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 1. The Palace Museum
The Palace Museum was commissioned by the third Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Emperor Yong Le. The palace was built between 1406 and 1420, but was burnt down, rebuilt, sacked and renovated countless times, so most of the architecture you can see today dates from the 1700’s and on wards. The Forbidden City was the seat of Imperial power for 500 years, and is now a major tourist attraction in China. The total area of the complex is 183 acres, so it takes quite a while to walk through, especially if you want to have a close look at everything. All together there are 9,999 1/2 rooms in the Museum, not all of which can be visited.
The Imperial Palace is rectangle architecture. It is 961 meters long from south to north and 753 meters wide. There is city wall with 10 meters height around and the moat outside of city wall is 52 meters wide. The Imperial Palace has 4 gates. The Gate of Divine Prowess(Shenwumen) on the north, Merdian Gate(Wumen) on the south, the Eestern Flowry Gate (Donghuamen) on the east, and the Western Flowery Gate (Xinhuamen) on the south, the Eestem Folwery Gate (Donghuamen) on the east, and the Western Flowery Gate (xinhuamen) on the west. There are 4 corner towers at the 4 coners of city wall and the whole area is 724.250 square meters.
On the whole, the Imperial Palace is divided into two parts: front court and back chamber. Not only in the Imperial Palace, the monarch bed chamber of Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty is divided like so. Front court of the Imperial Palace mainly includes the 3 palaces of mid-way and the Hall of Lierary Glory (Wenhuadian), the Pailion of the Source of Lierature(Wenyuange), Shang Si Court, Arrow tower, Imperial Hospital, Imerial Teahouse. Qing Embassy and Cabinet Warehouse of east way. And also Yu Ying Palace. Yan An Palace. Intermal Affairs Mansion , Building Office and Nan Xun Palace of west way. Back bedchamber includes Back Three Palaces of mid way (the Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qianqinggong), the Palace of Union and Peace (Jiaotaidian) and the Palace of Earthly Tranquility (Kunninggong).
East Six Palaces, Feng Xian Palace, Ning Shou Palace and the Palace of Abstinence(Zhaigong) of east way, West Six Palace, the Hall of Mental Cultivalion (Yangxindian), Ci Ning Palace, Ning Shou Palace kang Palace and Shou An Palace of west way. So you can choose on route or two routes among mid you can choose one route or two routes among mid way (outside court, intermal court travel route), west way (intenal cout west travel route) and east way (intenal court east and extenal east travel route). If you are non-group tourist, suggest you rent multi lingual guide record at Menidian Gate (Wumen) and retun when you go the Gate of Divine Prowess (Shenwumen). After you visit the Imperial Palace, you go out of the Gate of Dvine Prowess(Shenwumen), enter into Jingshan Park and overlook the panorama of the Imperial Palace . In addition, suggest you visit front-street of Jiangshan Park by manpower pedi-cab at cool night of summer. Shining lights are bright and Forbidden City is brilliant. Colored lights from all directions lighten Meridian Gate (Wumen), the Gate of Divine Prowess (Shenwumen) turret, palace wall and other main palaces.
Name:The Palace Museum
Address:No.4 Jingshan Front Street,Dongcheng District.
Transportation:Take No. 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 52, 57, 22, 54, 120, 802, special No.1 to Zhongshan Park stop or Tian An Men stop.
2. The Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven was initially built in the eighteenth year of the Ming Dynasty (in 1420). Situated in the southern part of the city, it covers an area of 273 hectares. It is a place where Emperors from both the Ming and Qing Dynasties' traveled to worship and to pray for good harvest. The northern part of the Temple is round in contrast to the southern part, which is square, implying that "the sky is round and the earth is square" to symbolize both heaven and earth. There are a lot of prominent places in this park such as the Circular Mound Altar, the Imperial Vault of Heaven, the Long Corridor, the Echo Wall, the Seven-Star Stone and many other areas of historic interest and panoramic beauty. In 1998, it was included in the "List of World Heritages" by the United Nation's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Did you know that there are wonderful sounds to experience while at the Temple of Heaven? It's worth your time to make a trip there during your visit? Here are two that will definitely make your experience an unforgettable one.
