CITIES & MONUMENTS
formerly known as Peking, is the capital of
China, located in the northern part of the country. It is the second largest city in
China after Shanghai and is the cultural, political, and intellectual center of
the country, as well as a major industrial and commercial metropolis. Initially
settled more than 2,000 years ago, it has been the capital of China for most of
the last 700 years. The climate is seasonal, with hot summers and cold winters.
Temperatures can climb higher than 38°C (higher than 100°F) in July and drop
lower than -15°C (lower than 5°F) in January.
than 90 percent of the population of Beijing are Han Chinese, and the remainder
are Manchus, Mongols, Turkic peoples from western China, and other minority
nationalities and foreigners. Mandarin Chinese is the language spoken in and
around Beijing. Beijing
remains a city of great monuments, palaces, mosques and temples and other
reminders of the past glory of imperial China. Beijing is the site of the 2008
In and around Beijing, we will visit many of
the following sites:
Xian [shyaan] is the capital
city of Shaanxi Province in eastern China. One of China's oldest cities, it is
home to some major archaeological sites, including one found to contain a vast
army of life-sized soldiers made of terra cotta, known as "The Terra Cotta
Xian is the beginning of Silk Road and is known
as the ancient capital of Xian. Xian means Peaceful. It has a population of 7M
people. It is known to be the (geographical) center & Ancient Capital of
China for 11 dynasties. The region of Xian has been inhabited from as far back
as 6000 years. At that time the now rather barren plains were much greener and
ideally suited for farming. The first emperor of the unified China, Qin Shihuang
founded the capital of Xianyang, which is a little west of Xian. Following the
Qin was the Han dynasty that moved the capital further east, to the plain where
Xian is now situated. Xian is enclosed by a wall stretching 8 km north-south,
and nearly 10 km east-west.
Modern Xian is only a small part of its former
self. As a reminder of the old importance as a center of commerce with many
trading partners as far west as Persia and the Arabian world, there are still
many Muslims living in the Xian region. Xian is a fertile land and grows apples
and many other fruits. It snows mildly in winter.
In and around Xian, we will visit many of the
HOHHOT / GEGENTALA
hut] is the capital city of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region of China, and
in Mongolian means "blue city," referring to the azure skies that are rarely
troubled by clouds. It is located about 400km west of Beijing, at an altitude of
1500 meters above sea level. The city is known mostly as a stopping point for
travelers who wish to visit the grasslands that can be found about 100km from
the city or to go on to the Republic of Mongolia to the north. For over a
thousand years, Hohhot was a popular resting spot for Mongol nomads, and the
city was formally founded by the Ming dynasty (1368-1644 CE). The large number
of religious buildings established there led Hohhot to be called the City of
Temples and Lamaseries.
The grasslands outside of Hohhot in the region
of Gegentala are an amazing sight to see. The experience is capped off by
spending a night in a traditional Mongolian tent, called a yurt. The yurts are
made of compressed sheep wool and are shaped like squat Native American teepees.
While in Gegentala, one can enjoy observing activities such as Mongolian
wrestling, horse and camel riding, archery, among others.
In and around Hohhot, we will visit many of the
is called "Hu" for short. It is a bustling metropolis at the mouth of
the famous Yangtze River with the East China Sea in the east.
Shanghai is a very large city with a population of more than 13 million. The
city of Shanghai is among the world's biggest and most booming urban cities
today, and is considered the "Pearl of China." In fact, it is home to the world's third tallest TV tower, Oriental
Pearl TV Tower (468 meters).
Shanghai is also a great destination for
shoppers. Its best-known shopping street in China is Nanjing Road, an exciting
avenue lined up with well-known shops and department stores selling clothing,
food and specialty goods. Shanghai is a paradise for gourmets, too. Visitors can
enjoy a taste of all the different kinds of food in the world. Shanghainese
cuisine is hybrid and distinctly different than traditional Chinese cuisine.
In and around Shanghai, we will visit many of
the following sites:
PERFORMANCES & ACTIVITIES
At various points during the tour, we will observe
the following performances and activities: