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Beijing attractions and tours

No matter what you are looking for as a tourist, Beijing has it all. When you are planning to go sightseeing, Beijing has a lot to offer concerning cultural, historical and modern aspects. Beijing is the cultural and political centre of the People’s Republic of China. You will have a chance to visit the most popular places, including Beijing's highlights the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.

Next to this you will have a chance to see the Olympic stations. Whether you are a very active tourist or a tourist who enjoys the peace and quiet, there are various places to explore. It is possible to have an active day while climbing the Great Wall, go shopping in Wangfujing and bargain in Silk Street. It is also possible to spend a day in one of Beijing’s museums, enjoy the beauty of the Summer palace or sit near the Kunming Lake. Below you can find a list of Beijing’s most popular highlights. If you are planning to pay a visit to this beautiful city and are looking for hotels in Beijing, Studios92.com can provide you with the optimal accommodation!

Sightseeing

The Great Wall

Beijing Great WallOne of Beijing’s most precious cultural relics is the Great Wall of China. The Wall is over 4,160 miles long and consists out of stone and earth. The Wall was built to protect the northern borders from attacks during the successive dynasties. After this, other parts were built but also suffered destruction. During several dynasties, the parts had their own purpose. Today little remains of some parts of the Wall. Since there are many tourists, some parts of the Wall have been refurbished and some part preserved and are not open to public. When tourist are planning to go sightseeing, there are several places they can go to. An example of a part of the Great Wall which is open for sightseeing is Simatai. Located in Miyun, Simatai is outside Beijing’s city centre and about a two hour drive. Simatai is well-known for its four characters, namely steepness, compactness, wonderfulness and comprehensiveness. This part of the Great Wall belongs to the Ming Dynasty. Simatai is devided into two parts, connected by a bridge over the valley. The part of the Wall also has well preserved watchtowers you can walk through. Next to the Simatai is a lake, consisting out of two springs called the ‘Mandarin Duck Springs’. The two lakes, with one being cold and one warm, join into one lake.

Forbidden City

Beijing Forbidden CityBeijing’s Forbidden City is the world’s largest palace. The traditional palace covers 720,000 square metres and consists out of 980 buildings with 8,707 rooms. In order to build this immense construction, it took more than a million workers. In China, the Forbidden City is commonly known as Gugong, which means ‘Former Palace’. The Forbidden City is divided into two parts: the Outer Court (or Front Court) which includes the southern sections and the Inner Court (Back Palace), including the northern sections. It was here were the 24 emperors lived in their imperial Palace. With the foundation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Forbidden City suffered some damage. Today it has a Palace Museum and is located in the centre of Beijing. Due to its unique architecture and culture, the Forbidden City was declared a ‘World Heritage Site’ by UNESCO in 1987. If you are visiting Beijing, going to the Forbidding City is a great way to experience an important part of the Chinese culture.

Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven was built in 1406 to 1420. Next to this, there are three other temples, called the Temple of Sun, the Temple of Earth and the Temple of Moon. From 1998 on, The Temple of Heaven is also a World Heritage Site because of its architecture and landscape design. Since its existence it has been renovated several times, including a 4.7 million pounds restoration in 2005 in favour of the Olympics in 2008. The Temple of Heaven is a complex of Taoist buildings. The Temple has several areas, including the hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound Altar. The Temple of Heaven has a typical construction. The square and surrounding walls represent earth, the circle implies heaven. It symbolizes the connection between heaven and earth. The number nine is also very important, representing the Emperor and it is also visible in the construction of the Temple. Today, the Temple of Heaven is also well-known for its park. The park is very popular among Chinese as well as foreigners to practise all kinds of sports.

