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Factbook photos - obtained from a variety of sources - are in the public domain and are copyright free. Agency Copyright Notice. In this dramatic false-color satellite image, a vast alluvial fan blossoms across the Taklimakan Desert between the Kunlun and Altun mountains in Xinjiang Province. The left side of the fan in blue is the active side and displays glacial run-off from the Molcha River; the green side on the right consists of older stream paths no longer in use. Image courtesy of USGS. This false-color, high-resolution satellite photo shows the Turpan Depression, nestled at the foot of China's Bogda Mountains, south of the oasis city of Turpan.
A strange mix of salt lakes and sand dunes, this fault-bounded trough is the lowest exposed surface in China. At the center of the basin lies Ayding Lake bottom left , which is the third lowest exposed point on the earth's surface at m ft. Soaring, snow-capped peaks and ridges of the eastern Himalaya Mountains create an irregular white-on-red patchwork between major rivers in southwestern China in this enhanced satellite image.
The Himalayas are made up of three parallel mountain ranges that together extend more than 2, km 1, mi and are the youngest mountain range on the planet. Some of the world's major rivers rise in these mountains and their combined drainage basin is home to almost half of the world's entire population. The Ming Dynasty Tombs are located some 50 km 30 mi north of Beijing. The archway leading to the Sacred Way and the tombs dates to ; it is the earliest and largest stone archway in China.
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The building was constructed in ; it is the home of the National People's Congress. Constructed in , it commemorates those who fought in revolutions from to Mao's body lies in a crystal casket for public viewing. Completed in , the museum's mission is to educate about the arts and history of China. The gate has been reconstructed several times, most recently in The Meridian Gate - the largest gate in the Forbidden City with five arches - is the southern entrance to the Forbidden City in Beijing.
Built from to , the Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty, which began in , to the end of the Qing Dynasty in The Hall was destroyed by fire seven times and was last rebuilt in Many of the buildings of the Forbidden City were built from precious woods and marble; golden bricks were used for floors. It served as the audience hall during the Qing Dynasty to Roof charms decorate a building in the Forbidden City.
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The more important the structure, the more decorative charms were used - in this case eleven: a man riding a phoenix heads a procession of nine mythical beasts that are followed by an imperial dragon. A section of the Forbidden City in Beijing at sunset. Built between and , the palace complex served as the Chinese imperial palace until Today it is the Palace Museum showing artifacts from the Ming to the Qing Dynasties 14th to 20th centuries.
The complex - on the World Heritage Site list since - consists of surviving buildings on 72 hectares acres and is the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. Hutongs are traditional Chinese neighborhoods composed of narrow streets or alleys, running from siheyuan, or courtyard residences. Since the midth century, these types of neighborhoods have become increasingly rare. This is a hutong in Beijing. The Palace - termed the Gardens of Nurtured Harmony in Chinese - was a summer resort for the imperial family.
It consists of palaces, gardens, a lake, and a hill. Gardens have been at the site since the 12th century; construction of the Summer Palace began in Erected in the middle of the 18th century, the corridor is famous for its great length m as well as its elaborate decoration more than 14, paintings. Throne hall in the emperor's administrative area close to the East Gate of the Summer Palace in Beijing. The wooden structure was built in on a stone base and rebuilt in as a wooden lakeside pavilion in the shape of a paddle steamer. The structure is faux painted to imitate marble.
The Lama Temple in Beijing was originally built in to house court eunuchs.
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Sometimes called the Palace of Peace and Harmony, it now serves as a Buddhist monastery. This pavilion and the incense burner in the foreground are part of the Temple complex. The Drum Tower in Beijing was built in and rebuilt twice after two fires. It originally contained one large drum and 24 smaller drums that were used to keep track of time.
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The Drum Tower is 47 m high and located to the north of the Forbidden City. A close-up of the colorful architecture at the Temple of Confucius in Beijing. Initially built in , the temple was used by imperial officials to pay homage to the ancient philosopher and educator. The concentric street patterns of Beijing are clearly visible in this photo taken from the International Space Station. The rectangular area in the center is the Palace Museum also known as the Forbidden City. The area of buildings north of the Forbidden City contains a number of universities.
Beijing is surrounded by six ring roads or beltways, four of which may be seen in this photo. The 1st Ring Road no longer functions as an expressway. Image courtesy of NASA. The Juyongguan section of the Great Wall is closest to Beijing and is therefore its most visited portion.
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Most of the existing Great Wall was built during the Ming Dynasty 14th to 17th centuries to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire. The Manchus conquered the Empire in the midth century and established the Qing Dynasty; they added so much more territory to the Empire beyond the Great Wall that the structure was no longer needed to protect the Empire from outside invaders. A crenellated walkway on top of the Great Wall. The Wall stretched for many thousands of miles linking fortresses. Signal towers were used for communication. A walkway on top of the Great Wall leading to a fortification at Juyongguan Pass.
Multiple watchtowers along a section of the Great Wall. The Gezhouba Dam locks on the Yangtze River. The dam - completed in - is 38 km downstream east of the Three Gorges Dam.
Here the water level in the locks has been lowered to receive vessels. Here the locks have been flooded. On 15 May , Chinese engineers were pouring the last of the concrete to finish the construction of the massive dam, which is designed to provide flood control and to be the largest electricity-generating plant in the world. By 15 May , the dam spanned the entire river, and a large reservoir had filled behind it to the northwest.
White spray shoots through gates in the center portion of the dam. The former locks are much less prominent, and the new ones to the north appear as a linear arrangement of thin, blue rectangles.
Photos courtesy of NASA. The main purposes for the dam are twofold: to supply water for the largest hydroelectric plant in the world and to help control the devastating floods that plague the lowlands downstream from the dam. The epic scale of the dam project is matched by the level of controversy it continues to generate.