China's distinctive architecture makes up an important part of China's splendid civilization. Together with Western and Muslim architecture, the three styles comprise the world's major architectural systems. China's architectual history stretches back more than 3000 years, making it one of the longest of any civillisation. Many different materials and finishes can be seen throught Chinese architecture - wood, rammed earth, masonry, stone, thatch, tiles, plaster and paint. Its use depended on function, cost, availability and aesthetics.
Chinese architecture is distinguished by the follownig main characteristics:
1)its greatest achievements are the royal palaces and city planning, which reflect China's supreme imperial authority and social estate system;
2) its courtyards were built around an axis;
3)it is in perfect harnmony with nature. Chinese architectural styles resonate the moral principles, aesthetic conceptions and values of Chinese people.
It is generally accepted that traditional Chinese architectural style can be classified into several categories: royal palaces, residential houses, and religious temples and pagodas and tombs. However, the architectural styles of different regions and nationalities in China may vary in characteristics and functions. Travelling all the way from the Northern China to the South, from the Yellow River down to the Yangtze River, from the province of Heilongjiang, Shandong, and Shanxi to Tibet, Yunnan, and Guangxi, you will be moved by the works of Chinese architects whose differences styles, structures, and materials can be found in various regions, even in different districts within the same city.