Summer Palace

Beijing Summer PalaceServing as a summer resort for the Empress in the past, this palace covers an area of 2.9 square kilometres of which 2.2 square kilometres is the Kunming Lake. Its name literally means ‘Gardens of Nurtured Harmony’. The palace suffered some attacks, but the garden survived and was rebuilt. It consists out of several palaces, gardens, pavilions, halls, temples and bridges. The Summer Palace was put on the World Heritage List in December 1998, because of its exquisite landscape garden design. The Summer Palace is a popular tourist destination as well as a recreational park. Traveling to the palace is very convenient, since it is close to the 3rd, 4th and 5th Ring Road and reachable by public transportation.

Old Summer Palace

Beijing Old Summer PalaceAlso known as the Gardens of Perfect Brightness or the Imperial Gardens, the Old Summer Palace is a complex of palaces and gardens. It was built in the 18th and 19th century and situated close to Beijing. It has a wide range of gardens and building architectures, covering 865 acres. Even though a lot of the palace has been destroyed during the years, there are a lot of interesting ruins. The old Summer Palace consists out of three gardens: the Garden of Perfect Brightness, the Garden of Eternal Spring and the Elegant Spring Garden. The palace contains halls, pavilions, temples, galleries, gardens, lakes and much more. There are also some reproductions of China's famous landscapes. The remaining structures of the Old Summer Palace are sometimes associated with European-style palaces. However, 95% of the former Old Summer Palace was essentially made up of Chinese-style buildings. The exact address of the Summer Palace is 28 Qinghua West Road, Beijing, 100084.

Ming Tombs

There are 13 Ming Tombs, one for every emperor in the Ming Dynasty. The tombs are situated 50 kilometres north of Beijing. The tombs of the first two Ming Emperors are situated near Nanjing. The place of the Ming Tombs was chosen because of its Feng Shui, containing a quiet valley and tranquil water.

Tiananmen Square

Beijing Tiananmen SquareThis is an immense square, situated in front of the Forbidden City. It is the largest open square of the world and a place where many important events in Chinese history took place. Built in de 1420s, the square dates back to the Ming Dynasty and covers 40.5 hectares. However, the gate got destroyed during heavy fighting. In 1651, the square was originally designed and cemented over in 1958. The Tiananmen is a ceremonial gateway of origin. Today the square is a popular tourist destination and is sometimes being used as a massive gathering place. The square is being monitored by the government. Near the square there are several important highlights, namely the 38-metre high Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, the Great Hall of the People and the National Museum of China. Between Tiananmen and the square lies Chang’an Avenue, a street used for parades.

Wangfujing

Beijing WangfujingWangfujing is the famous shopping street of Beijing, located in Beijing Dongcheng District. A lot of important buildings are located in Wangfujing, for example the Beijing Hotel, Xinhua Bookstore, Beijing Department Store and Beijing Foreign Languages Bookstore. Even though it looks quite modern, wangfujing is part of the four traditional down-town areas of Beijing. The other areas include for example Xidan and Liulichang. No matter what you are searching for, you will be able to find it in one of the many shops, offering various products and brands. The street is closed for traffic, only cabs are allowed in the beginning of the street. Wangfujing also boasts a snackstreet with exotic street food like cockroaches and scorpions. The street is very popular among foreigners and the food is rather expensive. However, the street also has restaurants serving regular food, fruit, kebab, small shops and much more. Wangfujing is easy to reach since it has its own 'Wangfujing' stop on the Beijing Subway line 1.

Silk street

Another famous shopping area of Beijing is silk street. It was opened on 19th March in 2005. This shopping centre has over 1,700 retail vendors and 3,000 salespeople offering a wide range of products including silk, clothes, handicrafts, Chinese art, jewellery, paintings and much more. The store consists out of seven floors with three levels. The prices of brands are relatively low. It is also possible to have a drink or go eat something in one of the many restaurants, like Quanjude Peking Roast Duck restaurant, Subway or SPR Coffee. Silk street is located east of Tiananmen Square, 8 East Xiushui Street, Jianguomen Wai Dajie.

