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Useful Information | Da Shi Lan | Forbidden City | Great Hall of People | Great Wall "Badaling" | Great Wall of China | Holy Road (Sacred Way) | Hutong | Juyong Pass | Kunming Lake | Lamma Temple | Liu Li Chang | Ming Tombs | Peking Opera | Summer Palace | Tai Chi | The Temple of Confucius | Temple of Heaven | Tiananmen Rostrum | Tiananmen Square | Beijing Zoo | Beihai Park | The National Centre for the Performing Arts | Beijing National Stadium | The Beijing National Aquatics Center |

Useful Information

Airport Code
PEK
Airport Name
Beijing Capital International Airport
Currency
Renminbi (RMB)
Electric Plug Details
Two parallel flat blades
Electricity
220Volt, 50Hz
IDD City Code
10
IDD Country Code
86
Language
Putonghau (Mandarin)
Mobile System
GSM
Time Zone
GMT/UTC +8()
Useful Telephone
Emergencies 120
Police Dial 110
Fire & Ambulance 119

Da Shi Lan

Da Shi Lan is located 05-08 mins from the Forbidden City, very similar to Liu Li Chang which is located in Qian Men, is also one of the oldest neighborhood in the city, where tradition seems to have been retained. Here you will find old coins, scrolls, Tibetan and Mongolian antiques, calligraphy materials and stamps. Even if you are not interested in these kinds of purchases you should visit this street for a glimpse of an older style of Beijing. The buildings have painted wooden beams and roofs topped with curved Chinese tiles

Forbidden City

Lying at the center of Beijing, the Forbidden City, called gugong, in Chinese, used to be the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is called the Palace Museum now. It lies 1 kilometer north of the Tian'anmen Square, with its south gate, the Gate of Devine Might (Shenwumen), facing the Jingshan Park. 960 meters long and 750 meters wide, the world largest palace complex covers a floor space of 720,000 square meters, having 9,999 buildings. The rectangular city is encircled in a 52-meter-wide, 6-meter-deep moat and a 10-meter-high, 3,400-meter-long city wall which has one gate on each side. There are four unique and delicate structured corner towers overlooking the city inside and outside on the four corners. Generally, it was divided into two parts, the northern half, or the Outer Court where emperors executed their supreme power over the nation and the southern half, or the Inner Court where they lived with their royal family. Until 1924 when the last emperor in China was driven out of the Inner Court, 14 emperors of the Ming dynasty and 10 emperors of the Qing dynasty had reigned here. About 500 years being the imperial palace, it houses numerous rare treasures and curiosities. It is now listed by the UN as World Cultural Heritage in 1987 and is the hottest tourist magnets.

Construction of the palace complex started in 1407, the 5th year of the Yongle reign of the third emperor of the Ming dynasty, and was completed 14 years later in 1420. It was said that a million workers including 100,000 artisans were driven into the long-term hard labor. Stones needed were quarried from Fangshan, suburb of Beijing. It was said a well was dug along the road every 50 meters in order to pour water onto the road in winter to slide huge stones on ice into the city. Huge amount of timbers and other materials were all freighted from faraway provinces. Ancient Chinese people fully displayed their wisdom in building the Forbidden City. Take the grand red city wall for example, the ladder shaped wall has an 8.6 meters wide bottom and a 6.66 meters wide top. The shape of the city wall totally frustrate attempt to climb onto the wall. The bricks of the wall are said made from white lime and glutinous rice while the cement is made from glutinous rice and egg whites, and these incredible materials make the wall extraordinarily strong.


