Beijing Attractions

With almost 500 years as China's capital, Beijing presents a vast number of historical remains plus different sightseeing areas. Also, it has a lot of other exceptional sights. The city has hundreds of miles of ancient Beijing Hu Tongs (alleys), which are lined with housing in Beijing's distinctive, traditional style. No trip to Beijing would be complete without seeing the Great Wall. Other sights worth seeing outside the city include the Summer Palace; the recently renovated White Cloud Temple (Baiyunguan), the oldest Taoist temple in the world; and Fragrant Hills Park. Besides, those who can't imagine going all the way to China without seeing a panda will want to stop at the Beijing Zoo.

Great Wall
Great WallThe Great Wall of China is one of the most awesome sights in the world, and also known in China as the Great Wall of 10,000. It is an ancient Chinese fortification built from the end of the 14th century until the beginning of the 17th century, during the Ming Dynasty, in order to protect China from raids by the Mongols and Turkic tribes. It is a paved, elevated highway that snakes across the hills for more than 3,000 mi/4830 km. It is wide enough for carts and horsemen to travel along the top. A barrier to persistent invaders from the north, it was also a dividing line between settled agriculture on the plain and nomadic life in the mountains. It is built of brick and stone and filled with earth as well as the bodies of conscripted laborers who died building it.

Temple of Heaven
Temple of HeavenThe Temple of Heaven is located in spacious Tiantan Park, south of the central city, and is China's largest existing complex of ancient sacrificial buildings. Occupying an area of 273 hectares with four gates at the cardinal points, and walls to the north and east, it is three times the area of the Forbidden City. The Temple of Heaven is less a religious site than a historical one. Dating to the 15th century, it was where the emperor made an annual pilgrimage to pray for good harvests. It is made up of several notable buildings, such as the Altar of Prayer for Good Harvests, Imperial Vault of Heaven and Circular Mound Altar.

Chinese emperors usually paid strong veneration to Heaven, the Supreme Being that governed the universe.

Forbidden City
Forbidden CityAlso known as the Palace Museum, there are twenty-four emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties lived in the Forbidden City, which got its name because it was off-limits to ordinary citizens and is the biggest and best-preserved cluster of ancient buildings in China. It was originally built in the 14th century, but because of fires and other catastrophes, it has been rebuilt several times.

It lies 1 kilometer north of the Tian'anmen Square, with its south gate, the Gate of Devine Might (Shenwumen), facing the Jingshan Park. 960 meters long and 750 meters wide, the world largest palace complex covers a floor space of 720,000 square meters, having 9,999 buildings.

Summer Palace
Summer PalaceThe Summer Palace is one of the China's largest and best-preserved imperial gardens. It is a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design, integrating the natural landscape of hills and open water with man-made features into a harmonious and aesthetically exceptional whole. With a concentration of the best of ancient buildings as well as styles of gardening, it is a virtual museum of traditional Chinese gardening. The Summer Palace with its cool features - water, gardens and hills - was the palace of choice for vacationing emperors and Dowager Empresses during the summer time. It was badly damaged by Anglo-French troops during the Second Opium War (1860) and its restoration became a pet project of the Empress Dowager Cixi, last Qing dynasty rulers. The 100-odd examples of traditional architecture in the park include pavilions, terraces, temples, pagodas, waterside gazebos, covered corridors, stone bridges and the famous marble boat. The palace occupies a total area of 290 hectares, three quarters of which is made up of shallow lakes.

Beijing Attractions List