Beijing Hutongs

Beijing is becoming modern but there are still sights which are traditional. Even though the number is dropping since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, there are still a few hutongs. Hutongs are areas, often outside the city centre, which consist of narrow streets or alleys. They are typical neighbourhoods, formed by traditional courtyard residences. In ancient China they were also used as the lowest level division. Some of these hutongs are now protected areas are preserved as a part of the Chinese cultural history. A lot of hutongs run from east to west in order to get better lighting. When you are visiting Beijing, it is worth wile having a look at the important culture element of Beijing city.

Beijing Underground City

This city was built by more than 300,000 citizens and officially opened in the year 2000. Even though it is popular among foreign tourists, many of the Chinese people either don’t seem to know about the city or forget about it. The entrances to the city are not that visible, since they are situated in small streets with regular doors. There used to be 90 entrances to the complex, hidden in shops. Some of the entrances are: 44 Xingfu Dajie Beijing Qianmen Carpet Factory or 18 Dazhalanjie in Qianmen.

The network of tunnels was built in the 1970s because of the nuclear war with the Soviet Union and served as a bomb shelter in the past, defending Beijing against military attacks. It was the plan to make sure that half of the population in Beijing was safe in the underground, and the other half would fled to the Western Hills. The area covers 85 square kilometres and inside the complex there are tunnels and chambers. The exact path of the complex is yet unsure. There are rumours beneath which areas it would be, like Tiananmen Square and Xidan, but this has never been officially mapped. The chambers all have their own function, like a cinema or hospital. There are also restaurants, schools, a warehouse and a farm in order to grow foods during the shelter. The complex used to be much bigger, but nowadays some parts have been transformed into hotels, shopping centres or a theatre. Even though the bomb shelter never met its goal, some parts are still being maintained by the government.

Buildings and structures

To get a grasp of the modern Chinese architecture, it is possible to visit several famous buildings and structures. One of the most famous new buildings is the CCTV Building. Since the Olympics more exquisite buildings were built, like the famous Birds Nest or the Beijing National Aquatics Centre

CCTV Building

This famous building was built in 2004 and finished in 2008. During the building of the complex, they created two parts which later were joined together. Because of the steel being used it was important to work during the night because of the cold temperature. The building is the headquarters of China Central Television. The building, with 51 floors, is 234 metres tall and covers 4,100,000 square feet. Because of the form of the building, it got the nickname ‘Big Pants’ (Chinese: à kùchǎ 大裤衩).

Birds Nest

Beijing Olympic stadionThe Birds Nest is also known as the National Stadium. This stadium was built in 2003 by 17,000 workers and opened in 2008 in favour of the Olympics. It was this stadium were the Opening and Closing Ceremonies took place. It is the world’s largest steel structure and has a unique structure, with an outward appearance similar to a birds nest. The building costed about 423 million dollars and was created by several architects. The building consists out of two structures, the seating bowl and the steel frame. These two structures are 50 feet apart from each other. The stadium has place for 80,000 people. In order to support the inner bowl they created 24 columns, each weighing 1,000 tons. Workers also created a system in order to heat up and cool down the stadium when needed during the seasons . Today, the stadium is used to attract tourism, and serves as a host for sports and entertainment events.

Beijing National Aquatics Centre

Beijing National Aquatics Centre is also known as the Beijing Bubble Building or the Water Cube. Its construction began in 2003, in order to host the swimming, diving and synchronized swimming competitions of the Olympics in 2008. The building covers 65,000 square meters and has a unique construction, containing a steel frame for the walls. 100,000 ‘pillows’ which are only eight one-thousandths inch thick are placed on the walls. This would make sure there is a lot of light inside the building.

Museums

Beijing has many museums, each with a different subject area. Some of the most well-known museums are Beijing Capital Museum, Museum of Chinese History and the Terra Cotta Army Museum.

Just like in other cities, Studios92 offers visitors in Beijing great accommodation deals, transportation and all kinds of information. For more information about accommodation in Beijing, feel free to submit an enquiry or contact Studios92.You can also visit the local government tourism website, providing more information about Beijing.

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