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Beijing Municipality

 Beijing, or "Jing" in the abbreviation form, is the capital of the People's Republic of China, the country's political, cultural and international exchange center, and the host city of the 29th Olympic Games in 2008 as well. Located in the north of the North China Plain, Beijing covers an area of 17,000 sq km and has a population of 12.16 million. With a time-honored history and splendid culture, Beijing is one of the famous historical and cultural cities and ancient capitals in the world. With abundant tourism resources, Beijing has opened more than 200 tourist attractions to the public, such as the Palace Museum, the largest imperial palace in the world, The Temple of Heaven where the emperors used to pay homage to Heaven, the Summer Palace, an imperial garden, the Great Wall at Badaling, Mutianyu and Simatai, Prince Gong's Residence which is the largest quadrangle in the world, etc. The metropolis contains 7,309 historical sites, of which 42 are under state protection, and 222 under city protection.

Art Gallery of China

Art Gallery of China

The gallery is a state museum of modern fine arts. One of the ten structures erected in Beijing in the late 1950's. The gallery building is of the Chinese classical architectural style, the design and plan of which had been examined and approved by the former Premier Zhou Enlai. The late Chairman Mao Zedong penned in 1963 the name of the gallery that is painted on the board fixed to the lintel of the gallery entrance.

 The gallery boasts more than 60000 pieces of art works by modern and folk artists. These include Chinese watercolor and ink-and-wash paintings, oil paintings,block prints, picture posters, cartoons, gouaches, illustrations from literary works, lacquer paintings, and many others representing the artistic style of different schools and times. The gallery has attached great importance to the collection of foreign art works in recent years. Among the 117 paintings donated by Mr. and Mrs. Ludwig of Germany are 4 Picasso's works.

Bei Hai Park

Bei Hai Park

Centrally located to the east of the Forbidden City, Beihai Park is a great place to visit during the day or evening. Local gather to sing, dance or practice Tai Chi. Enjoy a meal or something to drink in one of the many restaurants or bars that surround the lake. Perhaps hire a boat and enjoy the lake itself

Beijing Zoo

Beijing Zoo

If your China journey will not take you to the West of China to view the Giant Panda in its natural habitat, then Beijing Zoo might you offer you the next best option.

Beijing Zoo offers a park like setting with a traditional Chinese garden style. In addition to China’s iconic Panda , there is the opportunity to experience rare and unique wild life such as the Golden snub nosed Monkey from Sichuan province, Manchurian Tigers, the smaller and less well known Red Panda and many other species from around the world.

Formally opened in 1908, the Beijing Zoo is on the site of an Imperial Manor from the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644). Later plant and animals were cultivated and grown here during the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911).

Beijing Zoo has also been the home of the Beijing Aquarium since 1999.

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Capital Museum

The plan for the Capital Museum, located in the Confucius Temple, was prepared in 1953. The museum formally opened in 1981. As a major cultural construction project of Beijing and a feature of the government’s “10th Five-Year Plan”, the new Capital Museum was approved by Beijing’s Municipal Government in 1999. It was further approved by the State Council after being submitted by the National Development and Reform Commission in 2001.

Under the concern and guidance of Beijing’s Municipal Government and after four years of hard work, the museum finally made its debut along the western extension of Chang’an Street, the First Street of China. With its magnificent architecture, abundant exhibitions, advanced technology and remarkable functions, the Capital Museum, large and modern, makes its contribution to the titles such as “famous historical and cultural city”, “cultural center” and “international metropolis” of Beijing and ranks among the first class museums both at home and abroad. Ever since the establishment of Beijing’s Capital Museum, it has held hundreds of exhibitions based on various elements of history, from cultural relics, revolutionary heroes, to folk customs and many more. Moreover, the Capital Museum has also held different types of exhibitions on Japan, America, Singapore, Malaysia and several other countries. It has also carried forward numerous contributions that China has made around the world. These exhibitions have depicted several methods of international communication and diplomacy and have been warmly welcomes by both foreign and local audiences.

