Hebei Province, abbreviated as Ji, is located in the northern part of Huabei (North China) Plain, facing the Bohai Sea in the east. it is also called "Yanzhao" because it used to be the territory of the Yan and the Zhao states during the periods of Spring and Autumn and Warring States. During the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, Hebei became most important because Beijing was chose as the environs of the capital, covering an area of more than 190000 square kilometers, the province has a population of 67.44 million of Han, Hui, Manchu, Mongolian, Korean and other ethnic backgrounds. The provincial capital is Shijiazhuang.
As a famous province of cultural relics in China, Hebei has numerous historical sites and scenic spots pock-marking throughout its whole territory. There are three world heritage sites, five national famous historical and cultural cities, and more than 670 sites of historical and cultural interest which are under key protection at or above the provincial level. Major cultural relics and historical remains include the Mountain Resort and its outlying imperial temple In Chengde, Eastern and Western Imperial Tombs of the Qing dynasty, the Great Wall at Jinshanling, Shanhaiguan and Laolongtou sections Longxing Temple in Zhengding Congtai County, Iron lion in Cang-zhou and Xiangtangshan Mountain Grottoes in Handan.
Hebei possesses multiplex landscapes such as seashores, plateau, as well as most diversified natural scenery. There are two national top ten scenic spots, five national scenic resorts and nine national forest parks in the province. Major tourist attractions are Beidaihe Beach in Qinhuangdao, Baiyangdain scenic resort, known as "the Pearl of North China", Bashang Grassland, Cangyan Mountain, Tiangui Mountain and Yesanpo Scenic Area.
The mountain Resort's outlying Temples
Located northeast of the Mountain Resort is a group of temple building in the styles of different ethnic groups of Han, Tibetan and Mongolian. The Temples are magnificent and spectacular, and they set off the Mountain Resort as stars set off the moon. Together with the Mountain Resort, they were inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 1994.
Pulesi (Temple of Universal joy)
The temple was built in 1766 and covers an area of 24000 square meters, facing west. Xuguangge (Pavilion of the Rising Sun), its principle structure, 23 meters in height and 21.68 meters in diameter, is a replica of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests in Beijing's Temple of Heaven.
Situated in the 15 kilometers northeast of the city of Qinghuangdao, it is so called for its location between the Yanshan Mountain and the Bohai Sea. Built in 1381 (the 14th year of the Ming Emperor Hongwu's reign) by Xu Da, the famous Ming dynasty general, the pass is the Great Wall. The pass has four gates, named "Zhendong". "Ying'en, "Wangyang" and "Weiyuan" respectively, the wall stands 14 meters in height and is lined with bricks and stones. The gate-tower looks majestic, and has been extolled as "Number One Pass under Heaven" since ancient times.
Jinshanling Section of the Great Wall
It is situated 120 kilometers from Beijing, where the boundaries of Miyun County of Beijing and Luanping County of Hebei province cross. Its name derived from the Jinshan Mountains. Most parts of the wall of the section exaction existing now were built in 1570 (the fourth year of Ming Emperor Longqing's reign). The Jinshanling section of the Great Wall towers magnificently over a broad vista of the surroundings. The buildings come in diverse forms and watchtowers are clustered in places of strategic importance at intervals of 60 and 200 meters. There are 158 watchtowers totally build on about 30 kilometers walls.
Eastern Tombs of the Qing Dynasty
Situated on the south slope of Mount Changrui in Zunhua, it is an imperial graveyard of the Qing dynasty. With an area of 48 square kilometers, it is one of the largest and most complete group imperial tombs in China. Five emperors—Shunzhi, Kangxi, Qianlong, Xianfeng and Tongzhi—and 15 empress Dowager Cixi were buried here. There are also tombs for over 100 imperial concubines. In 2000, UNESCO inscribed it on the world Heritage List.
Western Tombs of the Qing Dynasty
Located in Yi County, the Western Tombs are eternal sleeping chambers for four emperors, three empresses and 69 princes, princesses and imperial concubines of the dynasty. The entire area of some 800 square kilometers is walled on all sides by green hills. Construction of the tombs began in 1730 (the eighth year of Qing Emperor Yongzhen's reign) and completed after 185 years in 1915. The tombs are outstanding representatives of Qing mausoleum-building art,, and in 2000, they were inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.
Also called Zhaozhou Brage, it is located in Zhaoxian County. The bridge spans the Jiao River, and has done for 1300 years during the Sui Dynasty (581-618AD) by Li Chun, a famous artisan then. It is 50.82 meters long, 9.6 meters wide, with a span of 37 meters, and is believed as the oldest stone-arch bridge in China. The balustrades and railing boards are carved with dragons and mythical creatures, which reflect excellent stone-carving skills of the Sui Dynasty.
Beihai Beach Resert
15 kilometers southwest of Qinhuangdao City, the Beidaihe Beach is a famous scenic summer resort. It stretches 10 kilometers east to west from the Yingjiao Rock to the mounth of Daihe River. Its charm lies mostly in the soft sands, gentle beach and clear seavater. The environment around Beidaihe is also beautiful. Mt. Lianfeng, backing onto the beach, has two peaks covered by abundant green pines and cypresses. Lush vegetation, strange stones, decorated pavilions, secluded paths, ancient pagodas and winding bridges cover the mountain and make it unique and appealing. "The Dove Nest" is one of popular attractions, where visitors can enjoy watching the sun rising and powerfully energetic ocean.
