The bustling bright streets of Beijing [北京] are an exciting place to visit, en-captivating all those who visit in an exquisite and historic culture. Beautiful attractions in the region include; the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven and Tian’anmen Square are all well worth a visit.
In contrast, Beijing is a modern, fast-paced city, with vibrant nightlife and extensive shopping areas of all kinds. Should you choose a school placement here, you will truly enhance your life experience and boost your career prospects in one of the world’s largest growing economies.
Beijing attractions are second to none in China, with famous tourist spots of various types, historical, cultural, scenic and modern. The top sights are the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City and Tian’anmen Square.
The Forbidden City
The Forbidden City is the best-preserved imperial palace in China and the largest ancient palatial structure in the world. It is seen as the culmination of traditional Chinese architectural accomplishment. In 1987, it was nominated as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. It is also recognized as one of the most important five palaces in the world. The Palace Museum is a treasure house of Chinese cultural and historical relics.
The 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”. The Temple of Heaven has also been listed as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
The temple itself was built in the Ming Dynasty (AD 1420) by the emperor Zhu Di in the royal garden.
The temple is sited in a huge park as part of a magnificent temple complex, composed of three main parts: the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (where at winter solstice, emperors would worship heaven and pray for a good harvest), the Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound Altar, sitting along an axis from south to north. If you decide to go be sure to arrive early as it is very popular.
Tian’anmen Square was initially called Chengtianmen (‘Carrying Heaven Gate’). Tian’anmen Square has hosted momentous events like the declaration of the People’s Republic of China by Chairman Mao in 1949 and is surrounded by a host of world-class sights, from the Forbidden City to China’s National Museum.
In the square tourists can climb Tian’anmen Rostrum, attend the national flag raising ceremony every morning at sunrise, visit the National Museum of China, and go to the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, in which one will see the body of the great Chinese leader.
Tian’anmen Square holds the Monument of the National Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong.
At 440,000 square metres, the square can hold about one million people for public celebrations or gatherings.
Tian’anmen Rostrum, standing to the north of the Tian’anmen Square, on the south-north central axis of Beijing, was the main gate of the royal palace of both the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
The Olympic Park
Beijing National Stadium has recognised the world over for its role in the spectacular Summer Olympics held in Beijing in 2008. The National Stadium (Guójiā tǐyùchǎng) is also affectionately nicknamed the ‘Bird’s Nest’. Built at great cost, this remarkable structure owes its unique design to the influences of traditional Chinese ceramics and has, since the Olympics, been used to host large cultural events and performances including opera, pop concerts, and football matches.
In winter this gigantic structure is turned into the world’s largest manmade indoor ski slope. A further Nearby attraction is the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube for its attractive night-time display that sees it lit up and looking like a giant ice-cube. In addition to being the site of Olympic swimming events, part of the building has been turned into the fun ‘Watercube’ Waterpark.
The Great Wall of China
Any stay in Beijing wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Great Wall. One of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall is in Mutianyu. 70 km northeast of central Beijing this northern barrier provided defence for the capital and the local imperial tombs. The drive north takes about an hour but it is well worth the visit. Mutianyu is considered by many to be the best and most accessible part of the wall, with scenic walks and climbs via the ancient steps.
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[caption id="attachment_298" align="alignnone" width="200"]Bronze Lion at the Gate of Supreme Harmony [/caption]
The lifestyle in Beijing is based on a wealth of attractions and activities for people of all nationalities. Beijing is a friendly city full of history and culture. Beijing offers great shopping opportunities at malls and markets, vibrant nightlife, and highly anticipated annual events at a range of exciting entertainment venues. Also on offer are delicious local and international dining venues, world class sports facilities and many places of natural beauty.
[caption id="attachment_298" align="alignnone" width="200"] Beijing, A Modern City[/caption]
Popular Beijing dishes include the following:
Peking Roast Duck - This is one of the most famous traditional gourmet cuisines of Beijing and indeed in all China. It has been prepared and eaten since the imperial era, around the year 430!
Zhajiang Noodles (Zhajiang mian), is a very popular noodle dish made with hand-pulled wheat noodles, served with shredded cucumber, bean sprouts, radish, and soybeans.
'Lu Zhu Huo Shao' is an old-school Beijing staple. It comprises a wheaten cake boiled with tripe, intestines, liver, tofu and bing, producing a flavourful and nourishing broth.
Wan Dou Huang (Pea Flour Cake) is a favorite springtime favourite. It is a savory cake that is prepared by mixing green pea puree into a cake batter to create a green tinted cake.
There are endless options for excellent shopping opportunites in Beijing, whether seeking high-end products or cheaper market items. Large malls and department stores are dotted around the city, while markets are ever-popular attractions throughout Beijing’s suburbs.
Wangfujing is arguably the most famous shopping street in Beijing, and expats are likely to find almost anything they’re looking for here, from international fashion brands to local Chinese trinkets and electronic goods. Other prominent shopping districts include Xidan Commercial Street and Sanlitun Village.
[caption id="attachment_298" align="alignnone" width="200"] Part of the famous Wangfujing 'Walking Street'[/caption]