According to Countryaah, Beijing is the capital of China and represents both Chinese modernity and history. Beijing’s countless beautiful and fascinating attractions tell of the incredible history of ancient China.
Examples of Beijing’s most interesting destinations include:
Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City
Tiananmen Square is a large square in the center of Beijing, especially commemorated by the 1989 protests. Today, life in the square is less dramatic.
The square is said to be large enough for a gathering place of as many as a million people. People gather in the square in the morning and evening to watch the rise and fall of the Chinese flag. There are several attractions in the square. For example, you can visit the mausoleum of Mao Zedong, where the embalmed body of a former Chinese leader still rests.
To the north of Tiananmen Square is the entrance to the Imperial Palace area, the Forbidden City.
The palace is reminiscent of the heyday of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Ming and Qing emperors ruled the “Middle Kingdom” from this magnificent monument from 1420 until 1911, when the last dynasty was overthrown.
The palace was intended only for the use of the emperor, his family, and senior officials, and intrusion into the palace area resulted in the death penalty. This is why the palace area got its name “Forbidden City”.
The Forbidden City is one of the best preserved and most beautiful palaces in China. The palace is said to consist of as many as 9999 rooms. The number of rooms was deliberately limited to less than a thousand because there were believed to be a thousand rooms in heaven, and the emperor was feared to run into trouble with the gods if he dared to seek similar glory on earth.
Today, the entrance to the palace grounds is adorned with a portrait of the great President Mao, and the palace itself has been converted into a huge museum where you can see imperial buildings, throne halls and majestic gardens.
The great wall of China
The Great Wall of China runs north of Beijing and extends from the Yellow Sea in the east over the mountains to the vast Gobi Desert in the west.
The wall, which consists of several different walls of reality, is a unique gem of architecture and is considered one of the most impressive architectural achievements in world history. The Great Wall of China was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang united the country in 221 BC. and founded the first dynasty. The separate smaller walls previously built by order of the emperor were merged into a single defensive wall against the northern Mongols. Many later dynasties continued to build the wall for more or less hundreds of years, until during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) the wall took its present form.
Today, the huge wall is largely ruined, but a lot of time and resources have been spent restoring certain sections.
Mutianyu is one of the best preserved parts of the wall. Here, the wall meanders along the mountain ridge, and can be reached either by walking or along the cable car by gondola lift. The scenery from the wall is breathtakingly beautiful.
Beijing has several beautiful parks and recreation areas that serve as green oases amidst the hustle and bustle of the big city.
One of the most famous is the Temple of Heaven Park in eastern Beijing. The emperor and his court traveled here once a year, e.g. to sacrifice to the God of heaven and to pray for success in the harvest in the temple of heaven. At that time, a poor harvest could mean the extinction of the entire dynasty.
Beihai Park, located west of the Forbidden City, is one of the best-preserved imperial gardens. In the middle of the park on the top of a small hill stands a beautiful white pagoda, which is a symbol of the whole park. Lake Beihai covers a large part of the park area.
To the north of the Forbidden City is the Imperial Jingshan Park. The hill rising in the middle of the park is built entirely of muscle power, and from its top the Imperial Army was once able to keep an eye on enemies coming from the north. Jingshan Hill is the highest point in all of Beijing, and in clear weather offers spectacular views over the Forbidden City from its top.
Beijing’s parks are definitely worth a visit. In the parks you can see local taiji enthusiasts, singers, dancers and mahjong players. In the parks you can see a glimpse especially of the life of the older generation in the city.
Other experiences in Beijing:
Beijing has a huge amount to see and do for many days. Our tours include the following destinations:
- A short distance outside Beijing is the picturesque, UNESCO-protected Summer Palace, an imperial park on the shores of Kunming Lake. During the Qing Dynasty, Emperor Hovi spent much of the year here. Attractions in the Summer Palace include beautiful temples, gardens and, of course, a lake that freezes in winter so that it is possible to walk on it.
- The city is fascinating with hutongs that are worth exploring on a rickshaw ride. Hutongs are old blocks with narrow Chinese-style streets and alleys. While many hutongs have disappeared in recent decades, some have been refurbished into trendy shopping streets. One example of these is Nanluoguxian, which is full of charming cafes, bars and small shops selling e.g. clothing and arts and crafts.
- Beijing offers countless culinary experiences. For example, try Peking duck, which is a local specialty. The tender duck meat with its crispy skins is cut into thin slices on the table and eaten with small pancakes, spring onions and a delicious sauce.