While visiting Beijing, you may want to stop by the Beijing Capital Museum. With such a rich history, you will certainly enjoy the vibrantly elaborate displays on hand.

 
Lama Temple (Yonghe Temple)

Lama Temple (Yonghe Temple)

The Lama Temple is one of the largest and most relevant Tibetan monasteries in China. It is credited as being the largest Tibetan temple outside of  Tibet itself.

The temple is unique as it houses the artworks of both Tibetan and Han nationalities. Construction began in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty by the Prince Yin Zhen who would later ascend to the title of Emperor in 1722. As the Emperor, the Lama Temple was divided into two, half remained as an Imperial palace, and the other was offered to Tibetan Monks as a monastery.

The temple is set in a North to South direction spanning almost 500 metres. Halls and Temples include the Hall of the Heavenly (Devaraja Hall), the Hall of Harmony and Peace, Hall of Everlasting Protection the Hall of the Wheel of the Law and the Pavillion of Ten Thousand Happiness’s

The Lama Temple makes a great addition to a tour of The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.

Liulichang Culture Street

Liulichang Culture Street

Situated in Hepingmenwai, Xuanwu District, Liulichang Culture Street used to be the place where kilns for producing glazed tiles were situated in the Yuan and Ming Dynasties. In the early Qing Dynasty, business people of antiques opened antique shops on the street. During the Qianlong reign period (1736-1795), Liulichang became a collecting and distributing center of ancient paintings, calligraphic works, ancient books, rubbings and the four treasures of the study (writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and paper). in 1982 Liulichang Culture Street was renovated, and now it has become a street with unique cultural characteristics in Beijing.

Museum of the Western Han Tomb, Dabaotai, Beijing

Museum of the Western Han Tomb, Dabaotai, Beijing

The museum is constructed on the site of a unique imperial tomb of 2000 years' standing, the underground palace of Liu Jian, the Western Han (206 B.C.-A.D.24) Prince of Guangyang (73-45 b.C).

 The restored coffin chamber for sightseeing has an entrance carved longitudinally on one side of  the underground palace, sheltered by the earth mound and trees and retaining its solemnity and great antiquity. The spacious underground palace is unique in structure, built according to the standards prescribed for "a Son of Heaven" (an emperor) of the Han Dynasty, which include a coffin made of Chinese catalpa (Catalpa ovata) timber to be buried in an coffin chamber with cypress logs piled up against the walls and ranged on top to covering the ceiling. The museum has a collection of mote than 1000 items of funerary objects from the tomb and some unearthed relics from one of the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) ruins.

 On exhibition are the restored coffin chamber, cultural relics, a show of emperor tombs of different dynasties, and others. Tourists could imitate some archaeological research work or take part in activities that have something to do with the Han Dynasty civilization.

 

New Silk Market

New Silk Market

Although names the Silk Market, it is possible to buy just about anything at this multi level bargain Hunters paradise. Located only a few minutes by Taxi from the Forbidden City, the Silk Market is included on many China Holidays itineraries.

Olympic Stadium ‘Birds Nest’

Olympic Stadium ‘Birds Nest’

It all began on 08.08.08 at precisely 08:08pm and was regarded as the greatest Olympics in modern history. Now, there is the opportunity to enjoy a visit to some of the incredible venues built specifically for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

The Birds Nest was the centre piece of the Olymipc Games hosting amongst others the Opening and Closing ceremonies with a capacity of 91,000. The stadium has a unique look and takes centre stage amongst the key Olympic venues. With over 100,000 tomes of stell the stadium is the largest steel structure in the world.

Across from the stadium is the Water Cube used for swimming and diving events. By night the water cube changes colour and shape. With seating up to 17,000 the watercube was the site of 25 new world records during the Olympic Games.

