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Beijing

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Beijing is a great city, famous Tiananmen Square is big enough to hold one million people, while the historic Forbidden City is home to thousands of imperial rooms and Beijing is still growing. The capital has witnessed the emergence of more and higher rising towers, new restaurants and see-and-be-seen nightclubs. But at the same time, the city has managed to retain its very individual charm. The small tea houses in the backyards, the traditional fabric shops, the old temples and the noisy street restaurants make this city special.
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Do and see
Beijing is heaven for sightseeing fans. The city boasts well-known historic sites as well as many temples that attract thousands of visitors every year. The nearby Great Wall of China is clearly a must-see. Below is a list of some of the city’s major tourist attractions.
Tiananmen Square
The 400,000 square metres large area is a key historic centre of Beijing. It was here that the former Communist Party leader, Mao Zedong, declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China on 1st October, 1949. Today, thousands of visitors come here every year to see Mao’s remains in the mausoleum. Visit the Great Hall of the People that houses the country’s National People’s Congress and admire the 15th century Qianmen City Gate, which once divided Beijing’s ancient inner city and the suburban areas.
The Forbidden City
Built by Emperor Yongle in the early 15th century, the 720,000 square metres of Forbidden City was home to the imperial household. It was opened to the public in 1949. The well-preserved area boasts more than 800 buildings and 9,999 rooms. The Hall of Supreme Harmony, beautifully decorated with thousands of Dragons, was used to celebrate the Chinese emperor’s birthday. The Palace of Heavenly Purity served as the emperors’ living area and features several bedrooms.
Summer Palace
The Summer Palace was once used by the imperial family as a retreat from the stress of Beijing city life. The grounds include a range of buildings and gardens including the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, as well as the stunning Fragrant Buddha Tower, which offers superb views of Kunming Lake.
Temple of Heaven
This enormous park was built in the early 15th century, around the same time the Forbidden City was constructed. The park hosts several intriguing buildings. In the north of the park, a stone carved stairway leads up to the entrance of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests with its cylindrical blue-tiled roof and a beautifully decorated ceiling. It was struck by lightning and burnt to the ground in 1889 but was carefully reconstructed the following year. The Hall of Abstinence was used by emperors for fasting. In the south you will find the Round Altar—a three-tiered marble platform.
798 Art Zone
This well-known art centre is based inside a defunct, 1950s concrete factory. It features photographic exhibitions, video installations and other art themes.
Liulichang
This street is a must for antique-hunters: be it Chinese paintings, ancient books, calligraphy brushes or ink stones you are sure to find it on Liulichang. A favourite among calligraphers and scholars in the old days, the 750 metres long street was restored and expanded in the late 1980s.
The Great Wall of China
Undoubtedly one of the world’s top tourism destinations, the Great Wall is a stunning monument stretching over 5,000 kilometres and is even visible from space. When in Beijing, the most convenient place to view the wall is from Badaling in Yanqing County, situated around 70 kilometres from the Chinese capital. Take one of the Tourist Buses leaving from Qianmen Station or Bus 919 departing from Deshengmen Station. Other sights open for tourists to explore the wall are Mutianyu, Huanghuacheng, Simatai and Jinshanling.
Yonghegong Lamasery (Lama Temple)
Originally built in 1694 as the residence of the future Yongzheng Emperor, this complex of beautifully designed buildings was transformed into a Tibetan Buddhist Temple in the mid-18th century. The Falun Dian, the temple’s teaching and assembly hall, features a large bronze statute of Tsongkapa, the founder of the Buddhist Yellow Hat sect.
Information
Beijing Capital International Airport
The Beijing Capital International Airport is located around 27 kilometers north of Beijing´s city centre. At present, the airport consists of three terminals. The cheapest way to into town is to take CAAC´s comfortable airport shuttle bus. The ride takes between 40-90 minutes, depending on traffic and origin/destination. The shuttles leave the airport from outside gates 11-13 in the arrival level of Terminal 2. Buses depart every 15-30 minutes. There is also an airport express train called ABC or Airport to Beijing City. The airport express covers the 27.3 km distance between the airport and the city in 18 minutes, connecting Terminals 2 and 3, to Sanyuanxiao station in Line 10 and Dongzhimen station in Line 2.
Public Transport
The subway is the best way to move around the city and avoid traffic jams in Beijing. Currently, there are 8 lines in operations, including the newly-opened ABC, or Airport to Beijing City airport line, Line 10 and the Olympic Branch line. The five existing lines are, Line 1, Line 2 or the Loop Line, Line 5, Line 13 and the Batong Line. The subway runs from 5 am to midnight daily. Subway stations are marked by blue signs with a "D" (for Ditie or subway) in a circle. Route signs are in Bilingual.
Taxi
Taxis are the default mode of transportation for most foreigners in Beijing. As many as 3 million people take the cab everyday so fear not, you will never ran out of taxis in this city. There are at least 70,000 cabs in Beijing. Have your destination written down in Chinese. Beijing taxi drivers are generally honest and friendly. Expect to get your change and tipping is discouraged. Taxi from the airport to the city centre takes approximately around 50 minutes, depending on the traffic. Ask for your receipt by saying "Fapiao." The Beijing Bureau of Communications takes complaints concerning taxis, minibus or other vehicles. No operator, but an English recording that gives instructions for faxing your complaint—which of course will mitigate your anger right away. Tel No. +86 10 6835 1150.
Post
Jianguomen Post Office
Pharmacy
Shidai Golden Elephant Pharmacy
Electricity
220 Volt
Telephone
Country code: +86 Area code: (0)10
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