World cultural and natural heritage in China

In August 2004, the 28th Session of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee (WHC) was held in the famous historical and cultural city of Suzhou. The convention decided to add to the World Heritage List the capital cities and tombs of the ancient Koguryo Kingdom, the Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty in Shenyang, and three imperial mausoleums of Shengjing in Liaoning Province. Dating back some 2,000 years, the ancient Koguryo Kingdom sites are located mainly in Ji'an city, Jilin Province and Huanren County, Liaoning Province, including three cities, 12 tombs of Koguryo kings, 26 tombs of the nobility, Haotaiwang Stele and No.1 Grave of the General's Tomb. The Imperial Palace in Shenyang and the three imperial mausoleums were included in the list as extensions to the Imperial Palace and Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. 

Koguryo was a regime established by an ancient ethnic group living in northern China. In 37 BC, the Koguryo Kingdom was founded in present-day Xinbin County, Liaoning Province. Later its capital was established in Heshenggu City (in present-day Huanren County, Liaoning Province). The capital was moved to Guonei City when Weinayan City (both in Ji'an City of Jilin Province) was set up in 3 BC, and was moved finally to Pyongyang in 427. The Koguryo regime ended in 668. The Koguryo relics in China reflect the history and culture of the early and mid-period Koguryo regime; Koguryo's architectural style where mountain cities and plain cities coexisted pioneered a new pattern of city construction in the Middle Ages.

The Historic Center of Macao was inscribed on the World Heritage List as a cultural property at the 29th session of the UNESCO's World Heritage Committee held in Durban, South Africa. – Editor's Note.

Since joining the International Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage in 1985, China has 31 world heritage sites to date; of these 23 are cultural heritage sites, four are natural heritage sites, and four are cultural and natural sites, ranking third in the world. Since 2004, China has made the first large-scale renovations on six world cultural heritage sites in Beijing - the Ming Tombs, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, and the "Peking Man" site at Zhoukoudian, all of which are planned for completion before 2008. In addition, China has a rich non-material cultural heritage, one of the world's richest. Kunqu Opera and the art of playing the guqin, a seven-stringed zither, are among UNESCO's list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The ancient Naxi Dongba literature manuscripts have also been inscribed on the World Heritage List. In 2001, Chinese Tibetan epic King Gesar, the longest epic in the world, was listed by UNESCO in the world millennium memorials.

China's World Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites

1. The Great Wall (Beijing, 1987, World Cultural Heritage)

2. The Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (World Cultural Heritage: the Forbidden City, Beijing, 1987; the Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, 2004)

3. "Peking Man" site at Zhoukoudian (Beijing, 1987, World Cultural Heritage)

4. Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang (Gansu Province, 1987, World Cultural Heritage)

5. Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum and the Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses (Shaanxi Province, 1987, World Cultural Heritage)

6. Mount Taishan (Shandong Province, 1987, World Cultural and Natural Heritage)

7. Mount Huangshan (Anhui Province, 1990, World Cultural and Natural Heritage)

8. Jiuzhaigou Valley (Sichuan Province, 1992, World Natural Heritage)

9. Huanglongsi Scenic Spot (Sichuan Province, 1992, World Natural Heritage)

10. Wulingyuan Scenic Spot (Hunan Province, 1992, World Natural Heritage)

11. Chengde Mountain Summer Resort and Eight Outer Temples (Hebei Province, 1994, World Cultural Heritage)

12. Potala Palace (Tibet Autonomous Region, 1994, World Cultural Heritage)

13. Confucius Temple, Confucius Family Mansion and Confucius Woods at Qufu (Shandong Province, 1994, World Cultural Heritage)

14. Ancient Buildings on Mount Wudang (Hubei Province, 1994, World Cultural Heritage)

15. Mount Lushan (Jiangxi Province, 1996, World Cultural Heritage)

16. Mount Emei and the Leshan Giant Buddha (Sichuan Province, 1996, World Cultural and Natural Heritage)

17. Ancient City of Pingyao (Shanxi Province, 1997, World Cultural Heritage)

18. Suzhou Classical Gardens (Jiangsu Province, 1997, World Cultural Heritage)

19. Ancient City of Lijiang (Yunnan Province, 1997, World Cultural Heritage)

20. The Summer Palace (Beijing, 1998, World Cultural Heritage)

21. The Temple of Heaven (Beijing, 1998, World Cultural Heritage)

22. Mount Wuyi (Fujian Province, 1999, World Cultural and Natural Heritage)

23. Dazu Grottoes (Chongqing, 1999, World Cultural Heritage)

24. Ming and Qing Imperial Mausoleums (World Cultural Heritage: Ming Xianling Mausoleums, Hubei Province, 2000; Qing Dongling Mausolems and Qing Xiling Mausolems, Hebei Province, 2000; Ming Tombs, Beijing, 2003; Ming Xiaoling Mausoleums, Jiangsu, 2003; three imperial mausoleums of Shengjing, Liaoning Province, 2004)

25. Longmen Grottoes (Henan Province, 2000, World Cultural Heritage)

26. Mount Qingcheng and Dujiang Dam (Sichuan Province, 2000, World Cultural Heritage)

27. Xidi and Hongcun -- Ancient Villages in South Anhui (Anhui Province, 2000, World Cultural Heritage)

28. Yungang Grottoes (Shanxi Province, 2001, World Cultural Heritage)

29. Three Parallel Rivers Scene (Yunnan Province, 2003, World Natural Heritage)

30. The capital cities and tombs of the ancient Koguryo kingdom (Liaoning and Jilin provinces, 2004, World Natural Heritage)

31. The Historic Center of Macao (Macao Special Administrative Region, 2005, World Cultural Heritage).

Source: China.org.cn