Longmen Grottoes in China

22 June 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  7 minutes

© Anagoria/cc-by-3.0

© Anagoria/cc-by-3.0

The Longmen Grottoes or Longmen Caves are some of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art. Housing tens of thousands of statues of Shakyamuni Buddha and his disciples, they are located 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of present-day Luoyang in Henan province, China. The images, many once painted, were carved as outside rock reliefs and inside artificial caves excavated from the limestone cliffs of the Xiangshan and Longmenshan, running east and west. The Yi River flows northward between them and the area used to be called Yique (‘The Gate of the Yi River’). The alternative name of “Dragon’s Gate Grottoes” derives from the resemblance of the two hills that check the flow of the Yi River to the typical “Chinese gate towers” that once marked the entrance to Luoyang from the south.   read more…

Pearl River Delta in China

12 March 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  5 minutes

Casinos in Macao © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-3.0

Casinos in Macao © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Pearl River Delta Metropolitan Region (PRD) is the low-lying area surrounding the Pearl River estuary, where the Pearl River flows into the South China Sea. It is one of the most densely urbanized regions in the world, and is often considered a megacity. It is now the wealthiest region in South China and one of the wealthiest in the whole of China along with the Yangtze River Delta in East China and Jingjinji in North China. The region’s economy is referred to as Pearl River Delta Economic Zone. It is also part of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.   read more…

Mount Lu in China

8 March 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  6 minutes

Hanpo Pass © panoramio.com - rheins/cc-by-3.0

Hanpo Pass © panoramio.com – rheins/cc-by-3.0

Mount Lu or Lushan, also known as Kuanglu in ancient times, is situated in the northern part of Jiangxi province in Central China, and is one of the most renowned mountains in the country. It is located primarily in Lushan county-level city in Jiujiang Prefecture, although the northern portions are found in Lianxi District which was formerly known as Lushan District and until 2016 covered the majority of the Mount Lu. The oval-shaped mountains are about 25 kilometers (16 mi) long and 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) wide, and neighbors Jiujiang city and the Yangtze River to the north, Nanchang city to the south, and Poyang Lake to the east. Its highest point is Dahanyang Peak, reaching 1,474 meters (4,836 ft) above sea level, and is one of the hundreds of steep peaks that towers above a sea of clouds that encompass the mountains for almost 200 days out of the year. Mount Lu is known for its grandeur, steepness, and beauty, and is part of Lushan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, and a prominent tourist attraction, especially during the summer months when the weather is cooler in the mountains than elsewhere.   read more…

Chinese New Year 2021

12 February 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  10 minutes

Chinese New Year Fireworks over Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong © flickr.com - Michael Elleray/cc-by-2.0

Chinese New Year Fireworks over Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong © flickr.com – Michael Elleray/cc-by-2.0

Chinese New Year is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. In Chinese culture and East Asian countries, the festival is commonly referred to as the Spring Festival as the spring season in the lunisolar calendar traditionally starts with lichun, the first of the twenty-four solar terms which the festival celebrates around the time of. Marking the end of winter and the beginning of the spring season, observances traditionally take place from New Year’s Eve, the evening preceding the first day of the year to the Lantern Festival, held on the 15th day of the year. The first day of Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between 21 January and 20 February. In 2021, the first day of the Chinese New Year will be on Friday, 12 February, which is the Year of the Ox.   read more…

Jingdezhen, China’s Porcelain Capital

21 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  10 minutes

Shanghai Museum - Underglaze blue lotus-shaped dish with Sanskrit inscriptions, Jingdezhen ware, Wanli Reign, 1573-1620 © Gerbil/cc-by-sa-3.0

Shanghai Museum – Underglaze blue lotus-shaped dish with Sanskrit inscriptions, Jingdezhen ware, Wanli Reign, 1573-1620 © Gerbil/cc-by-sa-3.0