1. The legend of the echo from the Temple’s Echo Wall
There is a circular wall around The Imperial Vault of The Temple of Heaven, which many refer to as the Echo Wall. Legend has it that if you whisper at any point closest to the wall, it is said that one may be able to hear you clearly on the other side. It is said to be so clear that it almost sounds like talking on the phone.
2. The Heaven's Center Stone
There is a stone in the center of the Circular Mound Altar called the Heaven's Center Stone. Stand above it and shout loudly, you will hear the reverberation. Its a scenic spot that is one of the most frequented hot spots of the city. We’re almost sure you’ll enjoy your time there.
Address:No.1,Tiantan Road,Dongcheng District.
Transportation:7,17,20,35,36,69,71,105,106,110,120,692,707,729 to Tianqiao Station.
3. The Summer Palace
The history of Summer Palace extends as far back as 800 years. In 115 B.C, when the Jin Dynasty made Beijing--then called Yanjing-- its capital, it built an imperial palace that was then referred to as the Golden Hill Palace. The structure still remains on the present site of what residents and tourists both recognize as the Summer Palace of Beijing.
In 1750, Emperor Qianlong paid 4.48 million taels of silver, an equivalent of 140,000 kilograms, to invest in building the Garden of Clear Ripples. After a period of fifteen years, however, Emperor Qianlong made a decision to change the name of the hill to Longevity Hill in order to celebrate his mother’s birthday. He also named the nearby lake, Lake Kunming , because he wanted to follow the example of former Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty 156BC-87BC, who reigned from 140B.C to 87B.C. In these times, he also trained his army in the present day area of Xidan on the grounds of what many historians and tourists now know as Kunming Pool, 206BC-AD220.
In the year 1900, Summer Palace was invaded and ravaged by allied opposition forces who invaded China around this time. Much of the damage, however, was repaired and the structure was close to being fully recovered by 1902. Summer Palace subsequently became the residence of the Dowager Empress Cixi who spent a great deal of funding developing and beautifying the scenery and the surrounding areas of the palace.
With great reflections and a beautiful scenery of endless tales, Summer Palace remains to be one of the most widely visited places in Beijing. It is likely to grow in popularity as a scenic spot as the next decade brings more and more travelers into Beijing for both sightseeing and a cultural appreciation for historic landmarks.
Address:No.19,Xinjiangongmen Road,Haidian District.
4. The Great Wall at Badaling
The Great Wall at Badaling is located in Yanqing County, which is about 60 kilometers northwest of Beijing. It is widely known as the most representative section of the “Great Wall” from the Ming Dynasty. Well laid out with huge uniform bricks, the wall was built on the ridges of the mountains. Various beacon towers were erected at strategic points along the wall. Badaling is a place of strategic importance and its wall is both tall and sturdy. With its many beacon towers, the wall looks magnificent and best epitomizes the magnificence of traditional Chinese architecture.
Sitting at the highest point of the strategic pass leading to Beijing from the northwest, the Great Wall at Badaling consists of the main wall and several subordinate walls. It is flanked by steep mountains and popularly known as the “key to the northern gate.” Now 3,741 meters of the Great Wall at Badaling and 21 beacon towers are open to visitors.
The Great Wall at Badaling was listed in the first group of major historic sites under state protection in 1961. In 1987 it was included in the World Heritage List. In 1991 the Great Wall at Badaling, as a representative of China’s Great Wall, was granted the World Heritage Certificate by the United States. In that same year, it was selected as the best of the 40 best Chinese scenic spots. In 2001, it was among the first scenic spots to be awarded with a AAAA rank and in 2002 it again represented the Great Wall to receive a Guinness World Record issued by the Guinness Headquarters in the U.K.
The Great Wall at Badaling is a world-renowned scenic spot, and also an important place for receiving foreign guests, the visitor count by now has surpassed 130 million. More than 420 foreign leaders and heads of state, including Nixon, Reagan, Mandela, Queen Elizabeth II, Mrs. Thatcher, George W. Bush, and Vladimir Putin have at various times climbed the wall.
