Fire damages 1,300-year old monastery considered spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism; AP

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China – Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa

The temple is considered to be the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism

A large fire broke out Saturday at the Jokhang monastery in Tibet, raising fears of severe damage to a 1,300-year-old religious site that is considered the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism.

Jokhang, located in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, caught fire at 6.40 p.m. before it was put out, according to a short report in the state-run Tibetan Daily. No injuries were reported.

Video on Chinese social media showed a roof in the monastery complex consumed by large flames that were visible from hundreds of meters (yards) away.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known. Early reports of the blaze in Chinese state-run media did not give details and many social media posts discussing the fire appeared to be quickly censored.

News of major incidents in Tibet, a restive and politically sensitive region, are often tightly controlled in China.

Source: Fire damages 1,300-year old monastery considered spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism

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Huge fire engulfs Tibet’s Jokhang Temple raising fears over future of sacred Buddhist structure; AFP

China – Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa

Footage shared on social media shows flames shooting high into the Lhasa sky

A fire at one of Tibet’s holiest Buddhist temples on Saturday raised fears for the future of the monastery as investigators tried to determine the cause of the blaze.

The fire at Jokhang Temple, a Unesco World Heritage Site in the capital Lhasa, started at about 6.40pm but was soon brought under control, Xinhua reported.

“The fire was quickly extinguished, there were no casualties and order has been restored in the area,” state-run Tibet Daily reported, adding that the region’s top Communist Party official Wu Yingjie had gone to the scene.

Internet users posted pictures and videos of the fire on social media, showing flames shooting high into the sky above old Lhasa.

But on Twitter, which is blocked in China, Tibetans living overseas said that photos and posts about the fire were quickly being censored.

Robert Barnett, a London-based Tibetologist, tweeted that sources in Lhasa “claim police have threatened anyone distributing pictures or unofficial news about the fire”.

Source: Huge fire engulfs Tibet’s Jokhang Temple raising fears over future of sacred Buddhist structure

Macau Day Trip from Hong Kong; Lonely Planet

China – Historic Centre of Macao

Complete your visit to Hong Kong with a day trip to Macau, once the oldest European settlement in the Orient. Sit back and relax as you sail across the sea from Hong Kong to Macau on a jetfoil or catamaran. Explore Macau’s historical sites, such as the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ruins of St Paul and A-Ma Temple (Macau Barra), and visit modern establishments like the Macau Tower with your expert guide. With lunch and round-trip hotel transport included, this full-day sightseeing tour is not to be missed!Please note: Due to tight schedule, this product is not recommended to travelers who need to leave Hong Kong on the same day.

After your driver picks you up from your hotel, head to the ferry terminal to board a catamaran or jetfoil. Enjoy the 60-minute ride and admire the landscapes of both Hong Kong and Macau.Upon arrival in Macau, a former Portuguese colony, begin your full-day sightseeing tour with a scenic drive along the Guia Circuit, where the Macau Grand Prix is held annually.

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Great Wall of China at Badaling and Ming Tombs Day Tour from Beijing; Lonely Planet

China – The Great Wall

See two of China’s most popular destinations, the World Heritage-listed Great Wall of China and the Ming Tombs, on one unforgettable guided day trip from Beijing. You’ll visit the Badaling section of the Great Wall, one of the best-preserved parts of this colossal structure, and explore the Chang Ling Tomb, the largest of the excavated Ming emperor burial sites. Lunch and round-trip hotel transport are included, with expert commentary from a knowledgeable guide throughout your full-day tour.

After pickup in the morning from your hotel, hop aboard a comfortable coach and head north out of bustling Beijing to two popular area attractions. The first stop on your full-day sightseeing tour is the Great Wall of China, the greatest symbol of ancient Chinese engineering and one of the world’s most famous structures. The Badaling section is a prime, preserved example of this colossal monument, which became a strategic military location during the Warring States period (476-221 BC), when many incomplete parts of the wall were built.

Here at the Badaling section, you have the opportunity to climb either the north or south face of the Great Wall, enjoying sweeping views of the surrounding landscape.

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Five Romantic Cities That Are Not Named Venice; YourAmazingPlaces.com

China – Classical Gardens of Suzhou

Whenever you hear of Venice there’s something romantic that comes up to your mind. It’s not a coincidence that exactly Venice is the world’s best known city for the lovers and their romances. However, it’s not just Venice the only romantic place in the world. There are thousands of cities with a beautiful love stories and such atmosphere. You should just check out list of suggestions and prove yourself wrong for dreaming about Venice all the time! Below you can see a list of five romantic cities.

Birmingham, UK

Even though standing on the small River Rea, Birmingham is the most popular English city that reminds of Venice for its structure and architecture. With a population of about 1.1 million of people, Birmingham is the most populous city in Britain outside London.

Tigre, Argentina

Tigre is a small Argentinian town in the province of Buenos Aires. It’s located just 28 km away from the capital city of Argentina. It lies on the Parana Delta and it is very popular touristic destination. It has only about 380.000 inhabitants.

