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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 13, 2018
Headline for Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Beijing – The 'Peking' of Ancient China
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Beijing – The 'Peking' of Ancient China

The political centre of China for 800 years, Beijing, still popularly known as Peking, is the nation's second-largest city behind Shanghai. The place is a hub for culture, science and traditions; listed are some of its top attractions.

1

The Imperial Palace and Forbidden City

The Imperial Palace is China's iconic attraction, dating back to the 13th century when the Yuan Dynasty ruled. The huge girth of the place is attributed to the many additions which were made from 1406 to 1420 during the reign of the Ming Dynasty. The place grew in importance once the capital was moved to Beijing from Nanking; thus, this splendid site has been a home to over 24 Qing and Ming Emperors. As ordinary citizens were not allowed inside, the place earned its rather intriguing nickname, the 'Forbidden City'. Explore the walls, gates, moats and the beautiful buildings. A mere 25-minute drive from Ascott Beijing, you should reserve half a day to explore this 720,000 sq. mt. marvel.

2

Tiananmen Square

Referred to as the 'Square of Heavenly Peace', this square was designed to hold up to a million people! Constructed in 1958 in commemoration of the Chinese Republic's 10th anniversary, the square's most iconic moment was in 1919 when protests were held by students against the Treaty of Versailles. Attractions such as the 'Monument to the People's Heroes' which is a giant 38-metre high obelisk of granite and marble can be found here as well as the elegant Tiananmen Gate, or the Gate of Heavenly Peace. This was once the main entrance to the Forbidden City and was constructed in 1417. Easy to reach from a centrally located Beijing serviced apartment, this historic site is well worth a visit.

3

Beihai Park

One of Beijing's oldest Imperial Gardens, Beihai Park is just a few minutes from the Imperial Palace. Set up in the 10th century the park is named after the Lake Beihai, also called the North Lake, which is nearby. Some fascinating features within the park are the Round Fort from the Yuan Era dating back from 1271 to 1368, a large black jade vase which dates back to the 12th century and the beautiful Hall of Enlightenment; constructed in 1690 this elegant complex features a one and a half metre tall Buddha statue carved out of a single piece of white jade. These are just a few of the attractions, amongst many more, take your time to explore and discover the many allures of Beihai Park.

4

The Temple of Heaven

Tiantan or the Temple of Heaven dates back to the 15th century. The complex is made up of a number of buildings deemed the most sacred in Beijing. The temples are surrounded by beautiful gardens and are clustered into two sections; one is a semi-circle and the other rectangular which together are symbolic of heaven and earth.

5

Beijing National Stadium

Made famous by the 2008 Summer Olympics, the National Stadium, nicknamed the Birds Nest, is a must-see. The structure has been influenced by the design style of classical Chinese ceramics and plays venue to a number of events which take place on a regular basis. Next door, the National Aquatics Centre, with its cube shape is another must visit, for its extraordinary features and night-time appeal.