Today, holding more than 30 both domestic and international cultural and sports activities every year, the Great Wall at Badaling has become an embodiment of the peace and friendship among the world’s peoples. An International New-Year’s Hike has been held for nine years consecutively now and has become one of the eight world-famous New-Year outdoor activities. The Great Wall has also hosted such events as Pele’s soccer show, a concert by Japanese solo singer Saijo Hideki, magician Robert Gallup’s great escape and a second visit by Steven Hawking; the CCTV’s popular program “The Same Song” once held a major concert named “Witnessed by the Great Wall, Long Live the Love” on the wall. With their clearly positive themes, these various brand-new activities are being watched by people all around the world and thus these activities are exerting a profound influence on the world.
Address:In the southwestern part of Yanqing County
Open:6:30-19:00Transportation:Take 919 at Deshengmen to the final.
5. The Temple of Confucius
Located on Guozijian Street inside Anding Gate, the Temple of Confucius in Beijing is the place where people paid homage to Confucius during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The Temple of Confucius was initially built in 1302 and additions were made during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It has a total area of 22,000 square meters (5.4 acres). It is the second largest temple constructed for Confucius, the greatest thinker and educationalist in ancient China, ranking only behind the Temple of Confucius in Qufu, Shandong Province.
This temple consists of four courtyards. The main structures include Xianshi Gate (Gate of the First Teacher), Dacheng Gate (Gate of Great Accomplishment), Dacheng Hall (Hall of Great Accomplishment) and Chongshengci (Worship Hall). Dacheng Hall is the main building in the temple, where the memorial ceremony for Confucius was often held. Inside the temple one can see that 198 stone tablets are positioned on either side of the front courtyard, containing 51,624 names of Jinshi (the advanced scholars) of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. Also 14 stone stele pavilions of the Ming and Qing dynasties hold the precious historical information of ancient China.
In the temple, you can also find remarkable pictures like two flying dragons playing a pearl among clouds, which are believed to be used only in the imperial palaces because dragon stands for emperor in ancient China. From those, it is easy to imagine the importance of the Confucius Temple in the feudal society of China.
Address:No.13 Guozijianbei Street, Andingmennei,Dongcheng District.
Subway: Line2 or 5 to Yonghegong Station. Bus:13,116,684 to Guozijian Station.
6. The Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall
The Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall is a national scenic area and is one of the best places in Beijing to educate your children about the politics and development of Beijing. It was opened to the public on September 24th, 2004 and is an exhibition hall that specializes in displaying the history, conditions, and future of Beijing’s urban planning and development.
Through advanced technology, substantially vivid content, interesting ways that are often presented, the exhibition hall introduces the development history, urban patterns, and panoramic view of the modern urban planning. As a famous city with a vast, long history, it also displays the splendid future for city development.
Since the exhibition hall first opened, it has welcomed leaders from more than 70 countries and about one million visitors from both home and abroad. It has won high praise for its rich exhibitions and warm services. The reputation of the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall continues to improve and has become an important window that displays and highlights the city to the world. It is an important place where many politicians stop for state or foreign affairs. This exhibition hall is perhaps one of the most interesting places to understand the past, present, and future of Beijing. So head over there on your next day off and bring a guest with you.
Address:No.20 Dongda Road, Qianmen Gate, Dongcheng District.
Transportation:744, 9, 821, 729, 110, 703, 808, Te2, 848 to Qianmen stop.
7. Long Tan Park
Long Tan Park occupies a total area of 49.2 hectares. Approximately 19.47 hectares of this land mass are covered by water.
The scenic spots alternate with each other along the lake and the lake from the water is well known as one of the freshest areas to find water in the city. The park is also divided into six scenic areas.
Long Yin Pavilion Scenic Area is the unique pavilion in the Northern parks. Long Tan Scenic Area is composed of fourteen hillside areas. Letter-Dragon and Stone Forest Scenic Area is teeming with natural scenic spots and notable fixtures made of stone. The areas uniqueness comes from a history of famous calligraphers who penned many letters here and deliberated over their meanings. The story entitled Dragon written by famous calligraphers of the Qin and Han Dynasties, suggests that the area will always be a significant part of that time period and Dynasty. One can easily find a pond full of Lotus afloat across the lake from July to August of every year. Behind the Lotus Pond lies a Flower Island Scenic Area. Another area, the Dragon Gate Scenic Area, actually shares the starting point with the water-entrance of the Park. Upon entering, Dragon heads, made from stone, make an immediate impression upon those entering. Its easy to admire these fixtures as each structure allows fresh lake water to flow from the mouths of the dragon’s facade.