Suzhou, China

Source: Five Romantic Cities That Are Not Named Venice – YourAmazingPlaces.com

4 ways to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Macau; Lee Wing-Sze; SCMP

China – Historic Centre of Macao

We tell you exciting ways to usher in the Lunar New Year

In a week, we will be bidding farewell to the Year of the Rooster and welcoming the Year of the Dog. There are many ways to usher in the Lunar New Year (which starts on February 16) and have a fresh start. If you are going to celebrate the festive season in Macau, here are some exciting ideas of what you can do.

Firecrackers and fireworks

It’s a custom for Chinese people to set off firecrackers to scare off the New Year monster. However, firecrackers and fireworks have been banned in Hong Kong since 1967, except at government-organised events. If you want to experience the thrills and festive atmosphere of setting off firecrackers and fireworks, Macau is one of the closest destinations to do so.

From February 15 to 20, the public are allowed to set off firecrackers and fireworks at two designated locations – the reclaimed land on Avenida Dr Sun Yat-sen, which is near Macau Tower, and the waterfront at Estrada almirante Marques Esparteiro in Taipa.

Source: 4 ways to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Macau

Check Out One of the World’s Epic Wonders: Rainbow Mountains; Lori Zaino; The Points Guy

China – China Danxia

No, not rainbows on the mountains, we actually mean rainbows IN the mountains. And you can see them in Peru, Iceland and China — or, probably much closer to home, in Arizona.

It’s true: rainbow mountains exist! In fact, there are four around the world that you can explore, hike and of course, take stunning photos of for your Instagram.

These mountains are vibrant, colorful rock and sand formations created from a combination of tectonic plate movement, layered sediment and erosion. Basically, layered sandstone and minerals built up over millions of years and when tectonic plates moved, the colors began to appear. Combine that with water erosion, freezing and thawing and wind and voilà, epic rainbow-colored mountains appear.

So plan to add the following to your bucket list:

Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona, USA

Just south of Utah along Highway 89A, you can see these massive, colorful sand and rock formations from your car window. During the 19th century, a wagon route was created through the cliffs so settlers could get from Utah to Arizona.

Source: Check Out One of the World’s Epic Wonders: Rainbow Mountains

Top Best Things To Do in MACAU (includes FREE ATTRACTIONS too!); Mervz; Pinoy Adventurista

China – Historic Centre of Macao

Dubbed as “Asia’s Entertainment Capital,” and “The Las Vegas of Asia,” Macau Peninsula is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China – same as Hong Kong. Aside from its flashy and huge hotels and casinos, Macau also offers many tourist spots, attractions, and exciting things to do that will surely be a delight to every traveler. From UNESCO World Heritage Site, to temples, delicious Michelin-rated snacks, to exciting adventures, Macau should not be missed when traveling to this part of East Asia.

There are a lot of tourist spots to see, activities to enjoy, as well as free attractions in Macau that you can visit without breaking the bank. It is also possible to visit it as a day tour from Hong Kong, but I don’t really recommend it. It’s still better if you stay for at least one night in Macau.

With this, let me share to you my Top Best Things to do, Tourist Spots, and Attractions in Macau, ideal for first-timers or even for a re-visit. This could also serve as your travel guide in creating your Macau itinerary.

On your first day in Macau…

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Top 10 facts about the Terracotta Warriors; Scott Smith; Liverpool Museum

China – Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

With only 2 weeks to go until our blockbuster exhibition China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors opens, we thought we’d run you through the top 10 most interesting facts about the warriors and the First Emperor’s burial pit!

They were discovered completely by accident

The Terracotta Army was discovered on 29 March 1974 when farmer Yang Zhifa uncovered fragments of pottery when digging a well. This pottery led to the discovery of the first warrior of the famous Terracotta Army. Quite the find!

There were no historical records of them existing

The discovery of the Terracotta Warriors was a complete surprise to everyone because there are no historical records of them, or of an underground army. They had sat untouched underground for more than 2,200 years. This only adds to the mystery, as it is now the largest and most important tomb site in China.

The scale of the discovery is immense

Since the discovery of the Terracotta Army, more than 2,000 warriors and horses have been excavated from three different burial pits with an estimated 6,000 still buried underground.

Source: Top 10 facts about the Terracotta Warriors

Home To The Famed Terracotta Warriors, Xi’an Is The Cradle Of Chinese Culture; John Oseid; Forbes

 

China – Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

The exhibit Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China is currently showing to big crowds at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). In mid-April, the collection will move to the Cincinnati Art Museum.

The blockbuster show which includes other ancient artifacts is a reminder that central Shaanxi province and the city of Xi’an where the warriors were unearthed are the cradle of Chinese culture.

Here below are suggestions for a stimulating trek through Xi’an which quickly reveals itself as a city with so many riches that you’ll need several days to do the town right.

With walls that measure an insane forty-feet in height and are just as wide on top to support 98 flanking towers, the embattlements that make up the old City Wall were begun in the 14th-century under the Ming Dynasty.

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