Great Hall of People

The Great Hall was built in ten months by communist volunteers during 1958 and 1959. Containing more floor area than the Forbidden City, the Hall can simultaneously seat all 10,000 representatives of China's parliament while entertaining 5,000 guests in a banquet hall. Many of the ancillary rooms are named after regions of China and decorated in the local style. Still, most visitors are impressed mainly by the great hall itself and the overt symbolism of its design: on the roof is a great red star - the center of a communist galaxy of lights. The Great Hall is located across the street from the west side of Tiananmen square

Great Wall "Badaling"

Locates 11km away from Juyongguan Pass and 60km north of Beijing, Badaling, which means "giving access to every direction", is the best-preserved section of the Great Wall. First built in 1505 with an elevation of 600 meters, the wall average 7.5 meters high, 4 meters thick, 6.5m wide on the base and 5.8m at the top.

tretching out for 4,770m among the rolling mountains, Badaling section of Great Wall is dotted with 19 strategically located watchtowers, which were used to protect the capital against attack in ancient times, bringing Badaling the name of "key to the north gate."

On the top of the wall is a road paved with square bricks, wide enough for six horses or ten soldiers to march side by side. On both sides of the road, outer parapet and inner parapet were set. The outer parapet is crenelated with merlons almost two meters high. The crenels were used as peepholes and the embrasure below each crenel was used as loophole. The inner parapet, which is 1 meter high, was used to prevent the horses and gharries from overturning from the mountains.

Along the wall, there are many signal towers, which were used to transmit military message. In those pre-electricity days, probably fire and smoke were the most efficient ways for communication (normally fire was used at night and smoke during the day). In 1468, a series of regulations were set to give the specific meanings of these signals: a single shot and a single fire or smoke signal implies about 100 enemies, two shots and two signals warned of five hundred, three shots and three signals warned of over a thousand and so on. In this way, a message could be transmitted over more than five hundred kilometers within a few hours.

Badaling fortress, with an elevation of 600 meters, was built in 1505. The walls, built in 1571, are 10meter high, 4meters thick and over 1km long in circumference. The fortress has two gatetowers. A tablet inscribed with "outpost to Juyongguan Pass" is hung on the eastern gate and another one "the Lock on the Northern Gateway" on the western gate. As the entrance to Badaling, this fortress is an important defensive spot on the north side of Juyongguan Pass. If Badaling were seized, it would be difficult to defend Juyongguan Pass. In the Ming dynasty, strong force was garrisoned there.

East of the fortress lies a huge rock, 7 meters long and 2 meters high, which is named Watching Beijing Rock. It was said that the Empress Dowager Cixi once passed here as she fled to the north when the Eight Allied Forces invaded Beijing in 1900. Making a short stop there, she looked toward Beijing and recalled her comfortable life in the Forbidden City. Hence the name.

Badaling, the essence of the Great Wall, in 1987, was listed as the "World Cultural Heritage" by UN. In recent years, this section of Great Wall was repaired and Great Wall Museum, Badaling Great Wall Cableway and other tourism facilities were built near the wall. So far, about 80 million visitors from all over the world, including 300 heads of state and other celebrities from foreign countries visited there. The wall, as the witness of the history, today serves as the friend bridge between the Chinese people and people from other countries.


Great Wall of China

The Wall extends for a good 3,000 miles from its origin at the seaside in Shanhaiguan (the Old Dragon Head), a seaport along the coast of Bohai Bay in the east, all the way to Jiayu Pass in Gansu Province. Stretching from the eastern part of Liaoning in Northeast China to Lintao (in modern Minxian) on the desert in the northwest of China, it passes through Liaoning, Hebei, Beijing, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Ningxia, and Gansu. The Chinese li equals 0.5 kilometer, so the Great Wall is 10,000 li long in Chinese measurement and hence it is known in Chinese as the Ten-Thousand-Li Long Wall. Serious readers who measure it on the map will find out that the actual distance is only about 3,000 kilometers since the wall zigzags along the mountain ridges!

The Great Wall was a gigantic defensive project used in ancient times as early as in the 7th century B.C. For self-protection, rival kingdoms built walls around their territories, laying foundations for the present Great Wall. When Qin Shihuang (First Emperor of the Qin) unified the whole country in 221 B.C., the existing walls were linked up and new ones added to counter attacks by the remnants of the defeated states. The undertaking of such a huge project over difficult terrain at that time without any machinery was an extraordinary feat. A workforce of nearly a million, representing one fifth of the whole labour force of the country, was used to build it. Hardship and cruel treatment brought death to many of the laborers, and tragic stories were told, from which folk-tales and legends came into being.