Surrounding the lake are rare stones that add a rare and unique essence to the area. It is truly an area that integrates culture and history together with beautiful artwork.
Address:No.8,Longtan Road,Dongcheng District.
Transportation: Take No. 6、12、60、116、807 to Beijing Amusement Park stop.
8. Ming City Walls Ruins Park
Ming City Walls Ruins Park (明城墙遗址公园) is one of the best parks in Beijing. It is located 3 kilometers from the center of the city, between the southeast turret and Chongwen Gate (崇文门) in the west. It is a scenic spot of ancient architectural relic. It was open to the public in 2002. The Ming City Wall, first built over 580 years ago, in 1419, or the 17th year of Emperor Yongle (永乐)'s reign in the Ming Dynasty, used to run about 40 kilometers. The remaining relic, which is about 1.5 kilometers long, used to be part of the inner city wall of Beijing. It is the longest section of the city wall remains in the city, and an important symbol of Beijing.
Topped with saplings, trees and a healthy head of vegetation, the last surviving slice of the Ming Inner City Wall (originally 40km in length) runs along the length of the northern flank of Chongwenmen Dongdajie ( 东大街), attached to a slender and pleasant strip of park. Leveled in the 1950s to facilitate transport and compromise the legacies of earlier dynasties, the city wall is perhaps Beijing's most conspicuous chunk of lost heritage.
Address:Dongbianmen, Dongdajie Street, Dongcheng District.
Transportation: take bus No.41、43、44、59、610、713、820 to Dongbian Men stop.
9. Shichahai Scenic Area
This scenic area contains the largest and best-preserved age-old block in the city. In the Yuan Dynasty it was the capital’s center for commerce. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, it was home to many high officials and men of many letters. After the Manchu takeover, the emperor-led Pure Yellow Banner Troops were stationed here. In 1992, the Standing Conference of the Beijing Government named it a scenic area of history and culture. Thereafter is was referred to as Shichahai, which is the name it has maintained to date. In 2002, the Shichahai area, which covers 1,467,000 square meters altogether, was designated as one of 25 historical and cultural protection zones of the city.
Shichahai has both a beautiful and unique scenery. A famous essay, once written in ancient times, says that during the Spring it is like the West Lake in Hangzhou; yet during the Summer it reminds one of the Qinghuai River in Nanjing. The poem, whose author is unknown, referred to the Autumn season as a time that makes Shichahai a blissful reminder of the Dongting Lake in Hunan. Shichahai has the densest collection of cultural tourism resources, having altogether 40 historic sites under protection, with three of them under national protection. The best known among them are Prince Gong’s Mansion, which used to be the residence of He Shen, the most avaricious minister of the Qing Dynasty, and the Yinding Bridge, which is known as the best place to view mountain side near the area.
Shichahai has rich historical legacies and a number of well preserved Hutongs, Quadrangle Dwellings, mansions and gardens. It has a vast cultural heritage within the walls of the temples, halls, and distinguished former residencies which are now historical sites. These areas are harmoniously blended with natural scenery and with distinctive folk customs. In recent years, bars, homely restaurants and hotels in some Quadrangle Dwellings have began to sprout in this neighborhood, making this place more fashionable to tourists. The tradition and aesthetics of this time period attracts about five million tourists each year from home and abroad. In 2005, it was listed by the Chinese National Geography Center as one of the five best city blocks in China for ‘being fashionably next door to Zhongnanhai.’
Each year, the cultural tourism festival is held in Shichahai. Several ‘Hutong Tours have been set up which convey a different, albeit important side of the area. The area of Shichahai has become a well-known scenic spot among expats living within the city. Tourists may experience the genuine culture of Beijing by joining the tours of Prince Gong’s Mansions, seeing the old streets, ancient temples, former residencies, the city gate towers, the boating areas, the old bars and accommodation arrangements of the Quadrangle Dwellings. It is well worth the visit as it lends one an image into the life of the old city. Take a trip there during your next day off. Bring a friend or a co-worker or simply head there on your own to reflect.
Its a great place to appreciate the days of the past and the future that lies ahead.
