Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China, and also its second largest city. It is the political, educational and cultural centre of the country and as such it is rich in historical sites and important government and cultural institutions. There are hundreds of tourist attractions and historical sites in Beijing. Enjoy your stay in Beijing!
The Forbidden City (Also known as The Palace Museum)
The Forbidden City was the seat of Imperial power for 500 years, and is now a major tourist attraction in China. The total area of the complex is 183 acres, so it takes quite a while to walk through, especially if you want to have a close look at everything. All together there are 9,999 1/2 rooms in the Museum, not all of which can be visited. Consisting of over 9,000 rooms and spread over 250 acres, this large palace complex was built between 1406 and 1420, but was burnt down, rebuilt, sacked and renovated countless times, so most of the architecture you can see today dates from the 18th century and on wards during the Qing Dynasty.
Tiananmen Square is the heart and symbol of Beijing and is the biggest square in the world. Tiananmen (Gate of Heaven Peace), which is on the north of the square, is originally the frontispiece of the imperial city of Ming and Qing Dynasties, constructed in the fifteenth year of Ming Yong Le. Tiananmen Square is surrounded by Tiananmen (Gate of Heaven Peace) on its north; the Great Hall of the People on its west, the meeting place of national people's congress of the People's Republic of China; on the east of Tiananmen Square is the National Museum of China, and visiting the exhibition is like reading concise China General History; there are Monument to the People's Heroes and Chairman Mao's Mausoleum on the south.
Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven ( Tiantan ) is located in the southern part of Beijing, and has been one of the most holy places for the whole country for more than five centuries. It used as a complex of sacrificial buildings for the Ming and Qing emperors, and is the largest one in Beijing among several royal altars to Heaven, Earth, the Sun, the Moon and other deities or symbolic forces of Nature. It was built in 1420 for emperors to worship Heaven. The principle buildings include the Altar of Prayer for Good Harvests, Imperial Vault of Heaven and Circular Mound Altar.
Situated in the Haidian District northwest of Beijing City, the Summer Palace is 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from central Beijing. Being the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China, it greatly influences Chinese horticulture and landscape with its famous natural views and cultural interests, which also has long since been recognized as 'The Museum of Royal Gardens'. The Summer Palace radiates fully the natural beauty and the grandeur of royal gardens. There are over 3,000 man-made ancient structures which count building space of more than 70,000 square meters, including pavilions, towers, bridges, corridors, etc. It can be divided into four parts: the Court Area, Front Hill Area, Rear Hill Area and Lake Area.
The Great Wall snaking across Beijing in its northern part is about 600 kilometers long. Along the total length of the Great Wall around Beijing, there are major eight sections including Badaling, Juyongguan, Huanghuacheng, Jiankou, Mutianyu, Gubeikou, Jinshanling, and Simatai. Most of the sections of Great Wall in Beijing are well-preserved and mainly the remains from the Ming Dynasty, an era of huge construction. If you are in a rush, you can get the most out of your visit to Beijing by hiking one of the sections of the Great Wall.
People say that the real culture of Beijing is "the culture of hutong" and "the culture of courtyard". Often, they attract tourists from home and abroad rather than the high-rise buildings and large mansions. In the old Beijing hutong areas, you can find the ancient transportation tools now still preserved for tourists as the main traffic tool of visiting hutongs - Beijing unique old city lanes. The neighborhoods of narrow, twisting streets represent the “real life” of Beijing, where passageways connect to courtyards of traditional compact homes. There are lots of many small resturants, bars, and inns.