Beijing is one of the most historic cities in China. It has been the capital of various emperors for centuries and is still the capital of China today. It is a major tourist attraction because of the heritage of all the dynasties that lived here, their culture, their monuments, and their palaces, not to mention the Great Wall of China.
Beijing is the cultural, economic, and political center of China. Although many financial centers are in Shanghai, everything is controlled by Beijing. It is a major hub for travelers from all over the world. These magnificent structures from the Imperial Chinese period are absolutely stunning and are a major reason for the hordes of tourists it attracts. Entire complexes to serve royal families such as the Forbidden City, the Emperor’s official home from 1420, the Temple of Heaven, and Tiananmen Square. Spectacular and picturesque places created for leisure and recreation, such as the Summer Palace and the Old Summer Palace, Jingshan Park, the Shichahai area, and of course, the beautiful Beihai Park. You can never talk about a visit to Beijing without the Great Wall of China, its many popular parts and tracks, and fortifications.
Not only attractions, but Beijing is also home to a variety of recreational activities. Streets lined with shops and stores, loads of bars and nightclubs, and of course, world-famous Chinese food that you can have in the same place where it all began. Beijing makes for a wonderful week of travel, exploring the history and culture of one of the oldest and historically most important Chinese cities.
Places to Visit in Beijing
- Great Wall of China
China’s ‘Wonder of the World’, The Great Wall of China is one of the most visited attractions not only of China but of the world. The Great Wall of China really needs no more introduction. Although the full length of the Great Wall is not easy to understand, its construction dates back to the 5th – 8th centuries BC. Much of the wall that stands today, and is widely regarded as the ‘Great Wall, was built during the reign of the Qing dynasty to defend the area against Mongol rebels.
Its total wall is 21196 km long. The King Wall itself is 8850 km, of which 6259 km is the actual wall and the rest is trenches and natural defenses. It also completes its entire length with more than 25000 watchtowers. Although a large part of the wall is in ruins today, about 30% of it, parts of the wall around Beijing are kept in top condition today, mainly because they are a huge tourist attraction. The areas near Beijing that see the most tourists are Jinshanling, a famous hiking track, and Mutianyu, the best-kept section of the wall. There are various tours of the Great Wall, and you can visit several sections depending on your preference. And if you went to China and didn’t see the Great Wall, have you ever actually been to China?
- Forbidden City
The Forbidden City is a 180-acre large complex that served as the palace of the Emperor of China for 500 years between 1420 and 1912. Glorifying ancient Chinese palatial architecture, this sprawling complex consists of 980 buildings. It is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It got its name because it was forbidden to enter the premises without the permission of the emperor.
Today, the Forbidden City is the site of the Palace Museum. It is divided into two parts, the outer court in the south where the emperor exercised his authority over his subjects, and the inner court in the north which was his residence. The entire complex is filled with stunning architecture and buildings and is one of the top attractions in China. The Palace Museum’s collection is incredibly extensive, containing over a million artifacts from bronze textiles, ceramics, paintings, jade and time wear. You will begin your tour at the Meridian Gate and exit either the Divine Power Gate or the Eastern Prosperity Gate.
- Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven is a collection of religious buildings that were visited by the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties, and today are visited by thousands of visitors daily. The temple was opened to the public in 1988, and the temple complex is huge, even larger than the Forbidden City. Chinese emperors were regarded as sons of heaven and thus, performed duties on behalf of the gods.
That is why their own house cannot be bigger than the house of God. The temple features are quite astonishing, especially inside the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, where the emperor used to pray twice every year. The circular mound altar is where sacrifices were made, and is considered the most important part of the temple. There are other buildings of importance in the complex, such as the Royal Vault of Heaven, the Palace of Restraint, the Divine Music Administration, and the Heavenly Worship Culture. The expansive parklands around the temple serve several purposes.
- Beihai Park
Spread over 171 acres, this huge public park is one of the largest parks in China. It is a popular tourist destination adorned with many attractions. Beihai Park is one of the best-preserved imperial parks in China. There is a lake in the park, which covers most of the area of the park. The lake’s inspiration was drawn from Taihu Lake and canals such as Hangzhou and Yangzhou.
It is a recurring feature of imperial parks throughout China, drawing inspiration from different regions of the country. Of the park’s many attractions, the most popular is certainly the White Dagoba on Jade Flower Island, right in the middle of the lake. Dagoba is a 40-meter-high structure made of white stone. Other attractions include the Five Dragon Pavilion on the north bank and the Nine Dragon Wall to its north. There are also some Buddhist temples within the park. You can spend a nice day exploring and exploring the many Chinese gardens and other places within the parking area.
- Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen is a large public square in central China. This is another huge and magnificent Chinese complex that houses some of the most important monuments of Beijing. The huge and open square just south of the Forbidden City is always full of people. This sprawling place is home to some of the most important buildings in Beijing. It has been renovated and expanded several times over the past few centuries. The monuments of the square are many.
The Monument of the People’s Heroes made of granite is one of the largest monuments in China. The Tiananmen Tower on the northern end was built much earlier, in 1417. The tower also serves as the southern entrance to the Forbidden City. The National Museum of China also sits in the square to trace the history and development of China through displays of various relics, models, and other objects. The Great Hall of the People sits opposite the National Museum, a stunning building used for a variety of governmental and diplomatic purposes. In addition, here is the mausoleum of Mao Zedong, where China has first declared a republic in 1949.
- Summer Palace
Complete with a collection of lakes, gardens, and palaces, the Summer Palace is the largest and best-preserved imperial park in China. The magnificent park was built in 1750 as an extravagant retreat for the royal families, actually using the construction of the previous lake to build two more. The palace, like most of China and Beijing, was heavily damaged during the wars against the English and French. Over the years, many people from the Qing dynasty and 20th-century government officials have lived in the Summer Palace.
