Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Vibrant Beijing … The Capital Of China And A Treasure Room Of Sights

Touring this city requires a lot of walking - a good physical condition helps if you are here - but mentally you never get tired of this dynamic metropolis.

With a 3,000-year history, sights, myths and tales from the past are found around every corner. It's why tourists love Beijing and believe me, Beijing loves its tourists too. The city has great restaurants featuring the world cuisine and some of the hotels match the best in the world. For the best deals on hotels in Beijing, check out

Let's take a closer look at some of the main sights and attractions.

Forbidden City

The former palace of Ming and Qing Dynasties, and now one of the most incredible museums in the world. It's so huge (800 buildings! 8,886 rooms! 720,000 square metres!) you need at least half a day to get a good impression of its beauty. The palace was forbidden ground for ordinary people until the fall of the empire in 1912.

Temple Of Heaven

Many regard this as the most beautiful temple in China. Located in the south eastern part of the city and surrounded by parkland, it's really a complex of buildings of which the main, beautifully decorated temple was built in the 15th Century. Not a single nail was used to build it and it still stands firm like a rock. Tiananmen Square Just outside the Forbidden City, and the world's biggest square: 880 metres long, 500 metres wide. This square simply breathes authority. Built in 1417, it has been the site of many historical and political events. It's entirely flat, except for two buildings: the mausoleum of Mao Zedong and the Monument to the People's Heroes.

Summer Palace

Just outside the city this park of 716 acres used to be the imperial garden retreat during hot summers. It was burned down in 1860 during the Anglo-French invasion but rebuilt in 1888, and once more in 1902 after another attack. The main building is the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity. The 60 meters high Longevity hill and the Kunming Lake dominate the park.

Further away, but still easily reached from the capital is the Great Wall of China.

If you're a fan of history and interested in Chinese culture, this city has so much to offer.
But make no mistake. Despite its historical sights and signs of communist glory, young people in Beijing live the life of today. And today in China means a country with a booming economy. Mobile phones and (copy) designer clothes are seen in every street, and people show a great interest in everything that comes from the western world.

It has given this crowded city a feel that makes tourists from all over the world feel welcome, even though much is so different from their life at home.

The broad boulevards of Beijing are now full of cars - yes, there are still zillions of bikes, but they're losing ground - and shops, business and entertainment flourish like never before. Beijing is a world on its own, and visiting this city is - like the rest of China - an experience you'll never forget.

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