The structural principles of Chinese architecture have remained largely unchanged, the main changes being only the decorative details. Since the Tang Dynasty, Chinese architecture has had a major influence on the architectural styles of Korea, Vietnam and Japan.
The architecture of China is as old as Chinese civilization, so traveling China without visiting its top symbolic and famous architecture buildings will be your biggest regret.
1. Forbidden City – Beijing
No visit to Beijing can be complete without seeing this preserved Chinese classical architecture of imperial splendor, a site which is considered not only an imperial city but also an imperial museum, hence also called the Palace Museum. The Forbidden City is so-called because it was forbidden for the commoner to enter the compound on pain of death. It was also forbidden for any building in Beijing to be constructed higher than the buildings in the Forbidden City. The yellow color of the tiled roofs could not be used by commoners.
2. The Bund – Shanghai
The Bund is a famous waterfront and regarded as the symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years. Walking along the Bund, which is at the west shore of the Huangpu River, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower can be seen on the opposite side and also the Jin Mao Tower. The most famous and attractive sight which is at the west side of the Bund are the 52 various buildings of different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance.
3. City Wall – Xian
The symbol of Xian is its amazing City Wall, which was built during 618 – 907 of Old Tang Dynasty. It is the most complete city wall that has survived in China, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems of the world. The wall now stands 12 meters tall, 12-14 meters wide at the top and 15-18 meters thick at the bottom. You can visit the City Wall, either stroll or cycle on the Wall, to experience its amaze and wonder.
4. The Potala Palace – Tibet
The Potala Palace in Lhasa has been the seat of Dalai Lamas and also the political center of Tibet since 1645. It is famous for its grand buildings, complicated constructions, devotional atmosphere and splendid artworks, mainly comprised by the White Palace and the Red Palace (ad ministerial building and religious building respectively). Take a rewarding tour to Tibet and explore this majestic Potala Palace.
5. Suzhou Gardens – Suzhou
The Suzhou Gardens are the epitome of landscaping art for the private garden, not bound by the rigid conventions of the imperial court, and had greater freedom of expression in their art. The ancient garden of Suzhou was designed to be lived in as much as were the houses to which they were attached. Paths invited residents and their guests to wander, offering a new view at every bend; pavilions, gazebos or simple seats offered comfortable spots in which to relax, chat, and perhaps to take some refreshments or open a poem.
6. The Confucius Temple - Nanjing
The Confucius Temple in Nanjing was a place to worship and consecrate Confucius, the great philosopher and educator of ancient China. Called Fuzimiao in Chinese, a fantastic insight into how ancient Chinese governments choose officials can be gained from visiting the Jiangnan Gongyuan. It is a sight not to be missed!
7. Bank of China Tower - Hong Kong
The Bank of China Tower in Central, Hong Kong houses the headquarters of BOCHK. The 70-storey building's height is 315 meters with two masts reaching 369 meters. Bank of China Tower was the first building outside North America to break the 1,000 feet mark, the first composite space frame high-rise building and was the tallest building in Hong Kong and Asia from 1989 to 1992.
The structural expressionism adopted in the design of this building resembles growing bamboo shoots, symbolising livelihood and prosperity. While its distinctive look makes it one of Hong Kong's most identifiable landmarks today, it was the source of some controversy at one time, as the bank is the only major building in Hong Kong to have bypassed the convention of consulting with feng shui masters on matters of design prior to construction.
8. Ruins of St. Paul's – Macau
Standing adjacent to the famous Mount Fortress and Macau Museum, the Ruins of St. Paul's are the only remains of the greatest church in Macau. The ruins now consist of the southern stone façade — intricately carved between 1620 and 1627 by Japanese Christians in exile from their homeland and local craftsmen under the direction of Italian Jesuit Carlo Spinola — and the crypts of the Jesuits who established and maintained the Cathedral. The façade sits on a small hill, with 66 stone steps leading up to it. The carvings include Jesuit images with Oriental themes, such as a woman stepping on a seven-headed hydra, described by Chinese characters as ' Holy Mother tramples the heads of the dragon'. A few of the other carvings are the founders of the Jesuit Order, the conquest of Death by Jesus, and at the very top, a dove with wings outstretched.
9. Diwang Tower of Shenzhen – Shenzhen
Diwang Tower is the highest building located at the hub of the Shenzhen financial and commercial area, about 2 km from the Hong Kong border. The wind and structural monitoring system installed in Di Wang Tower timely recorded wind and structural response data. The measured wind data are analysed in this paper to obtain the mean wind speed and direction, turbulence intensity, gust factor, probability distribution, and wind spectrum. The wind characteristics measured from Typhoon York are compared with those currently used in Hong Kong and previously obtained by other researchers. The structural characteristics and responses, including the natural frequency, modal damping ratio, translational and torsional displacement and acceleration responses, are also provided.
10. Taipei 101 – Taiwan
Taipei 101, also known as the Taipei Financial Center, is a landmark skyscraper located in Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan. The building became the world's tallest skyscraper upon its completion in 2004. As certified by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Taipei 101 designed by C.Y. Lee & Partners and constructed primarily by KTRT Joint Venture and Samsung Engineering & Construction received the 2004 Emporis Skyscraper Award and was hailed as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World (Newsweek magazine, 2006) and Seven Wonders of Engineering (Discovery Channel, 2005).The tower is an icon of modern Taiwan. Fireworks launched from Taipei 101 features prominently in international New Year's Eve broadcasts and the structure appears frequently in travel literature and international media.