Address:Opposite the north gate of Beihai Park, Di’anmen West Street, Xicheng District
Transportation:take 13、42、107、111、118、810、823、612 to Beihai Benmen stop.
10. Beihai Park
West of the Forbidden City and Jingshan Park is Beihai Park. Beihai Park is one of the oldest, largest, and best-preserved of all the ancient imperial gardens in China and it is conveniently located in the very center of Beijing. Beihai literally means the "Northern Sea." There are also corresponding "Central" and "Southern Seas" — both are located in an area called Zhongnanhai. This region is also quite famous because it houses China's paramount leaders.
Beihai’s ancient gardens, over 1,000 years old, reflect not only a classic combination of the grandiosity of Chinese northern gardens and the refinement of the southern gardens of China, but also perfectly integrate magnificent imperial palaces with solemn religious construction.
Towering over the central islet is the 36-meter high White Dagoba, which was built to honor the visit of the fifth Dalai Lama in 1651 and is one of the more impressive sights on the skyline. Local residents can be seen using the space for Tai Chi and water calligraphy, using large brushes and water on the stone cobble.
Admission:10 yuan; another 2 yuan for the Circular City and 10 yuan for the White Pagoda Address:No.1 Wenjin Street,Xicheng District .
Open:06:00 - 18:00
Transportation: Buses 5, 101, 103, 109 for the front gate; Buses 13, 42, 105, 107, 111, or 118 for the back gate.
11. Prince Gong's Mansion
Prince Gong's Mansion is located near Shichahai Lake, to the northwest of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The private residence of He Shen, a favorite minister of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it was built in 1777. In 1851, the mansion was bestowed upon Prince Gong by Emperor Xianfeng (1851-1862), hence the name. Sole prince's mansion open to the public, it is the most well preserved mansion in Beijing.
Two stone lions guard the main gate, and magnificent buildings stand to the fore of the mansion, with an elegant garden at the rear. On the wall of the main hall hangs a plaque inscribed with three characters "Bao Guang Shi" in the calligraphy of Emperor Xianfeng.
The buildings at the forefront of the mansion are on three axes, and apart from a two-story building consisting of ninety-nine and half rooms, all are in traditional style. Duofu Study is on the eastern axis, and its structure is in the Ming style. On each of the two side axes are four courtyards, the second courtyard on the western axis being strikingly spacious. In the third courtyard, called Xijin Studio, there is a seven-roomed, exquisitely furnished hall. All the beams and pillars are made of nanmu, and its sandalwood partitions are reminiscent of those found in Ningshou Palace in the Forbidden City. Between the buildings and the rear garden there stands a 165-meter-long two-story building.
The garden in Prince Gong's Mansion is named Cuijin, meaning concentrated cream of the most beautiful flowers, and to this day it lives up to its name. The garden covers 28,000 square meters, and is surrounded by man-made hills on four sides. The main peak, constructed from Taihu rocks, is in the north. The garden has an arched stone gate in typical Western architectural style, and upon entering the garden, one can see the five-meter high Dule Peak, which is a rock procured from Lake Tai in southern China. Behind it is the Bat Pond (Bat is a homonym of happiness in Chinese). Beyond the pond stands the Anshan Hall and opposite, at the center of the garden, is a hill bearing a stone tablet inscribed with the Chinese character "fu" (happiness) in the calligraphy of Emperor Kangxi (1662-1723). Behind the hill are masterpieces of garden architecture, with more than 20 scenic spots. In addition to its artificial hill, trees, flowers, pavilions and terraces, the garden also contains the unique feature of its own theater.
This theater is lofty and spacious, with subtle lighting, and on its walls Chinese wisteria and green leaves are painted, giving the audience the feeling they are sitting beneath trellises. The floor is paved in pseudo-gold brick, and the seats consist of old-fashioned wooden armchairs furnished with square tables. The performers and the audience are in close proximity, so there is no need for audio amplifying equipment. Here, people can enjoy kunqu, Peking Opera and imperial music, a unique experience full of Qing historical significance.
12. Beijing Happy Valley
Happy Valley is the capital's answer to Disneyland. Divided into six themed regions (Wild Fjord, A Greek Village-Atlantis, Aegean Harbor, a Mayan temple, the Tibetan Shangri-La and an Ant Kingdom), Happy Valley's 120 attractions aren't just a series of daredevil rides, although there are these available for the eager thrill seeker. Beijing's newest amusement park also offers exhibits, sculptures, performances and an IMAX theatre.