Subsequent dynasties continued to strengthen and extend the wall. In the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220) about 500 kilometers were added to the west, bringing it to present-day Jiuquan and Dunhuang. The Tang empire (618-907) expanded its territory and pushed its frontier further north, so the Great Wall ceased to be needed as a barrier against invasions. In the Kin Dynasty, a massive system of earthworks was constructed to check the invasion by the Mongols, and remains can still be found in Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia. However, the Great Wall did not stop the invasion of the Mongols who conquered the whole country and set up the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). In 1368, when Zhu Yuanzhang drove the Mongol Yuan rulers from the throne and established the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), he started the construction of a new Great Wall to the north of Beijing to secure his northern territories from the remnant Mongol forces since he had established his capital in Nanjing. The wall was built of stone blocks and bricks instead of the rough stones and clay used on the old walls. The size of the Ming wall was much bigger and it stretched from the Yalu River in Liaoning in the east to Jiayuguan in Gansu in the west for a distance of 12,700 li. The part between Yalu River and Shanhaiguan was damaged because of its less solid construction, but the rest has remained until now because it was solidly built. The Manchus had long-time ambitions to conquer the whole of China but they were held back by the Great Wall until a Ming general helped them enter the Shanhaiguan Pass. The Manchu Qing rulers felt it unnecessary to build the wall so very little reconstruction was done.

Today, barbarians from the eight directions all flock to the Great Wall to walk on the only man-made structure visible from space. To look out from one of the guard towers out at the barren mountains and the Wall snaking off into the distance is a view not to be forgotten. Standing on the Wall, you can get a good feel for what the Wall was all about.

The section closest to Beijing city proper is Badaling. This section offers awesome views, but it is also the most crowded, as it is the main Wall featured on all tour routes. Mutianyu is another restored section to the east of Badaling. This section requires a more rigorous climb, however, both Mutianyu and Badaling have cable cars to help you reach the top.

A wilder and less crowded option is to go to the section known as Simatai. This section is much farther away, over 100 kilometers northeast of Beijing, so you will have to make a whole day of a trip here. All of these sections have tours which go there, but the most popular is Badaling, as it is closest.


Holy Road (Sacred Way)

This refers to the Changling Sacred Way, Because all the sacred ways leading to the mausoleums are branches of this one. It is known as the main sacred Way, its construction started in 1435 and was extended in 1540. Stone memorial arch, the big red gate (with dismounting tablets on its two sides), the changling sacred merits and lofty virtues tablet pavilion, the stone animals and statues the dragon and phoenix gate, the five-arch bridge and the seven-arch bridge and the seven-arch bridge are north-south diagonal, they look magnificent, of which the most remarkable ones, the changling sacred merits and lofty virtues tablet pavilion, the stone animals and statues, the dargon and phoenix gate, are the main constructions on the Sacred Way.

Hutong

Beijing's hutongs, lanes or alleys formed by lines of siheyuan (a compound with houses around a courtyard) where old Beijing residents live, witness the vicissitude of the city.

The word "hutong" originates from the word "hottog" which means "well" in Mongolian. Villagers dig out a well and inhabited there. Hutong means a lane or alley, in fact the passage formed by lines of siheyuan (a compound with houses around a courtyard) where old Beijing residents live. Be care not to lost in it! It was recorded that in the Yuan a 36-meter-wide r blind hutongs" cul-de-sacs. The gray-tiled houses and deep alleys crossing with each other in identical appearance like a maze, you will find it much fun to walk through but be care not to lost yourself. oad was called a standard street, a 18-meter-wide one was a small street and a 9-meter-wide lane was named a hutong. In fact, Beijing's hutongs are inequable ranging from 40 centimeter to 10 meter in wide. The longest has more than 20 turns. Either in east-west or north-south, Beijing's hutongs varied as slant, half or " blind hutongs" cul-de-sacs. The gray-tiled houses and deep alleys crossing with each other in identical appearance like a maze, you will find it much fun to walk through but be care not to lost yourself.


