If you are interested in Chinese history and culture, to visit Chinese historical ancient capitals is a great choice. Top 4 ancient capitals of china consist of Xi'an in Shaanxi Province, Nanjing in Jiangsu Province, Beijing and Luoyang in Henan Province.
There are a lot of well-preserved historical relics such as the Forbidden City in Beijing, Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum and the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum in Xi'an, and Ascending the River at Qingming Festival Park in Kaifeng. You can experience a vivid historical journey in China among the ancient capitals. China Travel specialized in group tours with solo adventure list the most famous Chinese ancient capitals for your unique ancient capital journey in China.
Top China Ancient Capitals
Xi'an, called Chang'an in ancient times, is the No.1 ancient capital in China. It is the capital that has the longest history and greatest influence among the ancient capitals. Xi'an was the east start of Ancient Silk Road between China, Asian and European countries. Being as the capital for more than 1,000 years, Xi'an had been the capital for 13 dynasties such as the Qing, Han, Sui and Tang Dynasties. Located in the Middle China, it is an important birthplace of Chinese culture and civilization.
Nowadays, Xi'an has rich well-preserved historical relics. The Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses are the most popular among the historical relics. Riding a bike along Xi'an Ancient City Wall can make travelers have an overall view of the city. Xingqing Imperial Palace, Tang Paradise, the Ruins of Daming Palace, Huangdi Mausoleum and Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor are great historical destinations to travel in Xi'an. Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Drum Tower, the Bell Tower and Great Mosque are also popular among travelers in Xi'an.
With a more than 2,500 years history, the provincial capital of Jiangsu Province - Nanjing was set as the capitals for nearly 500 years during 6 dynasties. Nanjing, also known as Nanking, had been the capital of Eastern Wu, Qi, Liang, Chen, the Eastern Jin Dynasty and the Song Dynasty. As one of top 4 ancient capitals of China, it is a national famous historical and cultural city. Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang's Tomb, the Confucius Temple and Sun Yatsen's Mausoleum are great historical relics in Nanjing.
To take a cruise along the Qinhuai River at night can experience a vivid night life of its beautiful scenery. The Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty has recorded the history of Jinling (ancient name of Nanjing). Presidential Palace, Purple Golden Mountain Observatory, Mochou Lake Park and Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge are hot destinations for travelers.
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Beijing, also called Peking, firstly had been the capital of the Yin period during the Shang Dynasty. With a history of over 3000 years, it has been the capitals for more than 860 years. Beijing had been the capital of the Western Zhou, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. Nowadays, a lot of historical and cultural relics in Beijing have been well kept such as imperial palaces and folk residences including hutongs.
As the capital of the People's Republic of China（P.R.C.）, it is not only suitable for travelers to explore ancient Chinese culture , but also a hot destination to experience a modern journey in China. The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace, Tian'anmen Square, Mao's Memorial Hall, the Ming Tombs have been on a lot of travelers' must-visit travel lists. In addition, you can enjoy a modern life in Olympic Stadium, a great night life in Sanlitun Bar Street or an art journey in 798 Art Zone.
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Together with Xi'an, Beijing and Nanjing, Luoyang is one of top 4 ancient capitals of China. It had been the capital for 13 dynasties such as the Eastern Zhou, Eastern Han, and Northern Wei Dynasties. It was the only city that called as Shendu (the capital of God) in Chinese history. Luoyang was the city where the Taoism was originated, Confucianism was flourished and Buddhism was first passed in China.
The name of China was from Luoyang which is the main birthplace of Chinese nations and Chinese civilization. And Peony Garden has attracted a lot of flower lovers and photographers from the whole world. The White Garden is to commemorate Baijuyi who is a famous realism poet of the Tang Dynasty. There are a lot of historical attractions including the Longmen Grottoes, the Eastern Zhou Carriage Museum, Luoyang Museum and White Horse Temple.
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Kaifeng, called Dongjing or Bianjing in ancient China, had been the capital for 7 dynasties including Wei Kingdom during the Warring States Period, Later Liang, Later Jin, Later Han, Later Zhou dynasties during the Period of Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms, Northern Song Dynasty and the Jin Dynasty. With a more than 2700 years history, Kaifeng is one of Chinese historical and cultural birthplaces. It is also the original place of famous Chinese famous painting- Ascending the River at Qingming Festival.