Among the scream-inducing rides on offer are:
• “The Crystal Wing" (Shui Jing Shen Yi, Chinese:水晶神翼), Asian's only flying roller coaster and the single most expensive amusement attraction to be found in China. The stunning coaster is built by Swiss manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) with the same design and layout as the three Superman rides in the United States.
• Titan Truck's Apollo Wheel (Tai Yang Shen Che, Chinese:太阳神车) , the largest Asian Pendulum;
• ‘Golden Wings in Snowfield’ (Xue Yu JIn Chi, Chinese:雪域金翅), in which riders sit with legs dangling, is a short burst of adrenaline;
• “Twin Tower Heroes” (Tian Di Shuang Xiong, Chinese:天地双雄) in which riders fall at 45 mph (72 km/h) in a terrifying simulated plunge to earth, is heart-stopping.
• “Trojan Horse” (Te Luo Yi Mu Ma, Chinese: 特洛伊木马) where visitors are spun within a large wooden horse. There’s decent stuff for kids, too, especially in the Ant Kingdom, with cute rides such as ‘Jumping Frog’ and ‘Bug’s Party’, as well as games and arts and crafts. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Chinese theme park without surreal elements, and the daily ‘Parade of Insects Carnival’ in Ant Kingdom delivers, with giant dancing ants and chickens, ice queens and incongruous cosplay characters prancing around with tennis racquets.
The biggest complaint is queuing times – at 3pm on a Sunday, there’s an hour-long queue for ‘Crystal Wing’, so it’s a good idea to get there early.
13. Yuanmingyuan Ruins Park
Located in the Haidian district in Western Beijing, Yuanmingyuan shares bounds with the Summer Palace. Firstly established in the 46th year during Emperor Kangxi’s reign (1707), it was composed of three gardens, namely, Yuanming, Changchun (Garden of Eternal Spring) and Qichun (Garden of Blossoming Spring). Covering an area of 350 hectares (over 5,200 mu), among which 140 hectares (2,100 mu) are of water, containing more than one hundred scenic spots, it’s a large-scale imperial garden with an construction area of over 160,000 square meters run by the Qing emperors for over 150 years.
Yuanmingyuan has inherited the traditions of Chinese gardens during over 3,000 years, with a combination of both the grandeur of imperial buildings and the exquisiteness of private gardens in Yangtze River Delta. It absorbs the European style and melts distinctive features together to create an overall harmonious beauty. It deserves the remark “although made by people, it resembles nature”.
Yuanmingyuan was not only well known for its landscape and gardens. It was also an imperial museum with a vast collection. The French writer Victor Hugo once remarked, “With all its treasures, Notre Dame in Paris is no match for Yuanmingyuan, that enormous and magnificent museum in the East”. Halls there were decorated with numerous Rosewood furniture and precious treasures both at home and abroad. The Wenyuan Hall (Hall of Literary Profundity), being one of the four most famous imperial libraries, originally housed such precious ancient books as The Complete Library of Four Branches of Books, The Completed Collection of Graphs and Writings of Ancient and Modern Times and Gems of the Complete Library of Four Branches of Books, and so on.
Unfortunately, this well-known garden suffered raids and destruction of the Anglo-French Allied Forces in October 1860. Then after numerous ravages and ruin, it became a wasteland at last. Through hardships and tortures, it resembles part of the history in Modern China with astonishing values.
The burning of Yuanmingyuan: In the 10th year during Emperor Xianfeng’s reign (1860), Anglo-French Allied Forces seized Beijing and occupied the garden on October 6th. Chinese soldiers were too few to fight against them that the Minister General Wenfeng killed himself by jumping into the Fuhai Lake. For two days, the allied forces sacked Yuanmingyuan for its way into the city. On October 11, an army of over 1,200 troopers and soldiers once again was sent to loot. James Blues, the British representative, made it a prerequisite for peace negotiation to burn it on the excuse of imprisoning Parkes there.
