What to See in Beijing (China)

By | July 9, 2022

According to ITYPEMBA, Beijing is the capital, political and cultural center of China. The city is known all over the world for its long history of 3000 years and rich cultural heritage. In the modern world, Beijing has become one of the main tourist centers, where many tourists from all over the world flock all year round. A huge number of buildings of Old China have been preserved in the capital, among which several particularly striking ones can be distinguished.

The Imperial Palace, also known as the Forbidden City, is located in the center of Beijing. It was used by 24 emperors of two dynasties for over 500 years. It is the largest and best preserved imperial building complex in China.. It represents one of the highest achievements of traditional Chinese architecture and art from the Ming and Qing dynasties and has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The palace stretches 960 meters from north to south and 760 meters from west to east. It is built in a traditional style – its buildings are located symmetrically about the central axis and are surrounded by landscaped gardens. The complex can be divided into two parts – the southern one, where the courtiers were housed, and the northern one, occupied by the imperial family. In total, there are 980 buildings, among which the most notable are the Midday Gate (Umyn) and the Pavilion of Higher Harmony (Tatskhe-dian). The Noon Gate is the main one and serves as the southern entrance to the palace. The Pavilion of Supreme Harmony served as the throne room, where the most important matters were discussed. Almost around the Forbidden City are located old quarters or hutons. Merchants, artisans and merchants close to the emperor settled on these streets, who ensured the life of the imperial court. Incredibly narrow and intricate streets with one-story houses, often with a courtyard, have been preserved in the quarters, where a very soulful atmosphere reigns.

The Temple of Heaven was first built in 1420. The emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties used it to worship the sky. The temple covers an area of 273 hectares. In plan, it has a shape close to quadrangular, with the exception of the northeast and northwest corners, where the walls are semicircular. Such outlines of the temple reflect traditional Chinese ideas, according to which the sky is round and the earth is square. Beijing’s central square is Tiananmen Square. Covering an area of 44 hectares, it is the largest area in the world and can accommodate 1 million people. In the center of the square is a monument to the People’s Heroes. On the south side of the square is the Mao Zedong Memorial House, opened in August 1977; on the west is the People’s Congress House, and on the east is the China History Museum and the Chinese Revolution Museum. Every day at dawn and dusk on Tiananmen Square, a solemn ceremony of raising and lowering the national flag of the PRC is held. Another attraction of the square are two 10-meter marble columns, on top of which there is a dish for collecting dew. Also in the city center is Beihai park. It was an imperial garden during the reign of several dynasties. The splendor of Beihai was noted in his notes by the traveler Marco Polo. The area of Beihai Park is 68 hectares. More than half of its territory is occupied by a lake, in the center of which is the island of Qiondao. Above the island rises the lamaist pagoda – Bayta (White Pagoda), surrounded on all sides by pavilions and galleries connected to each other. The pagoda was built in 1651. Lamaist sutras and paraphernalia are stored inside it. Yonghegong Palace is located in the northeast part of the central district of Beijing. This is the most famous and largest lamaist monastery in Beijing.. The temple was built during the Qing Dynasty in 1694. Initially, the residence of Prince Shizong was located here. In 1725 the palace was renamed and turned into a lamaist monastery. The temple consists of five successively interconnected pavilions and three skillfully carved arched passages. The temple is erected in the XVIII century. A 26-meter statue of Buddha made from a huge solid trunk of sandalwood brought from the southern province of Yunnan.

The Beijing Zoo is famous for its large collection of rare animals, especially giant pandas. In the Qing era, the site of the zoo was the garden of one of the members of the imperial family. In 1908, for her own amusement, Empress Cixi organized a 1.4-hectare zoo, where more than 70 animals brought from Germany were collected.. It was the first zoo in the history of China. Now the Beijing Zoo contains more than 5,000 individuals of 570 species of animals.

In the northwestern neighborhood of Beijing is the Summer Palace with an imperial park.. The palace was built in 1750 by Emperor Qianlong. In 1886 it was destroyed by the British and French armies, and in 1886 it was rebuilt by the Guangxu Emperor. The palace complex is naturally divided into two parts by Longevity Hill, 1000 m long and 60 m high, and Kunming Lake, which occupies three quarters of the park. Most of the buildings are located on the northern shore of the lake. The Imperial Palace stands immediately behind the main entrance. Among its main attractions are the Long Gallery 728 m long with 273 spans, the octagonal Foxiangge building (Buddha’s Fragrance Pavilion), a Tibetan-style Buddhist temple, the Palace Market, Xicuan (Park of Harmony of Interests). In the southern part of the lake there is an islet of Nanhu, connected to the shore by a bridge of 17 arched spans, and near the northeastern part there is a ship carved from white marble.

The attractiveness of the appearance of the city is manifested not only in architecture, but in the surroundings of the city, replete with rivers and lakes, which gives it a peculiar flavor. Suburban areas cover a vast territory. To the east, west and north around Beijing lie endless mountains belonging to the Yanshan and Taihangshan ranges. The mountains surround the plain, through which the Yongdihe and Chaobaihe rivers flow.

50 km southwest of Beijing, in the village of Zhoukoudian, there is a Sinanthropus site, where in 1920 the skull of an ancient man was found. Traces of the synanthropus camp were found in a cave in Mount Loshan near the village. Later, evidence was found that ancient man could make simple tools and used fire. In total, the remains of more than 40 people of different ages of both sexes were found, as well as fragments of more than 100 thousand tools they used. In 1987, the site of the Beijing sinanthropus Zhoukoudian was included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. 13 tombs of the Ming emperors are located 50 km north of Beijing. Currently, two tombs are open for tourists: Changling and Dingling. Changlin is the oldest built here and the largest tomb. On both sides of the wide road, which begins at the monument to Emperor Chengzu, there are large stone sculptures of sacred animals and people. Tourists can also visit the underground palace.

The Great Wall of China is one of the largest and most elaborate building structures of all time. Access for tourists is possible only to the restored sections of the wall. There are 4 sites available from Beijing as part of a one-day tour:

1. At Mount Badaling (Badaling). It is located 76 km northwest of Beijing.. This site is the most commercialized and the most visited. This part of the wall has been practically rebuilt. It is here that most excursions from Beijing to the Great Wall of China depart. There are souvenir shops and restaurants here. For those who cannot climb steep stairs, a cable car leads up the wall. There are buses from Beijing to this place. You can also use the train or helicopter.

2. Section of the wall in Mutianyu – located 90 km northeast of Beijing. It is also well restored, but, unlike Badaling, there is a feeling of antiquity. The second most visited site. Buses also run here and there is a cable car.

3. Simatai and Jinshanling. The Jinshanling section merges into Simatai, so these two wall fragments can be combined into one. They are located 110 km northeast of Beijing. Due to the greatest remoteness from Beijing, these sites are less visited and commercialized, and therefore most of all have preserved the spirit of antiquity. The Simatai site has architectural features not found in other sites. For example, walls within walls. There is a cable car. This section is also the most difficult section of the wall to climb. Some rises have a slope of 70 degrees, and one of the sections of the wall is a cliff 500 meters high. Direct bus services from Beijing not here, but you can get there by taxi or tourist minibuses.

Beijing (China)