Juyong Pass

Located 50km from Beijing, in a ravine hemmed in between two mountains, Juyong Pass (Dwelling-in-Harmony Pass) provided impregnable protection to northwest Beijing and was one of the most important fortifications of ancient China.

Walls descend from the top of mountains on both sides of Juyong Pass to link with the stronghold of Juyong Pass, a bone of contention between warring strategists of bygone days. Two gates are built into the pass, Nankou to the south and Badaling Pass to the north, and a walled-in enclosure is built at the southern gate. Genghis Khan, or Emperor Taizu of the Yang dynasty, had once been here during one of his many battles. Besides its strategic significance, this pass was also famous for its beautiful scenery. In fact, in the Kin dynasty (1115-1234 A.D.), this place was listed as one of the Eight Best Scenic Spots in Beijing. The gully in which the pass stands stretches 20 or so kilometers. It is heavily wooded, and the scenery is captivating. A famed scenic spot, known as "Juyong Verdure", is right situated here. Inside the pass is a marble platform, finely built in 1268, or the fifth year of the Zhiyuan Reign of the Yuan dynasty. It is 9.5 meters tall and 26.84 meters wide at the base and 17.57 meters long. Inside the passage way under the platform are the bas-relief sculptures of the four Heavenly Kings, and Buddhist incantations in Sanskrit, Tibetan, Mongolian, Uygur, Han and Xixia. Niches are scooped into the wall that are enshrined with more than 2,000 Buddhist
sculptures done during the Yuan dynasty.

Historical records show that Juyongguan Pass was not only a strategic pass but also a trading place flourishing hundreds of years ago. In the center of the pass is an elevated stone platform called the Yuntai (Cloud Terrace). Originally it was probably the plinth of a gate-tower, the upper part of which has collapsed. All that left is a balustraded terrace above an arched passageway, covered with carvings dating back to the Yuan dynasty. On the terrace are the remains of four stone pillars, and the balustrade and corner posts are richly decorated with dragon heads, wreathes and other carvings. The walls are carved with bas-relief devaraja (heavenly kings) and between the devaraja are inscriptions of dharani (charms) in Sanskrit, Tibetan, Xixia, Uygur and Han. It is rare to have inscriptions in so many languages. The archway, which is large enough to allow the passage of carriages and horses, has carvings of many small Buddhas and mandala patterns on its ceiling. The carvings on Yuntai have high artistic value and are also very unusual in that the surface is composed of stone blocks rather than a single slab of stone. Visitors to the Great Wall should not miss the chance to see the fabulous carvings on Yuntai.


Kunming Lake

Kunming lake was originally called Wengshan Lake. In 1749, Emperor Qianlong ordered the construction of Qingyi Garden, the predecessor of the Summer Palace. Involving nearly 10,000 laborers, the lake was expanded and turned into a peach-shaped reservoir, the first of its kind for Beijing.

From 1990 to 1991 , the Beijing Municipal Government ordered the first dredging of the lake in 240 years. Involving 200,000 men and hundreds of dredgers and other tools, a total of 652,600 cubic meters of sludge was dredged and 205 bombs dropped by the Japanese during the Anti-Japanese War were removed.

The Western Causeway and a shorter dike divide Kunming Lake into three areas that contain South Lake Island, Seaweed-Viewing Island and Circle City Island. The three islands represent three mountains in ancient Chinese mythology, i.e. Penglai, Fangzhang and Yingzhou.


Lamma Temple

The temple was originally a palace for Emperor Yongzheng before he was made emperor.  When he took the throne in 1723 the palace was converted into a Buddhist temple in line with Chinese tradition.  In the 1700s it became a major center of the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism and the monks there wielded considerable political clout.  The temple fell into disfavor in the 19th century and was largely neglected.  During the cultural revolution in the late 60s and early 70s the temple was closed and threatened with destruction.  Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai intervened personally to save the temple and it eventually reopened with lamas from Mongolia in residence in the 1980s.

