Gallery China 2006

May 22 2014

Antique yet up-to-the-minute, familiar yet unrecognisable, outwardly urban but quintessentially rural, conservative yet path-breaking, space-age but old-fashioned, China is a land of mesmerising and eye-opening contradictions.

Awe-Inspiring AntiquityChina may be modernising at a head-spinning pace, but the slick skyscrapers, Lamborghini showrooms and Maglev trains are just eye-catching but wafer-thin gift-wrapping. Let's face it: the world's oldest continuous civilisation is bound to pull an artefact or two out of its hat. Travel selectively around China and you can quickly tap into a rich seam of antiquity: ponder the legends and myths of the Forbidden City, rediscover your sense of wonder on the Great Wall or attempt to fathom the timeless expressions of the silent Terracotta Warriors. Submit to the unique charms of Píngyáo – China's best preserved walled town – or get a glimpse of Nirvana at the serene Mògāo Caves outside Dūnhuáng. Meander among the historic villages of Wùyuán, wake with the cock crow in an ancient Hakka roundhouse or join well-dressed Tibetan pilgrims on their circuitous kora around Labrang monastery.

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