Temple of Heaven
Completed in 1420, this magnificent temple was considered the meeting point of Earth and Heaven. For 500 years it hosted the emperors' sacrifices and prayers for a good harvest at the winter solstice.
Giant Buddha of Leshan
This is the tallest stone Buddha statue in the world, carved out of a cliff by an 8th-century monk to calm the turbulent confluence of three rivers. Each eyebrow is 18 feet long.
These Buddhist cave temples were a center of culture on the Silk Road from the 4th to the 14th centuries and contain well-preserved religious murals and carvings spanning that entire period.
This castle-monastery was long the primary residence of the Dalai Lama, who now lives in exile in India. Today it is a state museum and World Heritage Site.
This historic temple in Lhasa is the holiest site in Tibetan Buddhism. It houses a venerated Buddha statue and has been a major pilgrimage destination for centuries.
St. Ignatius (Xujiahui) Cathedral
This Catholic cathedral founded by the Jesuits dates from 1910. The brick Gothic structure, which was once a part of a major missionary complex, seats 2,500 people.
White Horse Temple
Baima Si was the first Buddhist temple in China, established by Emperor Mingdi in the year 68 AD. The historic, leafy site features several ancient buildings and a highly devotional atmosphere.
This temple is fairly touristy but is still worth a visit for its colorful 17th-century architecture. It is an active Tibetan Buddhist center, but one that is officially sponsored by the Chinese government.