Beijing is the capital city of China and is located in the Northern part of the country. This city is the second largest metropolis in China after the city of Shanghai and over seventeen million people reside here. Beijing is generally considered the cultural focal point of China, while Hong Kong is considered the economic focal point.
Beijing is a city so rich in history and tradition that its hard to find a building or park that doesn’t have some sort of cultural significance. This can be really overwhelming to first time visitors trying to see all the important tourist attractions, especially if they are under time constraints. But, visitors shouldn’t despair because there are sites that have more importance than others and should be placed on a visitor’s hot spot list.
One of the most popular, and probably the most significant site to visit in Beijing is the Forbidden City or Palace Museum. This is definitely one of the top palaces in the entire world and covers an area of one hundred and eighteen acres. This palace was built during the Ming Dynasty and has a mind boggling eighty-seven hundred rooms. Around the entire perimeter is a large red hued wall that has a total length of over thirty-seven hundred yards. Each of the four sides of this palace has a gate and the main entrance gate is called the Wu Men or Meridian Gate. The entire interior of the Forbidden City is stocked to the brim with priceless works of art, antiquities and historically significant items. In fact, it s estimated that there are over one million artifacts located here and that it is one sixth of the entire collection of China. Visitors should plan on making several trips to this palace because it is almost impossible to see the entire place in just one visit.
The next attraction not to be missed is the Great Wall Of China. This massive fortification is considered to be the longest piece of architecture in the entire world. The wall stretches from Jiayuguan Pass to the Shanhaiguan Pass. That makes this structure over forty-one hundred miles long! The Great Wall was started during the Qin Dynasty and took over two thousand years to complete.The Great Wall is considered to be one of the seven wonders of the world.
The Temple of Heaven is another fantastic location to visit. This immense temple covers an area of over eight million square feet and was built in 1420. This temple has two main components, the inner temple and the outer temple. The entire temple is encircled by a huge wall. This temple was the favorite of China’s emperors and they used it to pray for a fruitful harvest.
Beijing also has one of the greatest imperial gardens in all of China, and perhaps the world. Its called the Summer Palace and it was constructed in 1750. Some of the features of the Summer Palace is the East Palace Gate, The Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, Hall of Jade Ripples and the Garden of Virtue and Harmony.
Another must see location in Beijing is Tiananmen Square. This is the largest square in the world and covers an area of over one hundred and eight acres. This square is so massive that it is capable of accommodating over ten million people at one time. Tiananmen Squarewas built in 1417 and is composed of several main features. The first one is the Monument to the People’s Heroes which is located in the center of the square. It reaches over one hundred and twenty feet and is made of solid granite. Reliefs around the monument tell the tale of Chinese history through several very crucial events. Other features of this square include Tiananmen Tower to the north, the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall to the south, the National Museum of China located to the east and the Great Hall of the People to the west.
A popular place in the city to visit is the Beijing Zoo. This is the largest zoo in all of China and covers an area of two hundred and twenty acres. This zoo has a diverse collection of animals with over five thousand animals represented from over six hundred species. Some of the animals included here are tigers, lions, monkeys, bears and reptiles. At the north end of the zoo is the Beijing Aquarium. This aquarium covers an area of thirty acres and has more than a thousand species of fish housed here. The two main features of the aquarium include the rainforest exhibit and the marine theater where guest can watch dolphins perform various tricks.
For those looking for hotel accommodations in the city there are many fine choices available. Beijing is a city that has five star rated hotels, budget hotels and youth hostels. And most of the tourist friendly ones have easy access to transportation. The type of lodging that you choose all depends on what part of the city your planning on visiting and how much you want to pay.
Though the city is generally crowded, especially during peak driving times, there are plenty of transportation options available. These include trains, buses and taxis. One of the more popular ways of traveling through the city is by Rickshaw. This can be a fun and leisurely way to view the city, though its usually more expensive than taking a taxi. Rickshaws can be found at any of the tourist centers in Beijing.