As the capital of China, Beijing is one of the world's truly imposing cities. With a 3,000-year history, it has been the heart and soul of
Chinese politics, and society, for centuries and consequently there is an unparalleled wealth of discoveries to delight and intrigue visitors.

Rich in history, Beijing has been China’s capital for more than seven centuries. China’s imperial past and political present meet at
Tiananmen Square, where the Forbidden City palace of the emperors gives way to the Great Hall of the People Congress Building.

The Forbidden City was the imperial palace complex of 24 Ming and Qing dynasty emperors. Surrounded by 10 meter (32 ft.) high walls
and gates and a 50m (164 ft.) wide moat, it was inaccessible to ordinary Chinese people. The Forbidden city has a total
of 9999.5 rooms,once well populated by imperial family members, their servants, staff, officials and guards.
Why and where is the half room?This concept is related to Chinese tradition and culture. You will find the answer during your tour.

The Summer Palace, a large park of 716 acres, was formerly the imperial garden retreat from the summer heat of Beijing. Surrounding hills
shelter the site, and the Kunming Lake provides a cooling effect. The site was used as an imperial park as early as the mid-12th century,
and continued as an imperial garden in the Ming and Qing dynasties.
The Temple of Heaven is a complex of ritual buildings. The halls and altars there are round, symbolic of heaven. A counterpart Earth Altar,
in the north of the city, uses the square profile symbolic of earth; and temples of the sun (in the east) and moon (in the west) complete a
ceremonial surrounding for Beijing that made it not only a political capital but also a ritual centre, shaped in the form of a cosmic diagram.

The Great Wall is perhaps China’s most famous and most mythologized site. The wall is most often associated
with the First Emperor of China (Qin Shi Huangdi, 221-210 BC), who first unified China by conquest, then mobilized massive conscripted
labour forces, including convicts and prisoners (by some accounts up to a million strong), to construct the wall. While the Great Wall had
real military defensive functions, it also served as a symbolic reminder of dynastic authority; as well as highlighting the cultural distinction
between the settled agrarian culture, and cities, on the Chinese side and the pastoral horsemen on the other.
It continues today to serve as a marker of cultural and national identity.

After exploring the best of ancient China, visitors can touch the pulse of modern China, for example as embodied
by the 2008 Olympic Games stadiums with their outstanding architecture. Back to Destinations List