Places to Visit in Beijing
Beijing Travel Guide for First Timers
Beijing, capital of China, is elegant, charming, gaudy and historic which leaves indelible impression on each and every traveler. It is not only political center of China but also plays an important role in nation’s economic, cultural, academic and scientific life. Only eclipsed by Shanghai in terms of size, it is a great place to explore this dynamic country. It has no shortage of sightseeing opportunities and is home to country’s famous tourist attractions, including Great Wall of China, Coal Hill Park, Imperial Palace and more. Additionally, this city is home to world’s most innovative modern buildings and is must visit place in China. Mentioned below is list of places to visit in Beijing:
- Imperial Palace
Also known as Forbidden City, Imperial Palace is most significant building with origins back to Yuan Dynasty. This amazing palace has been home to 24 Ming and Qing Emperors and has earned its nickname of Forbidden City due to fact that citizens weren’t allowed to enter this palace. It covers 720,000 square meters which is surrounded by 10-meter high wall with towers in four corners. It is divided into an area used to administrative and ceremonial purposes, as well as private quarters. Highlights here include Meridian Gate, Golden River Bridges, Hall of Supreme Harmony, Hall of Military Courage, and more.
- Tiananmen Square
The Square of Heavenly Peace, Tiananmen Square is world’s largest inner-city square which is designed to hold million people. Built to celebrate 10th anniversary of Chinese Republic, this square is political, geographic and tourist center of the city. Highlights include Monuments to People’s Heroes, Tiananmen Gate, Museum of Chinese Revolution and Chairman Mao Mausoleum. It is within top ten largest city squares in the world and has great cultural significance as it was site for various important events in Chinese history.
- Great Wall of China
Located north of Beijing, Great Wall of China is one of the most famous monuments in the world. It was built to protect Chinese states and empires against invasions and raids of nomadic groups. The Badaling section of the wall is a must-visit. It is convenient and hosts large market, and has gondola to take visitors up and down of the wall. Entrance to this section will cost USD6.50 in winter and spring, and $7 in fall and summer. Additionally, Mutianyu section is popular place among adventurer travelers. Visitors will get majestic mountainous vistas from here, cable car for quick and easy access and fun sled ride down are also available.
- Beihai Park
Spanned in 171 acres, Beihai Park is one of the oldest surviving imperial gardens in Beijing. Built in 10th century, this beautiful open space garden takes its name from Lake Beihai. Among various important structures are Round Fort, Hall of Enlightenment and a large black jade vase. Other highlights here are opulent residence of Song Qingling where widow of founder Republic lived for 18 years; Living Quarters of Mei Lanfang; residence of Gou Moruo and White Pagoda.
- Temple of Heaven
Dating back to 1420, Temple of Heaven is home to group of Beijing’s most sacred buildings. It is an imperial complex of religious buildings which was visited by Emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies. Surrounded by lush vegetation, these lovely old shrines and temples are divided into two sections- rectangular and semi circular. The temple grounds cover 2.73 KM square of parkland and have three main groups of constructions. Additionally, this temple was inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, and described as “masterpiece of architecture”.
- Beijing National Stadium
Known for its role in Summer Olympics held in Beijing 2008, National Stadium was joint venture among architects Jacquest Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. Also known as Bird’s Nest, the stadium will be used again in 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. Built at the cost of USD428 million, this remarkable structure has its unique design to influences of traditional Chinese ceramics. In winter, this stadium is turned into world’s largest manmade indoor ski slope. Another nearby attraction is National Aquatics Center.
- Lama Temple
Completed in 1745, Lama Temple is one of Beijing’s best-preserved and most attractive temples. Also known as Yonghe Temple, the artwork and building of temple is a combination of Tibetan and Han Chinese styles. The building served a political purpose by giving Lamaism. It has many valuable works of art and the most important feature is Hall of the Kings of Heaven. Additionally, the noteworthy is statue of Weituo holding iron staff. Pack your backpack and visit other important buildings here which include Pavilion of Four-tongued Stele; Hall of the Buddhist Wheel and Pavilion of Four Thousand Fortunes.