GO TO → ·Badaling Great Wall ·Forbidden City ·Temple of Heaven ·Summer Palace ·Hutong ·Happy Vally
Serving as the capital of China for more than 800 years, Beijing left us some of the finest remnants of China's imperial past. The forbidden City, The Temple of heaven, the Summer Palace, any of which can compare the most significant royal sights of the world, not to mention the Great Wall of China, just one and a half hours drive from downtown.
BADALING GREAT WALL
The Badaling Great Wall (Badaling Changcheng, 八达岭长城), constructed in 1502 (during the Ming Dynasty), once served as a crucial military fortification, and is now the most impressive and representative section of the striking Great Wall. It is located in Yanqing County, about 70 kilometers (43.4 miles) from the downtown area of Beijing. Twisting and turning at an altitude of 1,000 meters (3,281 feet), the Badaling Great Wall appears exceptionally lofty on the undulating mountains. It is an architectural marvel that has been praised by many leaders, from China and around the world. Both Richard Nixon and Margaret Thatcher visited this section of the wall, and in 1987 it was placed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO, a list reserved for destinations considered to have outstanding universal value.
As Badaling was once an important military strategy point, here the wall is comparatively high and firm. It has a length of 3,741 meters (2.3 miles) and it is equipped with dense watchtowers. The wall is about 8.5 meters (27.9 feet) high and slopes inward as it rises in height. The wall is 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) wide at its base, and its rim spans about 5.7 meters (18.7 feet) across. The wall's exterior is composed of large granite slabs that surround layers of loess and gravel. Its coping is made of large bricks that provide a smooth walkway, wide enough for ten people to easily walk side by side. A parapet on the coping once provided a defense barrier against assailants.
While the Badaling Great Wall has not served as a military fortification since the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it now hosts a number of modern attractions, including a Great Wall Museum and a Great Wall Cinema. The museum and cinema both provide information about the history and culture of the Great Wall.
CNY 45 (April 1-October 31)
CNY 40 (November1-March 31)
THE FORBIDDEN CITY
The Forbidden City (Zijin Cheng, 紫禁城), also named the Palace Museum (Gugong Bowuyuan, 故宫博物院), shares the honor of being one of five world-famous palaces with the Palace of Versailles in France, Buckingham Palace in England, the White House in the U.S. and the Kremlin in Russia. The palace, the most magnificent and splendid palace complex in China, was listed as a World Cultural Heritage Building in 1987. It was built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the construction of this group of buildings took fourteen years from 1406 to 1420. In the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it was the imperial palace where twenty-four emperors ascended the throne and exercised their strong power to the nation.
The palace has two primary parts: the Outer Court and the Inner Court. Some halls are converted into art galleries to exhibit paintings, clocks, bronze wares, pottery and other invaluable treasures. It is said that there are over 1,000,000 articles in this museum that account for one-sixth of such national treasures. Tourists can enter into the palace from the Wu Men (午门) or the Shenwu Men (神武门). It is impossible for visitors to see every corner of the palace in a single day. Let's start our virtual guide from the Wu Men to make our route clear.
Peak Season (Apr. 1 - Oct. 31) CNY 60
Off Season (Nov. 1 - Mar. 31) CNY 40
Peak Season 08:30-17:00
Off Season 08:30-16:30
TEMPLE OF HEAVEN
The Temple of Heaven (Tiantan Gongyuan, 天坛公园) is the grandest cult architecture complex in the world and a masterpiece of the Chinese people created in ancient times. It covers 2,700,000 square meters (667 acres), which is nearly four times the area of the Forbidden City. The temple was constructed in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and was enlarged during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Emperors of the two dynasties used to worship the heaven and pray for rich harvests, as the feudal emperors thought they were the son of the heaven.
This complex has two parts: the inner temple and the outer temple and is surrounded by two high walls. The two walls are elaborately constructed: the north section of walls is semicircular while the south section is square. This layout of walls reflects the ancient Chinese concept of the cosmogony: the sky is round and the earth is square. The primary buildings in the temple are the Altar of Prayer for Good Harvests in the north and Circular Mound Altar in the south. They are lined in the central axis of the whole temple and connected by a 36-meter-long bridge. Subsidiary buildings include Imperial Vault of Heaven, the Hall of Abstinence, a Bell Tower and relatively small halls.
