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The venerated Chinese history has strewn the land of Beijing with sites of cultural and historical interest. Some of them, such as the Great Wall, Former imperial Palace, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, and the ruins of Peking Man at Zhoukoudian, are UNESCO-endorsed world cultural heritage sites. Imperial palaces, mansions, gardens and tombs are epitomes of classical Chinese architecture.

Among the massive number of ancient buildings that have remained to this day are quite a few Buddhist monasteries, Taoist temples and Catholic churches, such as Yonghegong Lamasery and Big Bell Temple. There are 120 museums worth seeing,

China - Beijing

including Museum of Chinese History and China Art Gallery. Over 100 gardens are open to the public. As behooves an international metropolis, Beijing's skyline looks splendid with a jungle of tall buildings in varied and distinct styles. Chinese Ethnic Culture Park and Central TV Tower are among Beijing's recent crop of landmarks. You will not be disappointed if you have time to spare for a visit to the suburbs, where the scenery holds forth the fascination of sequestered repose and unperturbed serenity.


Tian'an men Square


Large enough to hold 1 million people, the 440,000-square-metre Tian'anmen Square in the center of Beijing is the world's largest city square, where sunrises and sunsets are observed solemnly with national flag hoisting and lowering ceremonies. Tian'an men Gate on the northern edge of the square sued to be the front gate of the Ming and Qing Imperial Palace. The rostrum atop the gate, where national leaders review mass rallies or gala celebrations on important occasions, is open to tourists. The Monument to the People's Heroes stands in the center of the square. Behind Zhengyang Gate to the south sprawls Mao Zedong Memorial Hall; to the east is the complex which houses the Museum of Chinese Revolution and the Museum of Chinese History. The Great hall of the People stands on the western side. The night scene of Tian'anmen Square is definitely a MUST for any visitor to Beijing.


Tian'an men Square

Former Imperial Palace


The 720,000-square-metre Palace Mueum, better known as "Forbidden City", was the imperial palace for the Ming and Qing. Built during the 1406-1420 period, it is the largest royal palatial complex in existence in China; ranging from the majestic to the exquisite, they bear witness to a nation in transition. Other tourist attractions on the premises include a huge stone ramp carved with intricate dragon and cloud patterns, Imperial Garden and Nine-Dragon Screen Wall. An immense trove of cultural artifacts and treasures of various dynasties, some of them on display in the Treasure Hall and the ceramics, painting, bronze ware galleries, are reason enough for UNESCO to adopt the Former Imperial Palace as a world cultural heritage site.


Temple of Heaven


China's largest temple and altar are found in Temple of Heaven, part of a 273 hectare park in Chongwen District today. Built in 1420, it was where Ming and Qing monarchs prayed for good harvests. Major structures are hall of Prayer for good Harvest, Imperial Vault of Heaven, Circular Altar, and Abstinence Palace. UNESCO endorsed Temple of Heaven as a world cultural heritage site in December 1998.


Beihai Park


Beihai Park, situated to the northwest of Palace Museum, is a typical imperial garden dating back to more than 800 years ago. Buildings are clustered around the famed White Pagoda on Qionghua (Jasper Flower) Island on the lake in the park's bosom. The island provides a vantage point for observing the landscape of Beijing. Major attractions are Circular City, Painted Boat Studio, Studio of the Tranquil Heart, Nine-Dragon Screen Wall and Five-Dragon Pavilions.


Great Wall


As an emblem of Chinese civilization, a cultural phenomenon of world caliber, and another UNESCO=endorsed world cultural heritage site, the 6350km Great Wall was in China's feudal years a mammoth defense bulwark that serpentines its way across mountains and valleys in the northern part of the country. The Great Wall came under construction in the 7th century BC. But it was Qinshihuang, the founding emperor of the Qin, who brought it to completion. Repeated extensions were done in later dynasties until the Ming. The 600-year-old Badaling Fortification in Yanqing county in northwest Beijing is representative of Ming sections of the Great Wall. The Great Wall looks equally breathtaking at such sections as Jinshanling, Mutianyu and Simatai.