Panjiayuan Market

Panjiayuan Market

If your time in Beijing covers the weekend, why not head to Panjiayuan Antiques Market. With in excess of 3000 stalls, you can collect every type of holiday souvenir. Remember to bargain hard to secure the very best deals – it is expected. Chinese artifacts including pottery and art can be sought here.

Panjiayuan Market is seven kilometres south east of the Forbidden City

Tanzhe Temple

Tanzhe Temple

Located 40 kilometres west of the Forbidden City is Tanzhe temple, one of the largest temples in Beijing. Sat amongst the hills, the temple is stunning and dates back to the third century

Panjiayuan Market is seven kilometres south east of the Forbidden City

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City

 The magnificent Forbidden City, now often known as the Palace Museum, is the largest and arguably one of the best-preserved Imperial Palace complexes in the world. For five centuries, it functioned as the administrative centre of the country as well as being the residence of Emperors and Empresses of the Ming (1368 - 1644) and the Qing (1644 - 1911) dynasties. It covers an area of 74 hectares and originally housed 9,999 rooms, with now over 8000 restored. It was originally surrounded by a moat six metres deep and a ten metre high wall. Construction of the Forbidden City began in 1407 and was completed fourteen years later in 1420. It was said that a million workers including one hundred thousand artisans were driven into the long-term hard labor to complete the complex. Listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1987, the Forbidden City is now one of the most popular tourist attractions world-wide.

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall is one of the 'Eight Wonders of the World' and in 1988 was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Directory. The only man-made structure visible from space, this immense wall originally spanned almost 6,700 kilometres from Shanhaiguan Pass in the east to Jiayuguan Pass in the west. Built originally to keep out the marauding raiders from the North, most now lies in ruins, with the best parts close to Beijing preserved at Badaling; Mutianyu; Simatai and Jinshanling. The most popular being at Badaling because of its easy access and local facilities.

The Hutongs

The Hutongs

The Hutongs are narrow lanes among courtyard houses. The history of the Hutongs can be traced back to the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368). After the establishment of the Yuan authority, the nobles were pleased to be awarded with certain pieces of land as feudal estates. They actively built houses and courtyards which were arranged in order around water wells. The passages between houses were left to allow for light and ventilation and a convenient right-of way. Though these countless passages crisscrossed the old capital like a chessboard, there were only 29 of them called Hutongs. Because city planning was very strict at that time, the roads which measured 36 metres wide were called main streets, the 18-metre wide roads were named side streets and those nine metres or less were designated as Hutongs. In the Ming (1368 - 1644) and the Qing (1644 - 1911) Dynasties, city planning was less strict. Stallholders squeezed in the residential districts, which made the Hutongs differ in width from over six metres to less than one metre. The basic appearance of Hutongs was generally formed during these periods with many having just one entrance. The Hutongs are best seen by Pedicab or cycle rickshaw and from here you will get an interesting glimpse into the lives of the traditional Beijing citizens.

The Ming Tombs

The Ming Tombs

Located some 50 kilometres Northwest from Beijing City lies the Ming Tombs, a general name given to the mausoleums of 13 Emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). The mausoleums have been well preserved, as has the necropolis of each of the many emperors. Because of its long history, palatial and integrated architecture, the sites have a high cultural and historic value. The layout and arrangement of all thirteen mausoleums are very similar but vary in size as well as in the complexity of their structures. It was originally built only as Changling, the tomb of Emperor Zhu Di and his empresses. This is the most magnificent of the tombs. The succeeding twelve emperors had their tombs built around Changling. Only the Changling and Dingling tombs are open to the public. Changling, the chief of the Ming Tombs, is the largest in scale and is completely preserved. The total internal area of the main building is 1956 square metres. Dingling is under ground and about 27 meters deep. It is the mausoleum of Emperor Zhu Yijun, the thirteenth emperor who occupied the throne the longest during the Ming Dynasty.