North of the Great Wall, the Site of Xanadu encompasses the
remains of Kublai Khan’s legendary capital city, designed by the Mongol
ruler’s Chinese advisor Liu Bingzhdong in 1256. Over a surface area of
25,000 ha, the site was a unique attempt to assimilate the nomadic
Mongolian and Han Chinese cultures. From this base, Kublai Khan
established the Yuan dynasty that ruled China over a century, extending
its boundaries across Asia. The religious debate that took place here
resulted in the dissemination of Tibetan Buddhism over north-east Asia, a
cultural and religious tradition still practised in many areas today.
The site was planned according to traditional Chinese feng shui
in relation to the nearby mountains and river. It features the remains
of the city, including temples, palaces, tombs, nomadic encampments and
the Tiefan’gang Canal, along with other waterworks.