Liu Li Chang

Liu Li Chang is located in Qian Men, the oldest neighborhood in the city, where tradition seems to have been retained. Here you will find old coins, scrolls, Tibetan and Mongolian antiques, calligraphy materials and stamps. Even if you are not interested in these kinds of purchases you should visit this street for a glimpse of an older style of Beijing. The buildings have painted wooden beams and roofs topped with curved Chinese tiles.

Ming Tombs

This is a symbolic structure of the mausoleum. In the Ming dynasty, It was wooden. Framed when the reconstruction was made in the Qing Dynasty form 1785 to 1787, the frame was changed to stone. Inside the tower a sacred stele was erected. The tower was struck and damaged by a thunder-bolt in 1604 and was rebuilt in the next year with the characters The Mausoleum of Emperor Chengzu inscribed on the stele.

Peking Opera

Beijing opera or Peking opera

Beijing opera or Peking opera is a form of Chinese opera which arose in the late 18th century and became fully developed and recognized by the mid-19th century. The form was extremely popular in the Qing Dynasty court and has come to be regarded as one of the cultural treasures of China. Major performance troupes are based in Beijing and Tianjin in the north, and Shanghai in the south. The art form is also enjoyed in Taiwan, and has spread to other countries such as the United States and Japan.

Beijing opera features four main types of performers. Performing troupes often have several of each variety, as well as numerous secondary and tertiary performers. With their elaborate and colorful costumes, performers are the only focal points on Beijing opera's characteristically sparse stage. They utilize the skills of speech, song, dance, and combat in movements that are symbolic and suggestive, rather than realistic. Above all else, the skill of performers is evaluated according to the beauty of their movements. Performers also adhere to a variety of stylistic conventions that help audiences navigate the plot of the production. The layers of meaning within each movement must be expressed in time with music. The music of Beijing opera can be divided into the Xipi and Erhuang styles. Melodies include arias, fixed-tune melodies, and percussion patterns. The repertoire of Beijing opera includes over 1,400 works, which are based on Chinese history, folklore, and, increasingly, contemporary life.

In recent years, Beijing opera has attempted numerous reforms in response to sagging audience numbers. These reforms, which include improving performance quality, adapting new performance elements, and performing new and original plays, have met with mixed success. Some Western works have been adopted as new plays, but a lack of funding and an adverse political climate have left Beijing opera's fate uncertain as the form enters the 21st century.

 


Summer Palace

Located 15km from Beijing, the Summer Palace is the largest and best-preserved royal garden in China.

The Summer Palace has a history of over 800 years. Early in the Jin dynasty, an imperial palace named Golden Hill Palace was built on the present site of the Summer Palace. In 1750,with 4.48 million taels of silver, Emperor Qian Long of the Qing dynasty built the Garden of Clear Ripples here and renamed the hill Longevity Hill to celebrate his mother's birthday.

In 1860, the Anglo-French Allied Forces invaded Beijing and set fire to the garden. In 1888, Empress Dowager Cixi, with funds embezzled from the Imperial Navy, restored the grand garden. The construction had lasted for ten year and after completion, she renamed it Yiheyuan - Garden of Peace and Harmony. In 1900, the garden was plundered again by the eight powers. This time, nearly all big temples and halls at the back of the Longevity Hill were destroyed and only one survived. Only when the fugitive Cixi returned to Beijing in 1903, did the full-scale restoration begin.

Mainly consists of Longevity Hill (which can be divided into Front Hill and Rear Hill) and Kunming Lake, this present Summer Palace covers a vast area of 294 hectares, in which three quarters are water. The garden can be divided into three parts, namely, administration, residence and scenery browsing area. The administration area, taking Halls of Benevolence and Longevity as its principal part, is the place where Cixi dealt with state affairs and received officials. Residence area mainly consists of Hall of Jade Billows, Garden of Virtue and Harmony, and Hall of Joyful Longevity. The Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill then serve as the scenery browsing area.

The Summer Palace has two entrances, one is the East Palace Gate and the other is North Palace Gate. Most visitors enter the garden from the East Palace Gate.

All the man-made hills, halls, pavilions and temples, including Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill, blend together harmoniously in spite of their individual styles. Ingeniously conceived and elaborately designed, this garden, concentrating the features of the gardens in southern and northern China, can be reputed as the soul of the Chinese gardens.

