The Most Popular Building in China: A Ranking of Icons

Choose the building you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Sep 21, 2023 07:57
Welcome to StrawPoll, the ultimate destination for avid pollsters and opinion enthusiasts! Today, we're diving into the mesmerizing world of Chinese architecture as we rank the most popular buildings in China. With awe-inspiring structures that stand as testaments to the nation's rich history and innovative designs, China boasts some of the world's most captivating buildings. Will the ancient majesty of the Great Wall reign supreme, or will modern marvels like the Shanghai Tower rise to the challenge? The choice is yours! Cast your vote, make your voice heard, and perhaps discover a hidden architectural gem. Can't find your favorite building on the list? Feel free to suggest an option, and join us in this exciting exploration of China's architectural wonders!

What Is the Most Popular Building in China? (September 2023)

  1. 1
    It is one of the most iconic landmarks in China and the world, attracting millions of tourists every year. It is a series of fortifications built along the northern borders of China to protect against invaders.
    The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe.
    • Length: 13,171 miles (21,196 kilometers)
    • Height: Varies between 15-30 feet (5-9 meters)
    • Width: Varies between 15-30 feet (5-9 meters)
    • Construction Material: Stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials
    • Age: Over 2,000 years old (construction began in the 7th century BCE)
    The Great Wall of China in other rankings
  2. 2
    This palace complex in Beijing was the home of Chinese emperors for almost 500 years. It is an architectural marvel and an important symbol of Chinese history and culture.
    The Forbidden City is a palace complex located in the center of Beijing, China. It served as the imperial palace for emperors from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty.
    • Construction period: 1406 - 1420
    • Size: 720,000 square meters
    • Number of buildings: 980
    • Number of rooms: 8,704
    • Design style: Traditional Chinese architecture
  3. 3
    This complex of religious buildings in Beijing is a masterpiece of Chinese architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was used by emperors for annual ceremonies to pray for good harvests.
    The Temple of Heaven is an iconic religious building located in Beijing, China. It is considered one of the most famous and significant structures in the country and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple was built during the Ming Dynasty in 1420 and served as a sacred site for offering prayers to heaven for a bountiful harvest.
    • Location: Beijing, China
    • Construction Period: 1420
    • Architectural Style: Chinese traditional architecture
    • Symbolic Function: Religious and sacrificial rituals
    • Layout: Circular shape with three main groups of buildings
  4. 4
    The Shanghai Tower
    Baycrest · CC BY-SA 2.5
    This skyscraper is the tallest building in China and the second-tallest in the world. It has become an icon of modern China and a symbol of the country's economic growth.
    The Shanghai Tower is a supertall skyscraper located in the heart of the Lujiazui financial district in Shanghai, China. It is a iconic building that stands out among the city's skyline, known for its distinctive twisted shape and cutting-edge design.
    • Height: 632 meters (2,073 feet)
    • Floors: 128 above ground, 5 below ground
    • Construction Duration: 2008-2015
    • Total Floor Area: 380,000 square meters (4,090,000 square feet)
    • Purpose: Mixed-use: Offices, hotel, retail, observation deck
  5. 5
    This iconic tower in Shanghai is known for its unique design and panoramic views of the city. It is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of Shanghai's modernization.
    The Oriental Pearl Tower is a prominent landmark in Shanghai, China, known for its unique architectural design and impressive height. It is a TV tower and observation tower located in the Pudong district of the city. The tower's unique design features 11 spheres of varying sizes, creating a distinct silhouette in the city's skyline. It has become one of the most recognizable and iconic structures in China.
    • Height: 468 meters (1,535 feet)
    • Year of Completion: 1994
    • Number of Spheres: 11
    • Spheres' Sizes: The largest sphere has a diameter of 50 meters (164 feet)
    • Observation Deck: Located at a height of 350 meters (1,148 feet)
  6. 6
    This stadium in Beijing was built for the 2008 Summer Olympics and is known for its striking design. It has become a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of China's sports culture.
    The Bird's Nest is a famous architectural marvel located in Beijing, China. It is a highly unique and iconic stadium that was built for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. The structure gets its name from its intricate design, which resembles a bird's nest. The primary purpose of this building is to serve as a venue for various sporting events and ceremonies. It has become a symbol of China's modernity and architectural prowess.
    • Location: Beijing, China
    • Year of Completion: 2008
    • Function: Sports stadium
    • Capacity: 80,000 seats
    • Construction Cost: Approximately $423 million USD
  7. 7
    The Potala Palace
    Coolmanjackey · CC BY-SA 3.0
    This historic palace in Lhasa, Tibet, was the residence of the Dalai Lama until 1959. It is a masterpiece of Tibetan architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    The Potala Palace is a majestic and iconic building located in the city of Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, China. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most popular tourist attractions in China. The palace is a remarkable example of Tibetan architecture, renowned for its grandeur, remarkable artwork, and historical significance.
    • Location: Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, China
    • Architectural Style: Tibetan
    • Height: 13 stories (117 meters or 384 feet)
    • Built Area: 130,000 square meters (1.4 million square feet)
    • Construction Period: 1645 - 1694
  8. 8
    This collection of terracotta sculptures in Xi'an is one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. It consists of thousands of life-sized soldiers, horses, and chariots that were buried with the first emperor of China.
    The Terracotta Army is a collection of terracotta sculptures that depict the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. They are located in the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, Xi'an, China.
    • Total number of figures: 8,000
    • Size of figures: Average height of 5'11" (1.8 meters)
    • Individuality: No two figures are the same
    • Material Used: Terracotta
    • Discovery: Unearthed by farmers in March 1974
    The Terracotta Army in other rankings
  9. 9
    This hydroelectric dam on the Yangtze River is the largest power station in the world. It has become a symbol of China's engineering prowess and a controversial project due to its environmental impact.
    The Three Gorges Dam is a hydropower and multipurpose project located on the Yangtze River in China. It is considered the world's largest power station and dam in terms of installed capacity and flood control capacity. The construction of the dam began in 1994 and was completed in 2012.
    • Location: Yangtze River, China
    • Type: Hydropower and multipurpose dam
    • Construction Period: 1994 - 2012
    • Installed Capacity: 22,500 MW
    • Length of Dam: 2,335 meters (7,661 feet)
  10. 10
    This scenic lake in Hangzhou is known for its beauty and cultural significance. It has inspired poets, artists, and scholars for centuries and is a popular tourist destination in China.
    The West Lake is a renowned freshwater lake located in the historic city of Hangzhou, in the Zhejiang province of China. It is considered one of the most beautiful and iconic sights in the country.
    • Location: Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
    • Size: Approximately 6.39 square kilometers
    • Surrounding Landscape: Hills, pagodas, gardens, temples, and causeways
    • Historical Significance: Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011
    • Cultural Influence: Inspired numerous poets, artists, and scholars throughout history

