BeijingÂ the capital of the People’s Republic of China, is the national center for politics, economy, culture, transportation, and international communications.Â
Beijing is also a famous tourist city.Â Six of its tourist sites have been inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Natural and Cultural Heritages List: the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Zhoukoudian Peking Man Site, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, and the 13 Ming Tombs.Â The fabulous ancient architectures, imperial gardens, and religious temples come to an enchanting mixture with modern buildings.Â Green patches dot the parks and line the streets.Â The folk customs of Beijing penetrate the city everywhere.Â With brilliant culture, talented personages, splendid arts, and every-changing urban construction, Beijing is a first choice for tourists to China.
Covering an area of 40,000 square meters at the center of Beijing, the Tian’anmen Square is the largest urban square in the world, with a capacity of 1 million people.Â Solemn national-flag raising and lowering ceremonies are held on the square at dawn and dusk.Â In the north of the square is Tian’an Gate, which used to be the front gate of the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties.Â Today, it is a venue for important ceremonies, and both Chinese and foreigners are allowed to stand on the top of the rostrum to have a panoramic view of the square.Â The Monument to the People’s Hero stands at the center of the square, facing the Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao Zedong in the south, the China National Museum in the east, and the Gerat Hall of the People in the west.Â The square is especially attractive at night.
Located in the central part of Beijing, the Forbidden City was the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, constructed between 1406 and 1420.Â Covering a total area of 720,000 square meters, it is the existing largest, best-preserved imperial palace in the world.Â It houses imposing structures and many scenic spots, including huge stone sculpture, Imperial Garden, Nine-Dragon Wall, and Qianlong Garden.Â With a large collection of cultural relics and artworks of different dynasties, it has now become a palace museum, with exhibition halls of treasures, porcelains, paintings, and bronze wares.Â In 1987, it was inscribed ont he UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritages List.
Temple of Heaven
Located in Chongwen District, the Temple of Heaven was the venue for the Ming and Qing emperors to offer sacrifices to Heaven and pray for harvest.Â It was built in 1420, the 18th year during the reign of the Ming Emperor Yongle, and covers 2.7 million square meters, being the existing largest temple in China.Â Its main structures include Huanqiutan (Circular Mound Altar), Huangqiongyu (Imperial Vault of Heaven), Qiniandian (Hall of Prayers for Good Harvest), and Zhaigong (Palace of Fast).Â In December 1998, it was inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritages List.
The Great Wall is a symbol of ancient Chinese civilization and a world-renowned defense work.Â Stretching 6,350 km on the mountains in northern China, it was first built in the 7th Century B.C., completed during during the reign of the First Emperor of Qin, and extended during the Ming Dynasty.Â Praised as a “Wonder of the World”, it has been listed as a cultural heritage.Â The most famous section of the Great Wall is at Badaling in Yanqing County in the northwestern suburs of Beijing, built more than 600 years ago during the Ming Dynasty.Â In addition, the Jinshanling, Mutianyu, and Simatai Sections of the Great Wall are also well-preserved and have been opened to the public.
13 Ming Tombs
Covering 40 square km in the Changping District, the 13 Ming Tombs are the cemeteries of the 13 Ming Emperors after the Ming Dynasty moved its capital to Beijing.Â Of them, the largest one is Changling Tomb, which was built in 1413 and is the burial place of Zhu Di, the third Ming emperor.Â At Dingling Tomb, the burial place of the 13th Ming emperor, an underground palace was excavated, and tourists are allowed to visit the underground palace and the two exhibition rooms above the group to view the fabulous cultural relics buried with the dead.
The Sacred Path, the passage leading to the tombs, is lined with more than 30 lifelike stone figures and horses, all sculptured based on a single huge rock.Â On July 3, 2003, it was inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritages List.
Located in the northwestern suburbs of Beijing and built in 1750, the Summer Palace is the existing largest, best-preserved imperial garden in China and a fine example of Chinese gardening art.Â In 1998, it was inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritages List.Â It is mainly composed of Wanshou Hill and Kunming Lake.Â while the hill accounts for a quarter of the park’s total area, the lake occupies three-quarter of its area, both presenting beautiful landscapes.Â Its major tourist spots include Foxiang Pavilion, 17-hold Bridge, Long Corridor, Stone Painted Boat, Beam-free Hall, Xiequyuan, Deheyuan Theatre, and Suzhou Street.Â The Summer Palace concentrates the essences of Chinese garden architecture and boasts a large collection of precious cultural relics.