sun Yat-sen Museum in the Purple Mountains outside Nanjing chronicles the life of its namesake. Sun Yat-sen (1866 –1925) was the leader of the republican movement which overthrew the Qing Dynasty to become the first leader of post-Imperial China. The Sun Yat-sen Museum houses a collection of his personal belongings... Read More

The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Museum

Telling the story of a major civil conflict, The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Museum is among several fascinating historic sites in China located in Nanjing.

The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Museum (Taiping Tianguo Lishi Bowuguan) in Nanjing chronicles the thirteen year civil conflict in which a vast militia raised by Hong Xiuquan rebelled against the Qing Dynasty. This was sparked by high taxation imposed by the dynasty to raise funds to pay an indemnity to Britain... Read More

Tiananmen Square

Certainly one of the most famous historic sites in China, Tiananmen Square is of great political, social and cultural importance.

Tiananmen Square is a plaza in the centre of the city of Beijing in China and a focal point for most tourists. Much of this is related to the fact that many of Beijing’s biggest attractions surround Tiananmen Square, including the Forbidden Palace, the Great Hall of the People, the... Read More


Yinxu is the impressive, UNESCO listed site of an ancient Chinese capital city.

Yinxu or the 'ruins of Yin', is the site of the ancient capital of the late Shang Dynasty and in fact the first site of a Chinese capital in history. Founded in approximately 1300BC by the dynasty's 20th king, Pan Geng, Yinxu would remain the capital for another 255 years.... Read More

Zhonghua Gate

Large and imposing, the Zhonghua Gate is one of the more arresting historical sites in China and is among the remains of Nanjing’s 14th century city walls.

Zhonghua Gate, also known as “Men Chengbao” and the “Gate of China” is the vast city gate of Nanjing in China which dates back to the reign of Hongwu, the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1398). At that time, it formed part of Nanjing’s 33km long city walls. With its... Read More