Missing your favorite building?


Ranking factors for popular building

  1. Cultural and historical significance
    The building should hold considerable importance in Chinese history and culture. It should represent the architectural and cultural achievements of the Chinese people throughout different dynasties and historical periods.
  2. Architectural style and uniqueness
    The building should possess unique architectural characteristics that reflect the traditional Chinese style and make it stand out among other buildings in the country.
  3. Popularity among tourists
    One way to determine the popularity of a building is by the number of tourists it attracts each year. A popular building would typically draw a large number of visitors from both domestic and international backgrounds.
  4. Accessibility and location
    The building should be located in a place that is easily accessible for visitors. Being located in or near major cities or tourist destinations can contribute to its popularity.
  5. Recognition and awards
    Receiving recognition and awards, both domestically and internationally, for its architecture, cultural significance, or role in preserving heritage can further contribute to a building's overall popularity.
  6. Media coverage and representation
    The building should be well-known and frequently featured in media, films, and other popular forms of communication. This can help increase public awareness and contribute to its popularity.
  7. Educational value
    A popular building should have significant educational value, offering insights into China's history, culture, arts, and architecture.
  8. Cultural events and activities
    Buildings that host or serve as a venue for cultural events and activities, such as festivals, exhibitions, and performances, can contribute to their popularity.
  9. Preservation and maintenance
    Efforts to preserve and maintain the building, ensuring its continued existence and enjoyment for future generations, can positively impact its popularity.
  10. Public opinion and satisfaction
    The building should be well-liked and appreciated by the local community and the general public. Public opinion and visitor satisfaction can significantly influence the popularity of a building.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular building in China. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or your favorite building is missing from the list, feel free to help us improve the ranking.


  • 192 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each building once every 24 hours. The rank of each building is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular building in china

China is a country known for its rich cultural heritage and iconic architectural structures. From the Great Wall of China to the Forbidden City, the country boasts of some of the most breathtaking buildings that attract tourists and visitors from all over the world. When it comes to the most popular building in China, there are several candidates, each with its unique history and significance. One of the most popular buildings in China is the iconic Shanghai Tower. Completed in 2015, the Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in China and the second tallest building in the world. The building stands at an impressive height of 632 meters and has 128 floors. It is a modern architectural marvel that features various amenities, including observation decks, luxury hotels, and office spaces. Another popular building in China is the Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that served as the imperial palace for the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Forbidden City is located in the heart of Beijing and covers an area of 72 hectares. It features over 900 buildings, including palaces, halls, and courtyards, and is a testament to the country's rich history and culture. Other notable buildings in China include the Great Wall of China, the Temple of Heaven, and the Terracotta Army. These buildings and structures have stood the test of time and continue to be popular tourist attractions, drawing millions of visitors every year. In conclusion, China is home to some of the most popular buildings in the world, each with its unique history and significance. From modern skyscrapers to ancient palaces, these