Beijing is one of the worlds truly imposing cities with a 3000 years History and 11 million people. Covering 16,808 square kilometers in area, it is the political, cultural and economic center of the people’s republic of China. Situated in northeast China, Beijing adjoins the Inner Mongolian Highland to the northwest and thr great northern plain to the south. Five rivers run through the citu, connecting it to the eastern Bohai Sea. Administratively, the Beijing municipality equals the status of a province, reporting directly to the central government.
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Every year finds millions of people come to Beijing to see the capital of China, a fast changing metropolitan city of old and new which makes it unarguably one of the most visited places in the world. You can easily find something for you at any time for whatever you like in here as Beijing is a sleepless city. There are in fact a great number of tourist attractions and historic sites in Beijing some of these interesting places are within walking distance while some are a bit further away. It takes quite some time to savvy everything that Beijing City has to provide.
Being capital of the People's Republic of China, it is the nation's political, economic, cultural, educational and international trade and communication center. Located in northern China, close to the port city of Tianjin and partially surrounded by Hebei Province, it also serves as the most important transportation hub and port of entry. The city is well known for its flatness and regular construction. There are only three hills to be found in the city limits. Like the configuration of the Forbidden City, Beijing has concentric "ring roads", which are actually rectangular, that go around the metropolis.
Forbidden City (the Imperial Palace)
The Forbidden City is the ideal place for you to begin your exploration of Beijing by opening its mysterious face. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as you have to walk a lot! There is a Starbucks in the palace in case you need some coffee to recharge you. This large palace building was built between 1406 and 1420 it burned down and was rebuilt, sacked and renovated for times, so most of the architecture you can see today dates back to the 18th century in the Qing Dynasty.
Lying in the heart of Beijing City, Tiananmen Square is the place for massive parades and gathering. It is one of the largest squares of such kind in the world. This was the place when Chairman Mao announced the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949. Tiananmen Square is circled by Tiananmen on its north; the Great Hall of the People on its west; on the east of Tiananmen Square lies the National Museum of China; there are Monument to the People's Heroes and Chairman Mao's Mausoleum on the south. At sunrise and sunset the raising and lowering ceremony of the Chinese National Flag is well worth seeing. The young troops perform very well. Make sure to be there 30 minutes earlier to get a good standing point.
Great Wall at Badaling, Juyongguan, Mutianyu, Simatai and Jinshanling
Climbing the Great Wall is a must for you no matter how busy you are! In Beijing there are mainly eight sections of the Great Wall crossing the northern part of Beijing for 600 kms. The eight sections are Badaling, Juyongguan, Huanghuacheng, Jiankou, Mutianyu, Gubeikou, Jinshanling, and Simatai. Most of the sections of the Great Wall in Beijing are well-preserved and are mainly the relics dating from the Ming Dynasty, the time for huge construction.
Summer Palace ( Yiheyuan )
Regarded as the largest imperial garden in China, Beijing's Summer Palace is in fact a park-styled royal retreat extending out over 10 square miles in northwest suburban Beijing. With masterly design and artistic architecture integrating the highlight of Chinese garden arts, the Summer Palace has earned a title of "Royal Garden Museum". It is a royal garden most completely preserved with richest landscapes and large compact buildings. Once this 290-acre park-palace was a summer resort for the emperors, it is still a treat for visitors, who can take a rest here or wander around old pavilions, buildings, temples, bridges and the huge lake - Kunming Lake. Summer Palace is mainly comprised of Longevity Hill (Washoushan) and Kunming Lake. Much of the park is covered by Kunming Lake.
Temple of Heaven ( Tiantan )
Situated in the southern Beijing City, Temple of Heaven is one of the real highlights of Beijing. It worked as sacrificial compound buildings for the Ming and Qing emperors and since then it has been one of the most sacred sites for the whole country for the past five centuries. It boasts of the largest sacrificial place in Beijing among a few imperial altars to Heaven, Earth, the Sun, the Moon and super natures. What's the intriguing by-production of the temple is that if you enter the Temple of Heaven in the early morning, you can find many people doing all types of kung fu and taiji and other morning exercises. Furthermore, many people happily play each other with music, songs or cards. You can also join them if you want. The most highliht part of the temple is the unique century-old trees - row upon row of Chinese cypress, Chinese juniper and scholar trees etc. Some of the cypresses are over 600 years old!
Ming Tombs (13 tombs in Ming Dynasty)
Located 50 kilometers northwest of the downtown Beijing, noted as the 13 Tombs, this is the burial area of 13 out of 17 emperors of the Ming Dynasty from 1368 to 1644. At present there are only two tombs which have been dug and open to the public: Dingling Tomb and Changling Tomb of which Changling Tomb is the first one to be excavated. It took two years for the digging and restoration, and was opened in 1958. Dingling has been excavated so completely that people now have to go into the burial chamber itself.
Hutong Pedicab Tour ( Shichahai Area )
In today's well preserved old Beijing hutong areas, you can still find this kind of old transportation tool kept for tourists as the typical traffic tool of travelling the hutong - Beijing featuring old city alleys. The neighborhoods of narrow, twisting streets represent the real life of ordinary Beijingers, where passageways - small narrow ways link to courtyards of traditional connected homes. Rickshaw tours of the hutongs consist of the sites that normally include the Drum Tower, courtyard neighborhoods and Prince Gong's Building. There are many small restaurants, bars and inns. Ascending the top of the Bell Tower you can have a bird's eye view of the surrounding hutongs. The most intriguing part of the hutong travel is wandering through "Pipe Tobacco Alley" close to the Bell Tower. In the "Pipe Tobacco Alley", you will feel you are back to the years of old Beijing.
Lama Temple (Yonghegong)
Lama Temple is Beijing's most frequented religious place comprised of five main halls and many galleries. This temple was first the palace offered to a prince and when he gained the throne, he offered it to the Tibetan Buddhists as the religious sacred place. The temple has a valuable relic: the biggest Buddha statue carved from a single tree. The statue is huge with three stories up and about nine feet across. The Lama Temple is dedicated to the Yellow Sect of Buddhism. It is actually an active temple, with many faithful believers with burning armloads of incense.
Beihai Park (Winter Palace)
Located just to the north-west of Forbidden City, Beihai Park was once a winter palace for emperors in the past. Among many things to see, there are now two important things not to be missed here: the park itself and the round city. The round city has a jar, which is believed to be the only thing left from the great Khan that reigned China in Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368 A.D). You can hire a rowboat and row the boat on the water. The interesting attractions in Beihai Park are Round City, White Pagoda, Jade Flower Island, Nine-Dragon Wall, Wanfo Lou Tower, Iron Screen etc. The lake is Beijing's biggest and prettiest public lake.
Beijing Capital Museum
A trip to Beijing City is not complete without visiting its museums. There are a great number of museums dotting around the city. If you don't have much time available in Beijing, you can focus your museum tour to Beijing Capital Museum. Beijing's new Capital Museum is now open to the public, located on Fuxingmenwai Dajie, the western part of Beijing's Chang'an Jie. The museum is a five-storey mansion, catering for a maximum of 13 concurrent exhibitions, which can be seen in about 5 hours at the cost of 30 yuan per visitor.