Shanxi Province, abbreviated as Jin, is situated in nouthern China, and adjacent to Hebei, Henan, Inner Mongolia and Shaanxi. It is so called for its location on the west side of Taihang Mountains. Covering an area of over 150000 square kilometers, Shanxi has a population of 32.97 million, which embraces the Hans, Huis, Mongolians, and other people. Taiyuan is the capital city.
Shanxi on eastern side of the middle reaches of the Yellow River has an average altitude of 1000 meters, and mountain make up 70% of the total area of the province, so it is generally known as the Shanxi Plateau. The main mountains in the province are Taihang, Luliang, Zhongtiao and the famous Buddhist Mountain—Wutai Mountain.
Shanxi is a province with many historical sites and cultural relics, as well as scenic areas. Datong, Pingyao, Xinjiang, Daixian are listed as the national historical and cultural. Main tourist spots are: world cultural heritages sites—Ancient City of Pingyao and the Yungang Grottoes; scenic spots of Wutai Mountain, Hengshan, and Hukou Waterfalls of the Yellow River; cultural and historical sites such as Jin Shrine in Taiyuan, Shuanglin Temple in Pingyao, Wooden Pagoda of Yingxian, Huayan Temple in Hunyuan, Niangzi, Pingxiang, and Yanmen passes of the Great Wall.
The Yungang Grottoes, one of the largest grottoes in China, lies on the Mount Wuzhou in Datong city. Consisting of a number of honeycomb-shaped grottoes, it was carved into the sloped of the mountain, extending about one kilometer from east to west. With the construction of it beginning in 453, the grottoes have a history of more than 1500 years. There are 53 caves, over 1100 Buddhist niches, and 51000 sculptures altogether. In 2001, UNESCO added it on the List of World Heritage.
The Ancient City of Pingyao
Situated in the middle of Shanxi Province, Pingyao has a history of over 2700 years. It was firstly built during the Zhou Dynasty (1066BC-220BC), and was expanded in 1370, the third year of the reign period of Ming Emperor Hongwu. It is the earlist and largest ancient city in China, and reputed as "the History Museum of Architectural Art of the Ming and Qing Dynasties."
The Jin Shrine stands at the foot of Xuanweng Mountain, 25 kilometers southwest of Taiyuan. It was built in memory of Shu Yu, the founding ruler of the State of Jin. The Jin Shrine is famous for its scenic beauty. All building in the shrine were laid out ingeniously and surrounded by ancient trees. In the Hall of Holy Mother are 43 statues of young maids sculptured in the Song Dynasty. The statues, the pines planted during the Zhou Dynasty and the Nanlao Spring are known as the three rarities of the Jin Shrine.
Located in the northwest of Wutai County, the Mountain is one of the Four Most Famous Buddhist Mountains in China. It consists of five plat-like peaks, hence the name. the highest peak, North Plat, has an altitude of 3058 meters, so it is nicknamed as the "Roof of North China". As early as during the Eastern Han Dynasty, there were temples built here. The 47 temples and the monasteries existing at present, built in different dynasties and in various styles, have turned the Wutai Mountain into a center of activities for Chinese Buddhist
First built during the Northern Wei Dynasty, the Midair Temple is located at the cliff between the peaks of Tianfengling and the Cuipingfeng of the Hengshan Mountains. The whole temple was built on the rock face of a sheer cliff, and the highest place in the temple is about 50 meters above ground, like suspending on the cliff face. The temple has more than 40 halls and rooms, housing 78 bronze, iron colored clay and stone statues.
located in southwest of Datong City, the temple is one of the most important temples of the Huayan Sect of Buddhism during the Liao and Jin dynasties, hence the name, the magnificent temple is divided into the upper and lower of parts, both in great layout. The Cabinets of Storing Sutra in the Grand Hall of the Lower Huayan Temple, in two-storey-pavilion style, are ingeniously constructed and unique in world.
Hengshan Mountain, the northern Sacred Mountain, rises 10 kilometers south of Hunyuan County, and is famed as "the famous mountain of the strategic importance", the mountain consists of two peaks: the Tianfengling on the east and the Cuipingfeng on the west, the two peaks stand facing each other, and form a precipitous natural barrier, where was a place contested by all strategists. The terrain of the mountain is characterized by "parallel lines of mountains". The Hengshan Mountain Scenic Area was inscribed on the first list of major scenic areas and historical sites in the country proclaimed by the State Council. Major tourist attractions include the Midair Temple, Hall of Pure Trinity, Nine-Heaven Palace, and Flying-Stone Grottoes and so on.
Wooden Pagoda of Ying County
The wooden Pagoda, standing in the Temple of Buddhist Palace in Ying County, was originally built in 1056 (the 2nd year of Qingning reign of the Liao Dynasty). The octagonal pagoda is 67.13 meters high and 30.27 meters in diameter at the foundation, which makes it the oldest and tallest of its kind. From the outside, the pagoda appears to be a five-storied building with six layers of eaves, but four stores are hidden, it houses many cultural relics such as color-sculptures and frescoes.
Yongle Palace, or the Palace of Eternal Joy, situated 3 kilometers to the north of Ruicheng County, is one of the earliest Taoist complexes in China. All building in the palace were constructed during the Yuan Dynasty except the gate which was built during the Qing dynasty. Also preserved in the palace are beautiful mural paintings of the Yuan Dynasty. The mural paintings cover a total of 960 square meters, and are the finest works in the history of Chinese painting.