“…the city remains an epicenter of tradition with the treasures of nearly 2,000 years as the imperial capital still on view—in the famed Forbidden City and in the city’s lush pavilions and gardens…” — National Geographic
Beijing is the capital of China, and also the nation’s political, educational and cultural centre. Its history can dates back several thousand years. Stop-start capital since the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1271 – 1368), it has been the heart of China’s history for centuries. The city name, from the Chinese characters 北 for north and 京 for capital, means literally the “Northern Capital”. For travelers, Beijing is truly awe-inspiring with its epic imperial grandeur.
The Forbidden City – Fourteen emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368- 1644) and ten emperors of the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) lived and ruled China in this palace for as long as 490 years from 1421 to 1911.
The Great Wall, one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions, is 3,333 miles long and was built, section by section, between the 5th century BC and 16th century AD.
Temple of Heaven, literally the Altar of Heaven, served as a vast stage for solemn rites performed by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties, who prayed here for good harvests, and sought divine clearance and atonement.
Summer Palace – the largest and best-preserved royal garden in China. it was once a summer retreat for Empress Dowager Cixi, combining palace temples, gardens, pavilions, hill and lakes.
Beihai Park is the capital’s oldest imperial garden, with an 800-year history. It’s a relaxing place to stroll around, or go boating on the lake.
Yonghe Lamasery – the most renowned Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It was converted to a lamasery in 1744 after serving as the former residence of Emperor Yong Zheng.
Prince Gong’s Mansion – one of Beijing’s largest private residential compounds. It shows how the upper class lived during the Qing Dynasty.
Ming Tombs are the final resting place of 13 of the 16 Ming Emperors. At the gate of the tomb area stands a marble archway which leads to the Sacred Road linced by 12 pairs of stone animals followed by 6 pairs of stone civil and military officials on both sides of the way.
Old Summer Palace, known in China as Yuan Ming Yuan, was an extremely large complex of palaces and gardens next to Summer Palace. After it was torched by invading British and French forces in 1860, a melancholic array of broken columns and marbel chunks remain.
Importantly, a journey into the city’s Hutong – the traditional living quarters of the locals; and pay a family visit to the old walled Siheyuan (a compound with houses around a courtyard). From spring to autumn, Beijing residents collect outside their gates, drinking beer, playing chess, and… After a hutong tour, it is the time for you to enjoy local flavour snacks. Some of the cheapest and most delicious meals can be had on the streets. Whatever you taste, a Peking roast duck dinner is an essential part of your visit to Beijing – another one is climbing the Great Wall. Peking duck has the reputation of being the most delicious Beijing food. It is mostly prized for the thin, crispy skin, though the meat is fat, it is tender and tasty, not greasy. In the evening, a Peking Opera show would be a good choice to entertain you. The show combines singing, musical dialogue, martial arts and fantastic coustumes. It is widely regarded as the highest expressionof the Chinese culture.