14. Shidu Scenic Area
The Shidu Scenic Area is located along the middle and upper reaches of the Juma River in the Fangshan District. It lies about one hundred kilometers away from downtown Beijing. There are ten river bends along each segment of the river, each of which has a ferry crossing area. Because of this, Shidu was given its name, which when literally translated, means "the ten crossings."
This area is the only natural scenic spot in north China that is characterized by eroded limestone forests and river valley topography. There is beautiful scene at each ferry crossing. The terrain is also varied. As such, the winding river is deep in one place and shallow in another, yet broad in one area and narrow in another. As well, the rolling hills sometimes undulate sharply and sometimes slightly. Such is the makings of this scenic spot's distinctive style.
Dubbed the "Guilin of the North," the landscape here combines the majesty of north China and the grace of south China. The scenic spots includes the Juma Garden, the Gushan Mountain Village, the Pudu Mountain Villa, the Cemetery of Martyrs (from the war against Japanese invaders at the Pingxi battlefield), the Fairy Dwelling Cave, the Donghu Valley, and the Xihu Valley. Convenient amenities make Shidu a very attractive tourist destination.
Tourists may also enjoy recreational activities such as bungee jumping, cliff parachuting, ropeways, rock climbing, river drifting, paddle boating, kayaking, surfing, motor boating, sunbathing and horse riding. To date, nearly 200 films and TV programs have chosen Shidu for location shootings.
Its a great place for visiting with your family during your next visit to Beijing.
15. Ming Tombs
50 kilometers northwest from Beijing City lies the Ming Tombs - the general name given to the mausoleums of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). The mausoleums have been perfectly preserved, as has the necropolis of each of the many emperors. Because of its long history, palatial and integrated architecture, the site has a high cultural and historic value. The layout and arrangement of all thirteen mausoleums are very similar, but vary in size as well as in the complexity of their structures.
It was originally built only as Changling, the tomb of Emperor Zhu Di and his empresses. This is the most magnificent of the tombs. The succeeding twelve emperors had their tombs built around Changling.
Only the Changling and Dingling tombs are open to the public. Changling, the chief of the Ming Tombs, is the largest in scale and is completely preserved. The total internal area of the main building is 1956 square meters. There are 32 huge posts, the largest measuring about 14 meters in height. It entombs Emperor Zhudi, the fourth son of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. Travel China Guide recommends the Ling'en Palace in its second yard as really deserving a visit. This is unique, as it is the only huge palace made of camphor wood. It covers about 1956 square meters. The ceiling is colorfully painted and supported by sixteen solid camphor posts. The floor was decorated with gold bricks.
Unlike Changling, Dingling is underground and about 27 meters deep. It is the mausoleum of Emperor Zhu Yijun, the thirteenth emperor who occupied the throne the longest during the Ming Dynasty, and his two empresses. The main features are the Stone Bridge, Soul Tower, Baocheng and the Underground Palace, which was unearthed between 1956 and 1958. The entire palace is made of stone. The Soul Tower is symbolic of the whole of Dingling and forms the entrance to the underground chambers. The yellow glazed tiles, eaves, archway, rafters and columns are all sculptured from stone, and colorfully painted. The entire construction is stable and beautiful!
Served by three stone doors, it is divided into three Halls consisting of five high palaces - the front, the middle, the rear, the left, and the right palaces. The Gate of the Tomb, the Gate of Eminent Favor and the Lingxing Gate all possess the same structural form.
16. Qinglong Gorge Scenic Area
Located 20 kilometers northwest of Huairou, the so-called "black dragon" valley is home to a reservoir spanning 55.6 km², part of which is open to tourists for boating and yachting. Besides that, the mountain has a wild section of the Great Wall that has not been renovated. The hills here are not as steep as Longqing Gorge, while unique views of the Great Wall add much appeal. It is best to take a cable car up the mountains, explore by foot, and then walk down. The area offers various activities, including bungee jumping, hang gliding, and many various water activities. Visitors can either paddle on bamboo rafts and boats in the one meter deep southern part of the reservoir, or cruise on a boat in the northern part, where the waters run 40 to 50 meters deep. The apex of the gorge is called the Platform of the Jade Emperor and offers a wonderful view of the surrounding areas.
17. The Southern Gong and Drum Lane
The Southern Gong and Drum Lane is one of the oldest streets in Beijing. It is popular with a lot of tourists and expats who like the many shops, restaurants and bars.