Summer Palace


The Summer Palace (Yiheyuan) in the northwestern suburb of Beijing was built in 1750. by far the best-preserved imperial garden in China, it was endorsed by the UNESCO in 1998 as a world cultural heritage site.

Summer Palace

 As a paragon of Chinese gardens, this huge garden includes Longevity Hill, whose beauty is set off by a multitude of halls, kiosks and trees, and Kunming Lake, a huge body of liquid silver. Major tourist attractions are Tower of Buddhist Incense, 17-Span Bridge, Long Gallery, Cloud Dispelling Hall, Marble Boat, Beamless Hall, Garden of Harmonious Delights, the theatre in the Garden of Moral Harmony, and Suzhou Street. The entire place is a de facto museum of China's classical architecture. Housed in these buildings are an immense collection of treasures and cultural artifacts.


Thirteen Ming Tombs


The Ming Tombs are scattered over an area 40km in circumference in Changping County. Thirteen Ming emperors who ruled China after they moved the capital from Nanjing to Beijing were buried there. The largest is the Changling, built in 1413 for the remains for Zhu Di or Emperor Chengzu. Burial objects are on display from the underground palace of the Dingling, the tomb of the last Ming emperor, Zhu Yijun, and his two empresses. The Holy Way leading to the Ming Tombs is flanked on both sides by 30-odd men and horses and other animals carved in graphic images out of massive boulders. In terms of size, this group of stone sculptures is rare anywhere in China.

Yonghegong Lamasery


Yonghegong (Palace of Harmony and Peace) in Eastern District had been the mansion of Emperor Yongzheng during his days as the crown prince. After he ascended the throne he had it converted into a lamasery, which has remained as such to this day. Influences of Han, Manchurian, Mongolian and Tibetan architecture are palpable in this complex that consists of three finely crafted archways and five imposing halls laid out tastefully over an area of 66,400 square meters. Among the treasures in these halls is a 26-metre-tall statue of Maitreya (the Smiling Buddha), which is carved out of a single sandalwood trunk.


Beijing Zoo

The largest of its kind in China, the 90-hectare Beijing Zoo is home to 4,000 or so animals in 640 species, quite a few of them from other parts of the world. Among the endangered species are the giant panda, golden-haired monkey, northeast China tiger, antelope, black-necked crane and white-lipped deer, Beijing Aquarium in the zoo is billed as the world's largest continental oceanic aquarium-there are more than 10,000 sea creatures in it.


Tour of Hutongs


Hutong s are back alleys where old traditions remain very much alive and kicking. There are about 4,550 of them in Beijing, ubiquitous in these hutongs are quadrangle dwellings. Close by prince Gong's Mansion are some of Beijing's best-preserved hutongs. Touring these hutongs by the traditional pedicab is a special travel program of Beijing.


Prince Gong's Mansion


Situated in Liuyin Street in the Scenic neighborhood of Shishahai, Prince Gong's Mansion is the best preserved of all princely mansions of the Qing in Beijing. Attached to the rear of this pompous mansion is a serene garden with well-manicured lawns. A theatre stands on the premises, where traditional ballad-singing and story-telling performances are given every day.


Zhoukoudian-Home of Peking Man


An abundance of paleo-fossils has been unearthed along with ruins of the world's earliest fire-using primitive man, Peking Man, at Zhoukoudian in Fangshan District of Beijing, None of these finds, however, are more important than the fossils of Peking Man and Upper Cave Man and more than 10,000 stone tools, which qualify Zhoukoudian as a world cultural heritage site. A Peking Man exhibition on the spot is visited everyday by tourists from both at home and abroad.


Other Attraction in Beijing


Working People's Palace of Culture


Centrally located in Beijng, the predecessor of the Working People's Palace of Culture was built in 1420 as the Supreme Ancestral Temple for Ming and Qing emperors. Three magnificent halls constitute the palace's architectural centerpieces.