Longevity Hill is the center of the palace, and several buildings are placed along its height. The Front Hill area has some of the most spectacular sights and attractions, such as the Long Corridor, a 730-meter-long corridor that is sumptuously decorated, the Hall of Jade Billows, the Eastern Palace Gate which is the main entrance to the Summer Palace. The Back Hill area had a shopping street, the ‘Four Great Regions’, the Garden of Harmonic Pleasure, the Flower Pavilion and the Glass Tower, and many others, although most of these were severely damaged in the wars against Britain and France and more recently, were reinstated.
The court area was used by the emperor to conduct state business even during his time outside the palace. Other areas of interest in the Summer Palace are the eastern and western dams. The Palace was first opened to the public in 1924, and after several renovations since 1950, today serves as one of Beijing’s most stunning and top-notch attractions.
- Yonghe Lamasery
The Yonghe Lamasery (also known as Yonghe Temple or Lama Temple) is the largest lamasery in China. It was given this status only in 1722. The Yongzheng Emperor was the residence of the Yongzheng Emperor when he ascended the throne, turning half of it into a lamasery for Buddhist monks, and eventually becoming the Chinese center. Lama Administration. As you go along the central axis of the temple, you pass 5 main halls.
The first is the Hall of the Heavenly Kings with a statue of Maitreya Buddha and the 4 Heavenly Kings. Next, you’ll come to the Hall of Harmony and Peace, which houses three bronze statues, each of Gautam Buddha, Kashyapa Matanga, and Maitreya Buddha. It is also the main hall of the temple. Next comes the Hall of Everlasting Protection, where Emperor Yongzheng lived and is today the place for his coffin. Next comes the Hall of the Wheel of Law, which was primarily a place of education and reading.
Notably, it also contains five hundred arhat hill carvings. Finally, comes the Ten Thousand Pleasure Pavilion, which houses a very splendid statue of Maitreya Buddha. The statue stands 18 meters above the ground and 8 meters below and is made of stunning white sandalwood. Today, Lamassery carries out its daily functions as a temple, as well as a major tourist attraction.
- Ming Tombs
A site chosen according to Chinese Feng Shui contains the tombs of 13 Ming emperors. The tombs are also a World Heritage Site. The Ming Tombs are located at the base of Tianshou Mountain, about 50 km from Beijing. They were built by the emperors of the Ming dynasty as memorial sites. However, these tombs only contain the tombs of the last 13 Ming emperors.
The Hongwu Emperor was buried near his capital, Nanjing. According to the rules of feng shui, the first Ming emperor built his tomb here, the Yongle Emperor. This valley was used by the later Ming emperors as their resting place. The road leading to the tombs is called the Spirit Way and is lined with many sculptures. Several additions were made to the tomb complex even during the time of the Qing dynasty, which realized the historical importance of the site. One of these is the Shengong Shengde Steel Pavilion, with a statue of Bixi and marble pillars. Today, only three tombs are open to the public. Nevertheless, the site is full of amazing structures, rich history, and amazing beauty.
Frequently Asked Questions About Beijing
Q. Why is China called Beijing?
A – Peking is the name of the city according to the Chinese postal map Romanization, and the traditional customary name for Beijing in English. The word originated with French missionaries four hundred years ago and corresponds to an older pronunciation that precedes the subsequent sound change from [kʲ] to [tɕ] in Mandarin.
Q. What is Beijing known for?
A – The city is famous for its grand palaces, temples, parks, gardens, tombs, walls, and gates. Beijing is one of the most important tourist destinations in the world. In 2018, Beijing was the second highest-grossing tourist city in the world after Shanghai.
Q. Why is Peking now Beijing?
A – Language reform in the 1950s established an official Romanized spelling system for use in writing Chinese words in other languages. In the new (and current) system the old CHI and KI were replaced by JI, and, Běijīng was spelled “Beijing”, not “Peking”.
Q. What is the Forbidden City?
A – The imperial palace complex in the center of the Forbidden City, Chinese (pinyin) Xijinchang or (Wade–Giles Romanization) Tzu-Chin-cheng, Beijing (Peking), China. Commissioned in 1406 by the Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, it was first officially occupied by the court in 1420.
Q. Why do people go to Beijing?
A – Beijing, over 1000 years old, the capital of China for hundreds of years, is an ancient and modern city, with amazing historical and cultural heritage, and fashionable and impressive high-rise buildings. This super metropolis of the world prides itself as the host city of the 2008 Olympic Summer Games and the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
Q. Is Beijing good for tourists?
A – Beijing has no shortage of unique sightseeing opportunities. It is home to some of the country’s most famous tourist attractions, including a section of the famous Wall of China at Badaling Pass.
Q. Is Beijing worth visiting?
A – As an ancient capital, Beijing has preserved many aspects of traditional Chinese culture very well: Beijing Opera, Kung Fu, Tea Culture, Paper Cutting, Chinese Calligraphy, and Chinese Painting…if you are interested in these, so you can experience the best of them. Beijing.
Q. What is a popular food in Beijing?
A – Beijing Roast Duck, or Peking Duck, is the epitome of Beijing cuisine and is a must-try when you visit Beijing. The dish is revered mostly for its thin, crisp skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly skin and little meat.
Q. Are tourists allowed into the Forbidden City?
A – Entry to the Forbidden City for tourists is only through the South Gate (Meridian Gate) – tickets and audio guides are sold in the square before this gate. The number of daily visitors is limited to 80,000 and since tickets are sold online, you should get there really early if you want to buy your ticket there.