Four great ancient capitals in China refer to Nanjing, Beijing, Xi'an and Luoyang. Traveling around the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China is a great way to unveil the real culture and history of China. They're similar to each other for blending cultural monuments with beautiful scenery, yet impress visitors in their own ways.
1. Long History
With a history of more than 3,000 years, Beijing had served as a capital for more than 860 years and gained profound political and cultural significance.
Nanjing has a history of more than 2600 years and was entitled as a capital for about 500 years. Presently, the city is developing into a booming metropolis of education and tourism.
Once as the eastern end of the Silk Road, as well as the important cradle of Chinese civilization, Xi'an had been a capital for more than 1100 years out of its over 3100 years' history.
As for Luoyang, the history can date back to 1500 years ago and the city had served as a capital for more than 1100 years. It's famous for its opulent cultural relics and ancient atmosphere.
2. Magnificent Imperial Palaces
The Forbidden City in Beijing is where 24 emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties resided. Constructed from 1406 to 1420, the architectural complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 74 hectares.
The Ming Palace in Nanjing recalls the splendor of the palatial complex built by the first Ming Emperor Hongwu in the 14th century. You may imagine how the old dynasty has grown and flourished by ornate detailing in its remaining ruins.
Daming Palace in Xi'an, literally meaning Palace of Great Brilliance, served as the most glorious home of emperors in Tang dynasty for almost two hundred years. Being 4.5 times bigger than the Forbidden City in Beijing, it was the national symbol of the Tang Dynasty.
3. Time-honored Buddhist Temples
Tanzhe Temple in Beijing, one of the earliest Buddhist temples in Beijing, was built in the Western Jin Dynasty. It has been welcoming flocks of believers and visitors for 1,700 years.
Jiming Temple in Nanjing is one of the oldest temples and the Buddhist Center in Southern China during the Southern Dynasties. Every spring, the blooming cherry blossoms surrounding the temple are a real feast for the eyes.
Da Ci'en Temple in Xi'an was founded in 648 AD and billed as the most imposing temple in Chang'an city of the Tang Dynasty. It was said that Xuanzang, a renowned Buddhist monk and outstanding translator of sutras, once presided over the affairs of the temple.
White Horse Temple in Luoyang is the first temple established after the introduction of Buddhism into China, and is considered as the birthplace of Chinese Buddhism.
4. Wondrous Imperial Tombs
In the Ming tombs of Beijing lied a total of 13 emperors, 23 queens, 2 princes, around 30 concubines and 1 eunuch. As one of the best preserved tomb complexes in China, the Ming tombs are listed as World Heritage Site.
Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum in Nanjing represents the highest level of architectural techniques and stone art in the early Ming Dynasty.
Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor is quietly nestled in Xi'an, with plenty of unsolved mysteries and the largest number of burial artifacts in comparison to all the other imperial tombs in China. The Terracotta Army in Xi'an, featuring spectacular funerary art with 8,000 soldiers and numerous cavalry horses, is reputed to be the eighth wonder of the world.