CHINA - Tiananmen square, Beijing Logo China (1)
Back to Listing

Beijing

Shanghai may signify China's future and Xi'an its past, but Beijing serves as the best experience of China's present. It has been China's capital since the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368 AD), Beijing's past, present and future are forced together in the crowded neighbourhoods and streets of the city. But despite a divide between new and old, one thing about Beijing has remained constant for centuries: hard-handed political power, as well as thriving intellectual and artistic thought prominent in Beijing, continues to influence China and the world. After cycles of destruction and reconstruction, Beijing's mix of new and old is truly unique. Ancient 'hutong' lanes and traditional courtyard homes are sewn neatly between the web of bold skyscrapers and vast avenues paving their way into the city. Historical sites pepper the city with scenes from the past: such as the iconic portrait of Mao Zedong looming over the gates of Tiananmen Square, in which lies his mausoleum. The Forbidden City is another huge draw and of the most impressive sites in the country. Tourists are free to roam the courtyards of the over 800 buildings and 9,000 chambers of the Forbidden City. It is a life preserved in chambers, where emperors ruled, empresses and concubines strolled in the gardens, and palace staff lived for centuries behind the towering red walls. Other top sights of interest include the Summer Palace, built around Kunming Lake, another man-made body of water that required an army of over 10,000 laborers to complete. Beijing is also the best place to spend the day exploring the Great Wall of China from.

CHINA - The Forbidden City, Beijing 2 CHINA - The Forbidden City, Beijing 2
Beijing China 3 Beijing China 3
CHINA - Tiananmen square, Beijing CHINA - Tiananmen square, Beijing
CHINA - Aman Summer Palace, Beijing 2 CHINA - Aman Summer Palace, Beijing 2
Beijing China 9 Beijing China 9
China World Summit Wing Shangri La Beijing China 11 China World Summit Wing Shangri La Beijing China 11
Beijing China 8 Beijing China 8
Beijing China 2 Beijing China 2

Key

39.927642,116.40564,5
I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.
Bill Bryson