Ruins of Yuanmingyuan


Yuanmingyuan, or Garden of Perfection and Brightness, was built in 1709 as a Qing imperial garden. During its heyday, it was extolled as the "Garden of Gardens", a title it well deserved for it was a vast assemblage of gardens and landscaping feats.

Other Attraction in Beijing

The unprecedented size and grandeur of Yuanmingyuan, however, are no more-it was ransacked and burned down by the Anglo French joint force in 1860. The remaining buildings were sacked once more by the allied forces of the Eight Powers in 1900. The ruins are preserved today and opened to tourists.


Zhongshan Park


Built in 1421, Zhongshan (Sun Yatsen) Park west of Tian'anmen Gate Tower was the site of the Altar to Gods of Earth and Grain During the Ming and Qing. Tucked away under rich foliage of ancient trees are the main hall, ancillary buildings, and an altar.


Lugou Bridge


The 260-metre-long Lugou (Reed Gully) Bridge in Fengtai District, known among Westerners as Marco Polo Bridge, is a famous ancient bridge built in 1189. What is most fascinating about the bridge is the 492 big and small lions carved in unsurpassed craftsmanship into the capitals of balustrade columns.


Jingshan Park


Facing Palace Museum's Gate of Divine Valour across a street, the Jingshan Park was an imperial garden during the Ming and Qing. The Jingshan Hill, situated on the meridian line of the city of Beijing, Provides a panoramic view of the capital.


Xiangshan Park


Lying in the northwest suburb of Beijing, Xiangshan (Fragrance Hill) Park was an imperial garden during the Qing. The peak of the hill, known as lncense Burner Hill, stands 557 metres above sea level. The park, one of the most picturesque spots of Beijing, looks its seasonal best in autumn, when the entire place is dyed crimson by maple leaves.




Beijing botanical Garden

No botanical garden in north China matches the one in the national capital in size and variety. Sprawling at the foot of the Fragrance Hill in the northwestern suburb of
Beijing, the Beijing Botanical Garden is home to 4,500 kinds of plants that are on display in nearly 20 exhibition zones, including a Peony Garden and a Lilac Garden.


World Park

This colossal theme park in Fengtai District is an assemblage of the scaled-down replicas of 106 reknowned scenes and sights from 30 countries around the world.


CCTV Tower

Equipped with high-tech recreational facilities, the 405-metre-high CCTV Tower in Haidian District enables visitors to feast their eyes on an all-encapsulating view of Beijing. Beneath the tower is Beijing's second aquarium, the Pacific Undersea World Exhibition

CCTV Tower


Beijing Amusement Park

The Beijing Amusement Park in Chaoyang District is a large facility with such facilities as a rollacoaster, pirate boats and sightseeing trains.

Beijing Fuguo Undersea World

This is another large, modern aquarium in Beijing which is in the possession of 6,000 tropical sea fishes in nearly 100 breeds and Asia's longest underwater tunnel (120 meters).


Old Beijing Miniature Candscapes

The city wall, shops, hutongs, teahouses and other scenes associated with life in 15th-century
Beijing are recaptured in a collection of miniature structures in this theme park in Changping County, Beijing.


Grand View Garden

The Grand View Garden in Xuanxu District is one of a series of imitation ancient gardens built in
Beijing in recent years by drawing inspirations from narrations in the classical Chinese novel A Dream of Red Mansions.


Minghuang Waxwork Museum

The Minghuang Waxwork Museum in Changping County is designed to capture life behind the vermilion walls of the Ming imperial palace by combining consummate waxwork art with modern audiovisual, acoustic and lighting techniques.


Chinese Ethnic Culture Park

The varied lifestyles of China's 56 ethnic peoples are captured in the
Chinese Ethnic Culture Park near the Olympic Sports Centre in Haidian District. Life size replicas of villages of such ethnic groups as the Tibetan, Dong, Miao, Korean and Dai have been built in this park, where folk singing and dancing are performed and scenes of production and daily life relived on a daily basis.