The Summer Palace of today is more or less the same as the palace rebuilt in 1903. After the last Qing Emperor Puyi was thrown out of the Summer Palace in 1924, this garden was turned into a park. But at first, due to the admission charge was very high, the normal people still had no chance to view the magnificent royal garden. Today, most people can afford the ticket. This old imperial garden now becomes an ideal place for Beijing locals to retreat from the hot summer in Beijing.

In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List. It declared the Summer Palace "a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value." It is a popular tourist destination but also serves as a recreational park.


 


Tai Chi

Tai chi, which is sometimes referred to as "Shadow Boxing", was developed many centuries ago. Its graceful movements help to balance the yin and the yang, doing as much for the mind and soul as for the body. To this day, the amazingly fluid motions of this traditional Chinese practice remain one of the favourite means of keeping fit in Hong Kong, especially among the older generation. Tai chi has also proved popular with visitors to Hong Kong who find it an excellent means of relaxation, both here, and once they have returned home.

The Temple of Confucius

The Temple of Confucius in Beijing is located on Guozijian Street, inside Anding Gate. Sacrifices were made to Confucius during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368), Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) at this temple. Now, the temple houses the Capital Museum.

The Temple of Confucius was initially built in 1302 and additions were made during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Temple has a 600-year-old history. Compared with the Confucius Temple in Qufu, Shandong Province, it is the second largest temple constructed for Confucius, the greatest thinker and educationist in ancient China.

The Temple occupies an area of 22,000 square meters and consists of four courtyards. The main structures include Xianshi Gate (Gate of the First Teacher), Dacheng Date (Gate of Great Accomplishment), Dacheng Palace (Hall of Great Accomplishment) and Chongshengci (Shrine of the Great Wise Man). Dacheng Palace is the main building in the temple, where the memorial ceremony for Confucius was held. A terrace surrounded by white marble balustrades supports the Palace. In front of the terrace are reliefs engraved with remarkable pictures such as flying dragons playing ball and clouds painted to look like waves on the ocean. Inside the palace, the spirit tablet of Confucius is located in the middle of the palace and the statues of his 72 disciples line both sides of the gallery. In addition, many instruments used for the ceremony in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) are set inside the Palace.

On either side of the front courtyard, 198 stone tablets are arranged. These tablets bear the names of 51,624 Jinshi of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, who passed the triennial imperial examinations. The tablets are material evidence of the imperia examination system in ancient China.

Inside the temple are more than 100 ancient trees.
In the front of Dachengdian, there is a 700 years' old cypress named "Chujianbai" (Touch Evil Tree). The name is associated with an ancient legend. During the Ming Dynasty, the high officer-Yan Song acted on behalf of the empire to worship Confucius. One day, when Song was passing by the cypress, one of the branches of the tree knocked his hat to ground. Yan Song was a treacherous official. Thereafter, the people decided that the old tree could judge the evil people from good people.

In the temple, you can see the yellow-glazed roofs and remarkable picture of two flying dragons playing with a pearl among clouds, which are believed to be used only in the imperial palaces. From those, it is easy to imagine the importance of the Confucius Temple in Imperial times.


Temple of Heaven

Providing all information on the famous attraction in Beijing-the Temple of Heaven.

The Temple of Heaven is situated in the southern part of the city in Chongwen district. As famous as the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, it is a "must" for every visitor.

In ancient China, the emperor was regarded as the "Son of Heaven", who administered matters on the earth on behalf of the heavenly authority. To show respect to the heaven, ceremonies for sacrifices to heaven were extremely important to the emperor. The temple was built for the worship of heaven and prayers for good harvests. A double wall encloses the temple.

The upper northern half is circular, representing Heaven and the southern half is square, representing the Earth, coincident with the Chinese saying of "Round Heaven and Square Earth". The main buildings on the north-south axis are The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest with the Pavilion of Double Ring Longevity on the left clustered at the northern end are the Imperial Vaulted Heaven and the Circular Altar at the southern. A 2.5-meter-high, 360-meter-long causeway connects the two parts and is known as the Vermilion Steps Bridge or the Sacred Way. Four Heavenly gates were built on the cardinal points.


