Beijing, capital of the People's Republic of China, is the nation's political, economic, cultural, educational and international trade and communication center. Beijing now also serves as the most important transportation hub and port of entry in northern China. Beijing is one of the six ancient cities in China and has been the heart and soul of politics and society throughout its long history. Consequently, there is an unparalleled wealth of discovery to delight and intrigue travelers as they explore the city's ancient past and exciting modern development. Now Beijing has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with about 140 million Chinese tourists and 4.4 million international visitors in a year.
Beijing is the main transportation hub of northern China. Frequent flights, modern roads, and high speed railway systems make it easy for visitors to reach Beijing. Crisscross roads make the urban transportation generally fast and convenient; however, you may encounter traffic jam sometimes due to more than 5 million vehicles that the city owns. It is also a great walking city ranging from wide boulevards like Wangfujing to the narrow alleyways of the ancient Hutong district.
Well known dishes of Beijing include the Roast Duck and the Imperial Court Food. Nowhere else on earth will you find such a variety of gourmet restaurants offering the very best of Chinese and western dishes. Beijing is truly a shopper's paradise. The most famous and popular shopping destinations are the Yansha and Guomao Shopping Malls, Xidan Street and streets near Tiananmen Square such as the Wangfujing and Qianmen Streets. Nighttime in Beijing can hold other surprises for you. These can vary from traditional performances such as the Beijing opera, acrobatics and martial arts to modern ones like concerts, pubs and clubs. Tianqiao Area and Laoshe Teahouse are good venues for tourists to enjoy Chinese folk culture; while Sanlitun Bar Street and the nearby embassy area is an ideal choice if you are a party-loving night owl.
The Great Wall, one of the greatest wonders of the world, winds up and down across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, stretching approximately 8,851.8 kilometers (5,500 miles) from east to west of China. With a history of more than 2000 years, some of the sections are now in ruins or have disappeared. Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century BC; these, later joined together and made bigger and stronger, are now collectively referred to as the Great Wall. Especially famous is the wall built between 220-206 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. Little of that wall remains. Since then, the Great Wall has on and off been rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced; the majority of the existing wall is from the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644).
The Great Wall 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 in part to protect the Chinese Empire or its prototypical states against intrusions by various nomadic groups or military incursions by various warlike peoples or forces. The Great Wall is one of the most appealing attractions all around the world owing to its architectural grandeur and historical significance.
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace for twenty-four emperors during the Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644) and the Qing dynasty (1644 - 1912). It was first built throughout 14 years (1406 - 1420) during the reign of Emperor Chengzu in the Ming Dynasty. Ancient Chinese Astronomers believed that the Purple Star (Polaris) was in the center of heaven and the Heavenly Emperor lived in the Purple Palace. The Palace for the emperor on earth was so called the Purple City. It was forbidden to enter without special permission of the empeor. Hence its name 'The Purple Forbidden City', usually 'The Forbidden City'. For almost 500 years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government.
Located in the center of Beijing, China, the Forbidden City consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 ha (180 acres). It exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is listed by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.
Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven is a complex of religious buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing. Originally, this was the place where emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) held the Heaven Worship Ceremony. It is China's largest and most representative existing masterpiece among Chinas ancient sacrificial buildings. First built in 1420, the 18th year of the reign of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), it was enlarged and rebuilt during the reigns of the Ming emperor Jiajing and the Qing emperor Qianlong. In 1988, the Temple of Heaven was opened to the public as a park, showing ancient philosophy, history and religion. Its grand architectural style and profound cultural connotation give an insight into the practices of the ancient Eastern civilization.
The Summer Palace is a vast ensemble of lakes, gardens and palaces in Beijing, China. Its construction started in 1750 as a luxurious royal garden for royal families to rest and entertain. It later became the main residence of royal members in the end of the Qing Dynasty. The Summer Palace has suffered two major destructive attacks. First by the British and French during the Anglo-French allied invasion in 1860 and second by the eight allied powers in 1900. The garden was torched and mostly destroyed. Most of the artifacts within were split among the eight allied nations. The Palace has been under restoration since its destruction. The main obstacle of the restoration is the lack of original blueprints.
The Summer Palace radiates fully the natural beauty and the grandeur of royal gardens. Composed mainly of Longevity Hill (Wanshou Shan) and Kunming Lake, it occupies an area of 300.59 hectares (742.8 acres). 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. 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'.
National Stadium (Bird's Nest)
Affectionately known as Bird's Nest, it is situated in Olympic Green Village, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China. It was designed as the main stadium of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The Olympic events of track and field, football, gavelock, weight throw and discus were held there. Since October 2008 after the Olympics ended, it has been opened as a tourist attraction. Now, it's the center of international or domestic sports competition and recreation activities.
The design of this large stadium was accomplished together by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron and Chinese architect Li Xinggang and the others. The designers didn't do any redundant disposals to the look of the stadium. They just exposed the steel structures entirely and let them become the most natural appearance. The form of the stadium looks like a big nest which embraces and nurses human beings. Also it looks rather like a cradle bearing human beings' hope of the future.
Beijing in Wikipedia
The below links may provide more information about Beijing.
- Attractions of Beijing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Beijing_landmarks
- Beijing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beijing