A city that has been a heart of China’s history for centuries, Beijing is a place of transformation that is reshaping itself for the 21st century at full tilt. There is so much to see and do in the city that it ‘s hard to decide where to start. Here is a list of some of the most popular tourist attractions in Beijing, that fascinate tourists from all over the world.
Here are the top 10 places you just must visit when in Beijing:
1. Beijing Summer Palace
The Beijing Summer Palace is located in the Haidian District, on the Northwestern side of Beijing City. It is one of the cool places in Beijing and has also been famously known as the Museum of Royal Gardens. And a tour through this palace will tell you why. You will learn about its royal touch and exquisite beauty and will also want to stay longer and simply bask in its luxurious ambiance. The Park happens to be the largest and most well-preserved park in the whole nation.
The history of the Summer Palace goes back to the 18th century when it was constructed as a resting place for royal families. Over the centuries that passed the gardens were destroyed and completely rebuilt. The Park being the largest in the city occupies a ridiculous 300 hectares, of which there are over 3000 man-made ancient structures which include massive buildings, tower pavilions, and corridors.
2. The Forbidden City
Irrespective of whether you love history, find architecture amazing, or like to appreciate the beauty of China, a visit to the Forbidden City is a must. It was the palace of the Emperors for more than 500 years from the Ming Dynasty onwards and now houses the Imperial Museum. The Forbidden City is the world’s largest surviving palace complex and covers a total of 72 hectares. It consists of 980 buildings and houses an extensive collection of artwork and artifacts from many dynasties. On the outside, one would notice high walls made from rammed earth core and layered with baked bricks which served as a defense from past invaders. Aside from this, the towers at each city corner, which served as lookouts, were and still are the most visible parts of the palace to commoners. Make sure you visit The Forbidden City if you’re ever in Beijing.
3. Great Wall in Beijing
The Great Wall of China, one of the most awe-inspiring man-made projects in the world, lies across the northern part of China like a great sleeping dragon, winding its way through China’s vast northern territory. With a history spanning 2,500 years, the Wall attracts visitors from all over the world, making it one of the best cool places in Beijing. In 1987, Great Wall was listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and selected as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World in a global poll announced on July 7, 2007.
It is often said that “If you haven’t climbed the Great Wall, you haven’t seen China.” Most people in the world have seen photos of the amazing construction; photos are but poor imitations of the beauty and grandeur that the Great Wall possesses. No China tour is complete without seeing the Great Wall. Visiting it is the experience of lifetime, visiting the Great Wall in Beijing one of the musts for travelers.
4. Tiananmen Square
It is situated in the heart of the Beijing city and occupies a vast area of 440 square meters making it the biggest city square around the globe. The sheer size of the square which can accommodate at least 1’000,000 heads makes it a primary location for plenty of significant events and marches. Boasting some of the most significant historical monuments and buildings and being located in proximity to other cultural hotspots of the city, like the Forbidden City, the Tiananmen Square attracts hundreds of visitors each day making it a tourist hotspot in Beijing.
The Tiananmen Square originally dates back to the 17th century but has enlarged four times its original size in the 1950s. Right around this square stands five important locations in the city. In the center stands a monument dedicated to the Peoples’ Heroes. To its north stands the spectacular Tiananmen Tower, the Mao Zedong Mausoleum is found in the south, the Great Hall of the People is located in the West and the National Museum of China in the east. The Monument to the Peoples’ Heroes appreciates the martyrs of the nation and reaches a total of 37.94 meters making it the largest monument in the history of China.
5. The Imperial Gardens and Mausoleums
Given the fact that Beijing served as the center of administration for different dynasties, you won’t just find imperial palaces but also imperial gardens that are a beauty to behold. The emperors also erected mausoleums such as the Ming Tombs where the 13 emperors were buried.
6. Magnificent Temples
Religion was closely associated with imperial power, and Beijing, therefore, has some great temples, with the largest being the Temple of Heaven. The emperors paid homage to Heaven’s glory in this temple. Other temples include the Altar of Earth and Great Bell Temple, where the emperors worshiped the god of the earth and prayed for rain respectively.
If you want tranquillity and stunning scenery then you must visit some of the parks Beijing has to offer. Jingshan Park is just behind the Forbidden City, where you will have a great overview of Beijing as a whole. The park used to be an imperial garden. Other parks worth visiting include Taoranting Park, Yuyuantan Park, Fenghuangling Nature Park, Chaoyang Park, and Xishan National Forest Park.
8. Natural Beauties
For a peaceful and delightful stroll, please visit the beautiful parks. Located at the back of the Forbidden City, the Jingshan Park is an ideal place for an overview of the city. On a clear morning, it’s the perfect spot to watch the sunrise over Beijing. The Fragrant Hills Park has the most beautiful red maple leaves in every autumn. The Taoranting Park is a beautiful workmanship of Chinese old and modern architectural skills. The Stone Flower Cave is an astonishing karst park. Make sure you visit this, it really is one of the cool places in Beijing.
9. The Lama Temple
Lama Temple which is also popularly known as the Yonghe Temple or the Yonghe Lamasery is a monastery which teaches Buddhism, located in Beijing, China. It is one of the major places in the world which is considered an institution for Tibetan Buddhists. The temple was built in the year 1694 and was the official house for monarchs during the Qing Dynasty. The temple is positioned down the north-south axis along a length of 480 meters and along this axis, a visitor would find five halls which are encircled with beautiful courtyards.
10. Donghuamen Night Market
This place may contrast against your relaxed day at any cool place, but your stomach is sure to be empty by the evening. Located near the Palace Museum, in the heart of Beijing, starting at 4 pm local vendors start setting up a medley of classic street food. It may be a crowded tourist attraction, but it’s a cool way to end your exploration of Beijing gems.
Beijing is a city rich in cultural attractions and religious places of interest. To fully do justice to all the wonders this city boasts; it is important to take your time in Beijing and enjoy the above cool places in Beijing at your leisure.
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