CNY 35 April 1-October 31
CNY 30 November1-March 31
08:00-17:30 March 1-June 30
08:00-18:00 July 1-October 31
08:00-17:00 November1-Feburary 28
The Summer Palace (Yiheyuan, 颐和园), located in the northwestern outskirts of Beijing, is the largest and most famous imperial garden in China. The palace features hundreds of architecturally distinct buildings, halls, pavilions, pagodas, bridges and corridors dispersed among magnificent and elegant gardens. It has an area of 290 hectares (717 acres), three quarters of which is water. The palace has three unique areas: Court Area, Longevity Hill Area and Kunming Lake Area.
The garden was originally named the Garden of Clear Ripples (Qingyi, 清漪园). It was a summer resort for the emperors in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). In 1860, the garden was burnt down by the Anglo-French Allied Forces. In 1866, Empress Dowager Cixi rebuilt the garden using embezzled funds from the imperial navy and named it the Summer Palace. In 1900, during the Boxer Rebellion, the Eight-Power Allied Force ransacked the palace. After another reconstruction in 1903, the garden was restored to its original beauty and magnificence. As the grandest garden in China, it was added to the World Culture Heritage list in 1998.
Entrance Charge of the palace:
CNY30 April 1-October 31
CNY20 November1-March 31
CNY60 April 1-October 31
CNY50 November1-March 31
*A combined ticket includes entrance charge for the palace and charges for several famous parks in the palace.
06:30-18:00 April 1-October 31
07:00-17:00 November1-March 31
Inside scenic spots:
08:30-17:00 April 1-October 31
09:00-16:00 November1-March 31
The Hutongs (胡同) have a very special place in the rich history and culture of Beijing. Hutong now means a lane or an alley, formed by rows of siheyuan (a compound with buildings around a courtyard) where old Beijing residents lived. The word "hutong" originates from the word "hottog" which means "a well" in Mongolian, in ancient times villagers dug a well and then lived around it.
The hutongs came into existence in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) when Kublai Khan (first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty) founded Beijing as the capital. In the residential area, all closed courtyards were built in a neat layout, and the lanes served the purpose of going around. During that period, they were all 9.3 meters (30.5 feet) in width which let the sunshine in all the year round. In the later dynasties, small ones were formed within the existing lanes, as a result, hutongs now vary in width and length and some even have many turnings.
Of the more than 1,000 Hutongs left there are some distinctive ones, attracting thousands of tourists from home and abroad. The longest one is the Dongjiaominxiang Hutong (东交民巷胡同), with a total length of 6.5 kilometers (4 miles), lying between Chang'an Avenue and East and West Qianmen Streets. The shortest one is the Yichi Street Hutong (一尺街胡同), measuring about 25 meters (82 feet). The Jiuwan Hutong (九湾胡同), with about 13 turns, is the most tortuous one and can easily make you lost. The narrowest is the Qianshi Hutong (钱市胡同), measuring about 30 to 40 meters (32 to 44 yards), located in Zhubaoshi Street outside the Qianmen Gate. The narrowest part is merely 40 centimeters (16 inches) wide, so when two people meet, they must turn sideways to pass each other. The widest one is the Lingjing Hutong (灵境胡同) in Xicheng District. The one with the longest history is the Sanmiaojie Hutong (三庙街胡同), whose construction can be traced back to the Liao Dynasty (907–1125).
The Happy Valley (欢乐谷) is located in the southeast of the Square Bridge (Si Fang Bridge), the eastern fourth cycle road, Chao Yang Region. Presently, the opening area occupies approximately 540,000㎡ which is composed of the following six theme districts: Fiord Forest, Atlantis, Lost Maya， Aegean Harbor，shangri-La and Ant Kingdom. In the Happy Valley, more than 120 experience items are set up including more than 40 recreation facilities, 50 humanity ecological landscapes, 10 more article performances and no less than 20 theme games which can meet the need of different groups of people. The young people can enjoy the world’s six top recreation facilities such as the Cfystal God’s Wing and Titan Car. At the same time, they can also appreciate the romance and misery brought by Golden Mask Dynasty.
CNY 230 for adults and children above 4.9 feet (1.5 meters);
CNY 150 for children between 3.9 to 4.9 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters);
Free for children under 3.9 feet (1.2 meters).
Night Ticket: CNY 150 for adults and children above 3.9 feet (1.2 meters)
Note: The ticket fare includes the entrance ticket fee and almost all the entertainment activities and rides. There are still several entertainment items requiring extra pay.
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