Tiananmen Rostrum


Tiananmen rostrum was first built in 1417 and named Chengtianmen (the Gate of Heavenly Succession). At the end of the Ming Dynasty, it was seriously damaged by the war. When it was rebuilt under the Qing in 1651, it was renamed Tiananmen, and served as the main entrance to the Imperial City, the administrative and residential quarters for court officials and retainers. The southern sections of the Imperial City wall still stand on both sides of the Gate.

Architecture:
The tower at the top of the gate is nine-room wide and five-room deep. According to the Book of Changes, the two numbers nine and five. When combined, symbolize the supreme status of a sovereign.

Function:
During the Ming and Qing dynasties, Tiananmen was the place where state ceremonies took place. The most important one of them was the issuing of imperial edicts:

Rotrum today:
On October 1, 1949, chairmen Mao Zedong proclaimed on Tiananmen Rostrum the founding of the peoples Republic of China. Since then Tiananmen hence been the symbol of China. Chairman Maos portrait is hung above the central entrance, flanked by two slogans Long live the peoples Republic of China and long live the Great unity of the peoples of the World. Today, the splendour of Tiananmen attracts million of visitors from all over the world.
The Rostrum on its top was opened in 1988 to the public for the first time in its history. It offers a panoramic view of the square and the city proper.

Two stone lions in front of Tiananmen Square
The two stone lions by the gate of Tiananmen, one on each side, were meant as sentries. They gaze toward the middle axis, guarding the emperors walkway.

 


Tiananmen Square

With a total area of 440,000 square meters, Tiananmen Square is the largest square in the center of Beijing. For over a hundred years, many ceremony and demonstrations have been held here. The grandeur of Tiananmen Gate (Heavenly Peace Gate) is a national symbol, with the Great Hall of the People on the western side and the Museum of the Chinese Revolution and the Museum of Chinese History to its east and west. The Monument to the People's Heroes - the 36 meters obelisk, made of Qingdao granite, dominates the center of the square. The Chairman Mao Memorial Hall and the Qianmen gate, sit in the south.

Tian'anmen Gate
Tian'anmen Gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace) was built in the 15th Century and restored in the 17th Century. From imperial days, the yellow glaze-tiled double-eaves tower functioned as a rostrum for proclamations to the assembled masses. October 1, 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the new China. The tower has five doors and in front of it are seven bridges spanning a stream. Only the emperor could use the central door and bridge. On the top of the central door is a gigantic portrait of Chairman Mao with slogans on each side stating 'Long Live the People's Republic of China' and 'Long Live the Unity of the Peoples of the World'. Walking through the gate, you can enter the imperial city - Forbidden City with free charge while a panoramic view from the tower costs 15RMB for Foreigners.

Since yellow is the symbol of the royal family, it is the dominant color in the Forbidden City. Roofs are built with yellow glazed tiles; decorations in the palace are painted yellow; even the bricks on the ground are made yellow in special process. However, there is one exception. Wenyuange, the royal library, has a black roof. The reason is that it was believed black represented water then and could extinguish fire.

Nowadays, the Forbidden City, or the Palace Museum is open to tourists home and abroad. Splendid paintings on the royal architectures, grand and deluxe halls, and surprisingly magnificent treasures will certainly satisfy "modern civilians".


Beijing Zoo

Beijing Zoo, to the west of Beijing Exhibition Center, is actually a natural garden with dense groves of trees, stretches of grassland, a small stream, lotus pools and small hills dotted with pavilions and halls.

Beijing Zoo was called Wan Sheng Garden in the Qing Dynasty (literally it means the Garden of 10, 000 animals). After the Qing Dynasty was replaced by the Republic of China in 1912, this previous royal garden became an experimental filed for farming and animal husbandry. It was not until 6 years after the founding of the P. R. China in 1955, this garden was officially opened to visitors as the city zoo of Beijing. It is now the biggest zoo in China with the largest animal species and number.


