The capital of China, Beijing has been the most prominent city in China for the larger part of six centuries. Beijing is a beautiful metropolis where modern marvels and ancient wonders sit side-by-side. Beijing is the center of power and culture in China. A masterpiece of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) architecture, Beijing is the perfect example of the dichotomy between old and new China.
The fabled Forbidden City is the epicenter of old world china in Beijing. Inside its magnificent walls is a history of China that has been hidden for 500 years. The Forbidden City served as the imperial palace for 24 emperors of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasties (1644 – 1911) and boasts close to 10,000 ornate rooms containing irreplaceable furniture, decorative screens, paintings, and statues.
Just northwest of Beijing proper is the best place to see China’s massive Great Wall. Dating from the 7th century BC, this vaunted wall rises and falls over thousands of miles of undulating peaks, offering inspired views of the gorgeous countryside and a fascinating perspective on China’s heritage!
The Summer Palace in Beijing is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. This spectacular imperial garden was constructed in the mid-18th century to serve as a summer retreat for the Qing Dynasty emperors and offers breathtaking glimpses of the opulent lifestyle of China’s long-forgotten imperial class.
The Temple of Heaven is a master piece of Ming dynasty architecture. It is the best preserved and largest ancient sacrificial complex in the world and is still standing after more than 500 years! Not only is it one of the most distinctive temples with its one-of-a-kind of its signature look, but also the only temple dedicated to serve the ancient Chinese Emperors as a place for worshiping Heaven!
Surrounding all of this glorious history is a beautiful skyline of modern skyscrapers that rivals any metropolis in the world. However, Old Beijing continues to survive in the presence of stall-lined free markets, hidden hutongs, old temples, even sunrise Tai Chi and ballroom dancing! One only has to look to find marvels in every part of Beijing.
Beijing is the perfect window to see both into the legendary past of China and the boundlessly prosperous future. Beijing is a must-see on your China tour!