Shanxi China makes for a fine travel destination because of the province’s rich history. Commonly referred to as the "Cradle of Chinese Civilization," Shanxi boasts some of the earliest of traces of civilization. Ancestors of the modern day Chinese people already inhabited the province more than 100 million years ago. Highlighting this history and the province in general is the wonderful Shanxi Museum in Taiyuan. Visitors to Northern China’s Shanxi Province can also get in touch with history by visiting any number of cultural sites, the likes of which include the famed Yungang Grottoes. It should also be noted that the province is home to sections of the Great Wall of China.
Datong is one of the major cities in Shanxi Province. More than three million people call it home, and it can more specifically be found in the province’s northern reaches some 235 miles west of Beijing. As far as tourism is concerned, Datong is best known for the Yungang Grottoes and the Hanging Temple. The Yungang Grottoes are a series of shallow caves that feature more than 50,000 stone carvings that were created between 460 and 524 AD. The stone carvings mostly depict images of Buddhas and bodhisattvas, and they are the oldest carvings of their kind in all of China. As for the Hanging Temple, or Xuankong Si, as it is known in Chinese, it was built during the reign of the Northern Wei Dynasty (385-534) and is dramatically built into the side of a cliff. In addition to its amazing location, the Hanging Temple of Datong is known for its Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian elements.
On the southernmost side of Shanxi Province is the municipality of Yuncheng. Many tourists include this city on their Northern China vacation itineraries because of its tourism resources and its various attractions. Among the attractions of interest in Yuncheng China are the Yongle Palace and the Guanque Tower. The Yongle Palace is a Taoist temple, and among its main features are murals that represent scenes from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). In relation to the Guanque Tower, it was established in the sixth century AD and is one of China’s "Four Famous Ancient Towers." The other three Famous Ancient Towers, for those who might be wondering, are the Yellow Crane Tower, the Yueyang Pavilion, and the Tengwang Pavilion. The Yellow Crane Tower is found in Hubei Province, the Yueyang Pavilion in Hunan Province, and the Tengwang Pavilion in Jiangxi Province.
Mount Heng Shan
Mount Heng Shan, or Mount Hengshan, as it is commonly spelled, is considered to be a very sacred place. In fact, this 6,617-foot peak is regarded as being one of the "Five Sacred Mountains of Taoism." You might also hear it being referred to as one of the "Five Great Peaks of China." Among the main attractions on Mount Heng Shan is the Overhanging Temple, a.k.a. the Hanging Monastery. As is true of the Hanging Temple in Datong, the Overhanging Temple on Mount Heng Shan was built in the Northern Wei Dynasty period, and while it is found on a sacred Taoist peak, it is actually a Buddhist sanctuary. Should you need another reason to visit Mount Heng Shan while in Shanxi China, the area in general features many scenic views.
No trip to China’s Shanxi Province would be complete without visiting the city of Pingyao. Founded approximately 50 miles from the provincial capital of Taiyuan, this ancient city dates back to the fourteenth century and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among other things, the Ancient City of Pingyao is known for its old walls, its historic banking buildings, and for preserving many features of the Han Chinese culture. Quite simply, if you wish to get in touch with the history of Shanxi China, Pingyao is one of the best places to do it. There are plenty of Pingyao hotels to select from for those who are keen on visiting the ancient city, with favorable examples including the Kylin Grand Hotel, the Pingyao Hongshanyi Hotel, the Fengyan Jianguo Hotel, and the Old Cheng Jia Yard Folk Guesthouse.
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