China is simply too much – too big, too grand, too vast, too busy, too complex – to fit neatly into the space of a few pages. Hong Kong is the flashy metropolis that blends East and West, and Taiwan presents its own unique cultural story.
China is the massive stone wall spread along the its spine, the little girl in the pink dress sitting on her grandfather’s lap in a Beijing park, the river that has carried a nation on its broad back, the utter rush of Shanghai and Hong Kong, and the delicate songs of a Chinese opera. For more than five centuries, emperors ruled from the magnificent Forbidden City with its 9,999 rooms. In distant southeast China, over the course of a thousand years people gathered some 2,415 statues and paintings as well as ancient textiles, historic documents and 50,000 Buddhist scriptures, and placed them in the grottos of Magao Caves. An emperor created a red clay army of more than 7,000 soldiers, horses and chariots.
The country’s majestic legacy had been forged in the ancient water towns of Jiangnan and along the legendary Silk Road. Just 80 kilometers/112 miles off the southeastern coast of China, Taiwan has more than 5,000 Buddhist, Taoist and Confucius temples. It is a rare tropical island of which two thirds is covered with high mountain ranges. From momentous civilizations to phenomenal human achievements, China’s influence has been felt across the globe. What scale, what style… what an adventure!
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