The Southern Gong and Drum Lane has the reputation of being one the oldest Hutongs in Beijing. This street is now a favorite shopping, bar and restaurant street for tourists and expats, and some of the stores and restaurants are owned or staffed by expats. So for example, you can find authentic Indian food in a restaurant owned by real Indians, buy shirts at a t-shirt shop owned by a British man, or shop for ceramics in a store staffed by a Philippine. The shops and restaurants know how to cater to foreign tastes. Some of the places are upscale and designed for expat executives working in the area. The street is popular among young people, and it is less expensive then upscale places in Beijing like Hou Hai. So it is a more relaxed shopping and eating street popular with tourists who want to save money and with young people.
A Hutong is a Chinese street that was walled in by the residences on both sides and gated. The Southern Gong and Drum Lane was a Hutong that had neatly laid out straight branch Hutongs along it. Sites along it that you can see include the Royal Residence of Seng, Ke Yuan, and the Bar Street.
Address: Southern Gong and Drum Lane, South Gate, Di’anmen East Street, Dong Cheng Qu.
Tips: Chinese sellers often work Sundays and then take the day off on Mondays. If you go before dinner hours on Monday, you might find some shops and restaurants closed.
18. Sanlitun Village
Sanlitun Village is yet another metropolitan area of the city where Beijingers go for shopping or to seek entertainment. As well, there are numerous cultural activities for one to enjoy taking place there, such as festivals or live entertainment. Located on the East side of the city, this area is perhaps one of the most frequented areas of the metropolis.
Sanlitun Village contains some of the most fashion forward stores and luxury brands. The range of coffee shops and eateries are stellar when compared to other areas of the city. Mostly known for their comfort  as well as their atmosphere of diversity, this spot is teeming with foreigners perusing the city who may not be there on business but to enjoy the nightlife of the city instead. 
Tip: Check out the Meijia Huanle Cinema, which has eight huge silver screens and seats a total of 1700 people. Its a great place for parents and children to enjoy a weekend together. Or, even the company of an old friend will do.
19. SOLANA Lifestyle Shopping Park
SOLANA Lifestyle Shopping Park brings in the widespread commercial style by borrowing ideas from the world-famous shopping centers and integrates it with the popular consumption trends in Beijing in order to forge the first Lifestyle Shopping Park in China. It is not only regarded as the walk signs meeting the international fashion but also the shopping kingdom and gathering space full of bright sunshine and limpid water.
SOLANA Lifestyle Shopping Park combines the profound commercial styles and the excellent environment and displays its charm among the vast lake in Chaoyang Park and the clear water of Liangma River. SOLANA Lifestyle Shopping Park has the exquisite waterscape, the beautiful air garden and the SOLANA Brand Forest, which are the rare landscapes among the concrete buildings in cities.
The Park has 19 two to three-storey Euro-style buildings with rich exotic atmosphere and is divided into various areas such as Meridian Department Store, SOLANA MALL, Vivid Center, Brand Street, Dinning Street, Landmark Wharf Bar Street and Central Plaza, covering more than 1,000 famous brands, more than 600 famous retail stores, more than 30 restaurants, more than 20 waterfront bars, Saga Cinema, all-Star Skating club and large KTV complexes with private rooms.
SOLANA Lifestyle Shopping Park is popular, fresh and full of pleasures. People can find the right lifestyle of them. It is also very popular with the whole household, which can enjoy the pleasant time together here. SOLANA Lifestyle Shopping Park is a place to get the different enjoyment in Beijing.
20. Beijing 798 Art Center
In Beijing’s northeast corner, there is an Arts Zone built based on a factory of 50′s last century, which named 798. It is located in Chaoyang District, Beijing Dashanzi street district was also known as Dashanzi Art District. Formerly, there was lot of old electronics factories like 798 in this place. 798 Art Zone is a very great region to more than 60 million square meters.
Since 2001 some artists from Beijing and began to gather at 798 factory, they use the artists unique vision fund this place has unique advantages in the arts. They made full use of original factory style, a little decoration and finishing turned into a display of distinctive art and creativity. This unique 798 Art Zone has caused the current international media and public attention and has become a new landmark in Beijing Urban Culture.