Enjoy a Grand Time in Beijing, China

By: Wolfgang Jaegel

The capital of the People's Republic of China, Beijing is a municipality directly under the control of the central government of China. Situated on the eastern coast of the country on the Pacific Ocean, with the Taihang Mountain to the north and the Yanshan Mountain to the west, Beijing is one of the largest metropolitan areas of trade and finance, and is the center of politics and international exchanges.

The city's history as the capital of the country dates back to more than 800 years, during the reign of Yuan Dynasty. Beijing is endowed with a variety of historical as well as awesome attractions, which are further mentioned in this article.

The greatest of all the attractions in Beijing is the Forbidden City, which is the most magnificent as well as splendid architectural palace complex in the country. Constructed between 1406 and 1420, the Forbidden City is also known as the Palace Museum, and is one among the top five palaces in the world.

Another remarkable attraction in the city is the Summer Palace, an amazing imperial palace that once served as the summer resort of the Qing Dynasty. The highlight of the palace is a royal garden, which stands as a stupendous example of imperial garden in classic Chinese style.

Beijing is also home to the Great Wall, the only man-made structure that is visible from the moon. Equally worth mentioning is such historical sites as the Temple of Haven, where according to legends, the Ming and Qing emperors carried out solemn rituals for plentiful harvests. Built in 1420, the temple is the largest of its kind in the country.

Top attractions in Beijing also include Beihai Park, an exquisite destination spread across more than 65 hectares of land, of which half of the area is occupied by water. One of the oldest Chinese gardens, the park once served as the imperial gardens of dynasties including Liao, Jin, Yuan, Ming, and Qing. The highlights of the park are categorized into four sections: Qionghua Islet, Circular City, the northern bank area, and the eastern bank area.

Occupying an area of about 40 sq mt is a group of mausoleums of 13 Ming emperors as well as their empresses, which are collectively referred to as the Ming Tombs. Of the Ming Tombs that are open to the public are Changling and Dingling, which in turn is an incredible underground palace. Beijing also has to its credit the world's largest city square - Tian'anmen Square, located in the center of city, covering an area of 400,000 sq km. The focal point of the square is a towering monument, which commemorates the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the welfare of the country.

Other top attractions in the region are the Sacred Way - the main road leading to the Ming Tombs; Lama Temple - the largest lamasery in the city; and Hutongs, which are a kind of lane lined by courtyards consisting of compound houses on either side.

No visit to Beijing would be complete with out taking a trip to such landmarks of the city as Ancient Cliff House, also known as Guyaju; Baiwangshan Forest Park, surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers; Beijing Aquarium within the Beijing Zoo; Beijing Botanical Garden, containing a rare species of plants and flowers; Memorial of Jiaozhuanghu Tunnel Warfare Site; Jiufeng National Forest Park; Shihua Cave, acknowledged as the 'Underground Pearl of Beijing;' and Zhangfang Ancient Battle Tunnel, which was erected during the reign of Emperor Song Zhenzong of the Northern Song Dynasty.

A good number of museums can also be found in the city, such as, Beijing Ancient Architecture Museum, China Printing Museum, Museum of Dabaotai Han Tomb, China Bee Museum, Xu Beihong Museum, and Museum of West Zhou Yandu Relics.

Beijing is a venue for a plethora of exciting festivals, including Lantern Festival, Beijing Spring Festival, and Longqing Gorge Lantern Festival. The city also hosts a range of international events like the International Entomological Conference and the Asian Games.

With these umpteen attractions, Beijing is visited by people year-round. Hence, Beijing comes with a variety of accommodation choices to cater to every taste and pocket. Many of the resorts and hotels are within easy reach of almost all attractions and facilities of the city. Some hotels even provide packages inclusive of accommodation, dining, and facilities for sightseeing.

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