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22-Nov-2015 19:04

Other highlights are archaeological displays including a stone tablet with 1,000 Buddha reliefs dating from 540 AD, as well as 500 larger-than-life terracotta statues from the Qing period of 1644-1911.One of China's most important Muslim sites, the Chengdu Huangcheng Mosque dates back to the 18th century and is in the heart of the city's old Xicheng District.The sprawling Du Fu Thatched Cottage complex (Dù Fǔ Cǎo Táng) covers 24 acres and is dedicated to one of China's best-known poets.The site replicates the home in which Du Fu lived between 759 and 763 AD and in which he wrote more than 250 of his best-known poems.By the period of the Three Kingdoms from 220-280 AD, Chengdu had become the capital of the state of Shu Han and by the 8th century, was an important center of trade, commerce, and industry, notable for its lacquered and silver filigree work.

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In the small town of Xindu just 18 kilometers northeast of Chengdu, the Monastery of Precious Light (Baoguang Si) is well worth taking the time to visit.

In the province of Sichuan, one of China's leading rice and wheat growing regions, the city of Chengdu has played an important role in the country's history for thousands of years.

But it was under the Qin and Han Dynasty of around 316 BC that it became the political, economic, and cultural center of southwest China, and even then was famous for its breeding of silkworms and weaving of brocade.

Highlights include the Hall of Shuofa Tang with its 10 iron statues of Buddhist guardian gods from the Song period of 960-1279 AD, as well as the more than 100 bronze sculptures of Buddhas and Buddhist saints from the Qing era between 1644-1911 and many more made from materials such as jade and wood.

The site also contains numerous other important cultural relics, including paintings and calligraphy by leading Chinese artists and writers.

For a chance to see pandas in the wild, book a trip to the vast Wolong Nature Reserve 130 kilometers west of Chengdu.