By tradition, Beijing is a city of walls, sheltering its intrigues and ambitions behind a series of concentric barriers from the Great Wall down to courtyard homes that draw sunlight only from the gardens at their core.
Beijing is the capital of the most populous country in the world, the People’s Republic of China. With a population of 21.5 million people, it is the nation’s second-largest city after Shanghai. It was also the seat of the Ming and Qing dynasty emperors until the formation of a republic in 1911. Beijing is the political, educational and cultural center of the country and as such it is rich in historical sites and important government and cultural institutions.
History of Beijing
- Beijing has a history of about 3,000 years. It first became the capital of a big regional empire under the Mongols in 1271. After that, it continued to be the capital of the Ming and Qing empires, and it was the capital of modern China for most of the 20th century.
- At the end of the Qing Dynasty, World War I broke out. Beijing became the focus of the war, which disrupted the society. Many residences of royal families were robbed and burned down. After that, the whole country was reduced to the status of semi-colonial and semifeudal society. It wasn’t until October 1st, 1949 that the People’s Republic of China was founded. Beijing is known as the capital city of the prosperous new country which has flared into importance in Asia.
Top Destinations of Beijing
The Forbidden City is the ideal place for you to begin your exploration of Beijing by opening its mysterious face. With over 9,000 rooms and over 250 acres, this large palace building was built between 1406 and 1420. It burned down and was rebuilt, sacked and renovated for times, so most of the architecture you can see today dates back to the 18th century in the Qing Dynasty.
Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven is considered the holiest of Beijing’s imperial temples. It has been described as “a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design”. It is situated in the southern Beijing City. It has been one of the most sacred sites for the whole country for the past five centuries. It worked as sacrificial compound buildings for the Ming and Qing emperors. It boasts of the largest sacrificial place in Beijing among a few imperial altars to Heaven, Earth, the Sun, the Moon super natures.
The Great Wall
Climbing the Great Wall is a must for you no matter how to buy you are! In the city, there are mainly eight sections of the Great Wall crossing the northern part of Beijing for 600 km. The eight sections are Badaling, Juyongguan, Huanghuacheng, Jiankou, Mutianyu, Gubeikou, Jinshanling, and Simatai. Most of the sections of the Great Wall in Beijing are well-preserved and mainly the relics dating from the Ming Dynasty, the time for huge construction.
Tian’anmen Square (the Square of Heavenly Peace) is the world’s largest inner-city square, designed to hold a million people and built to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Chinese Republic in 1958. This was the place when in 1949, from a rostrum on Tiananmen (the Gate of Heavenly Peace), Chairman Mao announced the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Tiananmen Square is circled by Tiananmen on its north; the Great Hall of the People on its west; on the east of Tiananmen Square lies the National Museum of China.
The Bird’s Nest
An innovative edifice, the Bird’s Nest, Beijing’s brand-new national stadium, got its name from the twig-like appearance of its design. Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron won the honor of designing the structure in a global competition. Completed in the first quarter of 2008 in preparation for the Olympic Games, the stadium was home to the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the majority of the track and field competition, and has a seating capacity of 80,000.
The Lama Temple
Also known as the Yonghe Temple, the Lama Temple is one of Beijing’s most attractive and best-preserved temples. Built in 1694 as the mansion for Emperor Yongzheng, the massive sanctuary was later converted into a lama temple and remains one of China’s biggest and most important monasteries.
Beijing Capital Museum
Beijing Capital Museum, one of the country’s leading art museums. Opened in 1981, the museum boasts a vast collection of artifacts including ancient items of porcelain and bronze, traditional calligraphy, and artwork, along with many fine statues from Chinese and other Asian cultures.
In the northwest area of the city, the Beijing Zoo covers an area of more than 220 acres and was established in 1906, making it one of the oldest zoos in China. The zoo also houses both cultivated flower gardens and more than 600 species of animals, including many rare and wild creatures unique to China.