Beihai Park

This park in the center of Beijing has an area of more than 70 hectares with a water surface of 39 hectares. To its north is Shishahai Lake and to its east is Jingshan Park. The Palace Museum is to its southeast, a short distance.

The imperial court of the Liao Dynasty a temporary palace on the site of present Beihai Park in the 10th century. During the following Jin Dynasty a lake was dug. The excavated earth was piled to make a hill. Around the lake and on the hill palatial halls, corridors and pavilions were erected. The imperial court of the Yuan Dynasty which came after the Jin expanded Jionghua Islet in the lake and made it the center of its capital Dadu City. During the Ming Dynasty five pavilions linked with zigzag bridges were built in the northwestern part of the lake. During the region of Emperor Qian Long (1736-1796) a large-scale project was carried on over 30 years, making the palace a grand imperial garden.

Beihai Park is composed of Tuancheng (Circulate City), Jionghua Islet, Eastern Shore Scenic Area and Northwestern Shore Scenic Area, with Jionghua Islet as the center. The small island is connected with other parts by a stone bridge and ferry boats.


The National Centre for the Performing Arts

The National Centre for the Performing Arts, formerly known as the National Grand Theatre[1], and colloquially described as The Egg, is an opera house in Beijing, China. The Centre, an ellipsoid dome of titanium and glass surrounded by an artificial lake, seats 6,500 people in three halls and is 200,000 m in size. It was designed by French architect Paul Andreu. Construction started in December 2001 and the inaugural concert was held in December 2007.

The location, immediately to the west of Tiananmen Square and the Great Hall of the People, and near the Forbidden City, combined with the theatre's futuristic design, created considerable controversy.[1] Paul Andreu countered that although there is indeed value in ancient traditional Chinese architecture, Beijing must also include modern architecture, as the capital of the country and an international city of great importance. His design, with large open space, water, trees, was specially designed to complement the red walls of ancient buildings and the Great Hall of the People, in order to melt into the surroundings as opposed to standing out against them.

The exterior of the theater is a titanium accented glass dome that is completely surrounded by a man-made lake. It is said to look like an egg floating on water. It was designed as an iconic feature, something that would be immediately recognizable, like the Sydney Opera House.
 
The National Grand Theatre, viewed from the North-East, from Jingshan Hill, with the Forbidden City in the foreground and the Great Hall of the People to the left.The dome measures 212 meters in east-west direction, 144 meters in north-south direction, and is 46 meters high. The main entrance is at the north side. Guests arrive in the building after walking through a hallway that goes underneath the lake. The titanium shell is broken by a glass curtain in north-south direction that gradually widens from top to bottom.


Beijing National Stadium

Beijing National Stadium, also known as the National Stadium, or colloquially as the "Bird's Nest", is a stadium in Beijing, China. The stadium was designed for use throughout the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

Located in the Olympic Green, the US$423 million stadium is the world's largest steel structure. The design was awarded to a submission from the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron in April 2003, after a bidding process that included 13 final submissions. The design, which originated from the study of Chinese ceramics, implemented steel beams in order to hide supports for the retractable roof; giving the stadium the appearance of a "Bird's nest". Ironically, the retractable roof was later removed from the design after inspiring the stadium's most recognizable aspect. Ground was broken in December 2003 and the stadium officially opened in June 2008. A shopping mall and a hotel are planned to be constructed to increase use of the stadium, which will host football events after the Olympics.


The Beijing National Aquatics Center

The Beijing National Aquatics Center also known as the Water Cube, or the "Ice Cube" is an aquatics center that was built alongside Beijing National Stadium in the Olympic Green for the swimming competitions of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Despite its nickname, the building is a cuboid (rectangular box), not a cube.

The structure had a capacity of 17,000 during the games that is being reduced to 6,000. It also has a total land surface of 65,000 square meters and will cover a total of 32,000 square metres (7.9 acres). Although called the Water Cube, the aquatic center is really a rectangular box (cuboid)- 178 meters (584 feet) square and 31 meters (102 feet) high.

 



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