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Beijing City Guide

beauty and prince gong mansion
A Beauty Wearing the Traditional Clothes
of Qing Dynasty in Prince Gong's Mansion
Beijing is an important political center of world powers. In China, Beijing is the center of Chinese education, culture, politics and tourism. Anyone planning to have a china travel cannot avoid this metropolis. Beijing is the first-class tourist destination of China with the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites throughout the world. Beijing used to be the capital of Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties with more than 3000 years of history as a city and more than 850 years of history as a national capital. In tourism industry, Beijing is the most important tourist city and most welcome leisure center.

Beijing Architecture and Legacy

The oriental architectural highlights are absolutely displayed in Beijing. A large number of great architectural complexes and projects were built in different period of history. These architecture and projects include Imperial Palace Complex, Imperial Garden Clusters, Exclusive Temples and Memorials, Imperial Mausoleums. The world-famous representatives are The Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Prince Gong’s Mansion, Ming Thirteen Tombs, Relic of Yuanming Garden (the site of the remainder after the burning by Anglo-France United Troop). Especially, the Forbidden City, which used to be the palace of 24 emperors of Ming and Qing Dynasties, is the essence of Chinese architectural culture. It thoroughly reveals the basic philosophy and aesthetics of traditional China

Apart from these imperial architectural complexes, the folk buildings also strongly feature the uniqueness. The typical local residences are Siheyuan and Hutong. Siheyuan looks like a square, and it is the representative building style of north Chinese people’s houses. Siheyuan building style was originated from Yuan Dynasty and the main folk residences of Beijing. Hutong actually is a narrow street, both of which are the buildings of Siheyuan, the whole architectural layout of Hutong is quite special and interesting.

Beijing is also the center of Buddhist temples, Taoist temples and Islamic mosques. The famous Buddhist temples include Fayuan Temple, Tanzhe Temple, Jietai Temple, Yunju Temple, Yonghegong Lamasery(雍和宫, Palace of Harmony and Peace, is a lama temple) and Badachu(八大处, a Buddhist building cluster comprised of eight temples) . The famous Taoist temple is Baiyunguan or White Cloud Taoist Temple. The Islamic temple is Ox Street Mosque. The famous catholic churches include Xishiku Cathedral and Wangfujing Cathedral. The popular Christian churches include Gangwashi Church and Chongwenmen Church.

Ming Thirteen Tombs
A View of Ming Thirteen Tombs
The Special Axis, or middle axis is the city line of old city of Beijing. Anciently, Beijign city was developed and extended in line with this axis so as to in pursuit of the traditional aesthetic beauty of symmetry. The axis of Beijing starts with Yongdingmen Gate on the south to the Drum and Bell Towers on the north, the total length is 7.8 kilometers. The landmarks on this line include Yongdingmen Gate, Arrow Tower, Zhengyangmen Gate, Zhonghuamen Gate, Tiananmen Gate, Duanmen Gate, Wumen Gate, Forbidden City, Shenwumen Gate, Jinshan Hill, Dianmen Gate, Houmenqiao, Drum Tower, Bell Tower, Temple of Heaven, Xiannongtan, Taimiao, Shejitan, Donhuamen Gate, Andingmen Gate and Deshengmen Gate.

Peking Opera is a part of the UNESCO Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. It boasts the Guocui of China(国粹, the Quintessence of China). In 1790, to celebrate the 60th birthday of Emperor Qianlong, four regional opera groups of Huizhou, Anhui province, comprised of Sanqingban, Sixiban, Chungongban and Hechunban, came to Peking. Since then, Peking Opera has popularized in China. Beijing is also the center of Kunqu Opera, which was originated from Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. The performance of Kung fu Show in Red Theater is also quite influential. The famous site to enjoy Peking opera chiefly includes: Mei Lanfang Grand Theater, Changan Grand Theater, Laoshe Tea House, Huguang Huiguan and Liyuan Theater.

Beijing cuisine is also quite famous. Beijing food also consists of the royal dishes and folk dishes. The most famous royal dish is known as Manhan Quanxi(满汉全席, Manchu Han Imperial Feast). However, the local snacks are more welcome and popular.

Beijing Tourist Attractions

a view of Beihai Park
The Classic View of Beibai Park
Beijing has the richest tourist resources. It is in possession of six sites of world heritage(Forbidden City, Great Wall, Peking Man Site, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace and Ming Thirteen Tombs), and the first national capital having World Geopark. There are more than 200 tourist attractions opened to the public. And it also has 7309 cultural sites, 99 cultural sites under the national protection, 326 cultural sites under the municipal protection, and five tourist attractions are the National Geoparks, and 15 tourist attractions are the national forest park. The famous cultural and historic streets, villages and towns are Guozijian Street, Yandaixiejie Street, Chuandixia Village, Lingshui Village, Liuliqu Village and Beikou Ancient Town

Beijing is also the center of museums of China. There are more than 151 museums in Beijing, ranking the second place in the world next to London. National Museum of China is the largest museum of the world, Forbidden City famous as one of World’s five top museums, the other famous museums represented by Capital Museum, China Millennium Monument, China Science and Technology Museum and National Art Museum of China.

The modern leisure and creative centers include: 798 Art Zone, TANGO, Cargo, Babyface, Banana, Sanlitun Bar Street, Houhai Bar Street, Lost In Beijing, SOHO, etc. and the new tourist attractions, highlighted with the heritage sites of 2008 Olympic Games, include The Birds’ Nest and Water Cube.

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