Of course, the most famous attraction in Kaifeng is the park of Ascending the River at Qingming Festival which is based on original scenery of the painting. Others historical relics consist of the Song Dynasty Quarter, Dragon Pavilion, the Guildhall, and the Iron Pagoda. And there are chrysanthemum exhibitions during September or October, so traveler can enjoy all kinds of chrysanthemums.
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Hangzhou in the Yangtze Delta, called Lin'an in ancient times, was the capital of the Wuyue Kingdom during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period and the Southern Song Dynasty. In the north of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou is the economical and cultural centers of Zhenjiang Province. Situated at the southwest of the West Lake, Song Dynasty City is a popular theme Park including the Song City Cultural Show, Ancient City Area and the Song City River Area.
An old Chinese saying about Hangzhou is that there's heaven in the sky, and there're Suzhou and Hangzhou in China. The Su Causeway on the West Lake was built by Hangzhou official Su Dongpo who was also a great poet during the Northern Song Dynasty. Yuefei Temple is a historic relic built in the Southern Song Dynasty. The Lingyin Temple, Six Harmonies Pagoda and Official Kiln Museum of the Southern Song Dynasty are great historical attractions to visit in Hangzhou. In the meanwhile, Wuzhen and Xitang Water Towns in Zhejiang Province are Jiangnan's typical beautiful scenery including ancient private gardens, small bridges and clear rivers.
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Located in the north of Henan Province, Anyang is one of top 8 ancient capitals of China. Being the capital for 500 years, Anyang is one of Chinese civilization centers at the early times. It was the capital during the Yin Period of the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC), so Yin is short for Anyang City. It is the place that the birthplace of the Book of Changes, and the hometown of inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells of the Shang Dynasty. The inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells are the earliest Chinese characters by identification.
The Yin Dynasty ruins are the earliest Chinese city relic recognized by the world. The Simuwu Rectangular Ding, the largest bronze ware in the world was unearthed in Anyang city. The Museum of Chinese Characters shows travelers art of the earliest Chinese characters. Yuefei Temple in Anyang is to memorialize Yue Fei who was a Chinese national hero during the Southern Song Dynasty. In addition, the Red Flag Canal, the Ruins of Youli City, and Mountain Taihang are popular attractions in Anyang.
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About 5000 years ago, Chinese first Emperor Huangdi set the capital in Xinzheng (an ancient name of Zhengzhou). Zhengzhou, the provincial capital of Henan Province, was also the capital during the Shang Dynasty. There are a lot of well-preserved historical destinations for travelers from the world. Shang Dynasty Ruins has recorded Chinese civilization at the middle period of the Shang Dynasty. Yellow River Scenic Area on the bank of the river is a wonderful place to see the Yellow River. And the best time to the magnificent Yellow River is from July to October.
Native Place of Emperor Huangdi, Imperial Tombs of Northern Song Dynasty, and Dahuting Tombs of Han Dynasty are famous historical attractions in Zhengzhou. Located in the northwest of Dengfeng City, Songshan Mountain, also called Zhongyue is famous for Shaolin Temple. And Shaolin Temple is the best place to enjoy and experience the art of Chinese kung fu.
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Situated at the northern Shanxi Province, Datong is one of Chinese historical capitals. Datong, also called the Cloud City or the Phoenix City, was the capital during the Northern Wei Dynasty before moving to Luoyang in 493. It had been one of center cities of the North China in ancient times. With a 2300 years history, Datong promotes Buddhism culture's communication and development and Chinese national integration. And Datong's Chinese sculptures are top-ranking in China.
In the west countryside of Datong, Yungang Grottoes is one of top 4 grottoes in China. With more than 51,000 Buddha statues, the Grottoes are a great place to enjoy fantastic Buddha grottoes of the 5th and 6th Centuries AD. Mount Hengshan, also known as Beiyue, is famous for its Taoist activities and beautiful scenery. Hanging Monastery, Datong Nine Dragon Screen Wall and Huayan Monastery are other attractions loved by travelers in Datong.
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