Jingdezhen is a prefecture-level city, in northeastern Jiangxi province, with a total population of 1.7 million (2018), bordering Anhui to the north. It is known as the “Porcelain Capital” because it has been producing Chinese ceramics for at least 1,000 years, and for much of that period Jingdezhen porcelain was the most important and finest quality in China. The city has a well-documented history that stretches back over 2,000 years. Jingdezhen is situated in the north-east of Jiangxi and borders on Anhui; the city center area is located in the north-east of the Poyang Lake Plain. Its area is 5,256 km² (2,029 sq mi). The highest point is 1,618 m (5,308 ft), with plains on the southern part having an average altitude of 200 m (660 ft). There are some cities and counties between Jiangxi and Anhui Province around Jingdezhen. To its north, northwest and northeast are Dongzhi, Xiuning and Qimen County of Anhui province. To its south are Wannian County and Yiyang County. To its west is Poyang County. Lastly, to its southeast are Wuyuan County and Dexing City. Jingdezhen’s natural resources include kaolin, coal, manganese, and lime, but it is the kaolin that has made the city famous in China and the world. For over a millennium, its unique kaolin has enabled Jingdezhen to make high-quality porcelain. (The word “Kaolin” came from “Gaoling” or “Kaoling”, a village located in Ehu Town, Fuliang County, Jingdezhen).   read more…

Macao, Las Vegas of the East

18 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  19 minutes

Marina at Macau Fisherman's Wharf © Mfwmarketing/cc-by-sa-4.0

Marina at Macau Fisherman’s Wharf © Mfwmarketing/cc-by-sa-4.0

Macau, also spelled Macao and officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, is a city and special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China in the western Pearl River Delta by the South China Sea. With a population of about 650,000 and an area of 32.9 km² (12.7 sq mi), it is the most densely populated region in the world. Macau is a former colony of the Portuguese Empire, after Ming China leased the territory as a trading post in 1557. Portugal paid an annual rent and administered the territory under Chinese sovereignty until 1887, when it gained perpetual colonial rights in the Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Peking. The colony remained under Portuguese rule until 1999, when it was transferred to China. Macau is a special administrative region of China, which maintains separate governing and economic systems from those of mainland China under the principle of “one country, two systems“. Originally a sparsely populated collection of coastal islands, the territory has become a major resort city and a top destination for gambling tourism, with a gambling industry seven times larger than that of Las Vegas. The territory is highly urbanised and most development is built on reclaimed land; two-thirds of the total land area is reclaimed from the sea.   read more…

Beijing Daxing International Airport

1 August 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, House of the Month Reading Time:  10 minutes

Model of Beijing Daxing International Airport at the Five-Year Achievements Exhibition © N509FZ/cc-by-sa-4.0

Model of Beijing Daxing International Airport at the Five-Year Achievements Exhibition © N509FZ/cc-by-sa-4.0

Beijing Daxing International Airport, located on the border of Beijing and Langfang, Hebei Province, is Beijing’s second international airport. The name of the airport was announced on September 14, 2018. It has been nicknamed “starfish“. The terminal building is one of the largest single-structure airport terminals in the world, with an area of more than 700,000 m² (7,500,000 sq ft). It was completed on June 30, 2019. The opening ceremony for the airport was held on September 25, 2019, and the airport opened to the public on September 26, 2019. The first commercial flight, China United Airlines KN5302 from Ordos, landed at Beijing Daxing at 10:12 (UTC+8), September 26, 2019.   read more…

Beijing in China

11 September 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  28 minutes

Central Business District © 郭友柏/cc-by-sa-4.0

Central Business District © 郭友柏/cc-by-sa-4.0

Beijing (“Northern Capital”) is the capital of the People’s Republic of China, the world’s third most populous city proper, and most populous capital city. The city, located in northern China, is governed as a municipality under the direct administration of central government with 16 urban, suburban, and rural districts. Beijing Municipality is surrounded by Hebei Province with the exception of neighboring Tianjin Municipality to the southeast; together the three divisions form the Jingjinji metropolitan region and the national capital region of China.   read more…

One Belt and One Road Initiative, the new Silk Road

31 July 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  20 minutes

President of China Xi Jinping © The Russian Presidential Press and Information Office

President of China Xi Jinping © The Russian Presidential Press and Information Office

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries and international organizations in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa. “Belt” refers to the overland routes for road and rail transportation, called “the Silk Road Economic Belt“; whereas “road” refers to the sea routes, or the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It was known as the One Belt One Road (OBOR) and the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road until 2016 when the Chinese government considered the emphasis on the word “one” was prone to misinterpretation. The Chinese government calls the initiative “a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future”. Some observers see it as a push for Chinese dominance in global affairs with a China-centered trading network. The project has a targeted completion date of 2049, which coincides with the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.   read more…

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