Travelling to Beijing? Check out what not to miss…
With a surprise birthday organised for me in Beijing in 2012 and only 9 days to enjoy this enticing ancient city, you can still enjoy a memorable time mingling and jostling with over 20 million people, while discovering Beijing’s amazing sights. So, let’s start with the…
Summer Palace Bridge
The beautiful Summer Palace Bridge also known as the Seventeen Arch Bridge is the entrance to the Summer Palace built for royals and emperors to stay during the summer.
The picturesque manmade lake presents a tranquil entrance to the palace’s grounds and is also close to where you buy tickets to enter the palace.
The World Heritage Summer Palace stretches across 300 hectares overseeing the soothing manmade Kunming Lake and the imperial garden, which follows the traditional Chinese gardening of “one pond, three hills”.
Qingyi Yuan (Garden of Clear Ripples) was the original name, which was built in 1750.
During the 1860 war, the palace was mostly destroyed but once more restored in 1886, on the palace’s original foundation.
You can easily spend a relaxing day strolling through while visiting the Summer Palace and its superb grounds, which are four times the size of the Forbidden City.
Tourists can only enter the Forbidden City through the southern Meridian Gate (Wu Men), which was where each year on the first day of the 19th lunar month (Winter Solstice), the Emperor would announce the new lunar calendar.
After exploring Tian’anmen Square, linger longer through the imposing ceremonial Meridian Gate…
…which witnessed captives being offered in a ceremony by a general to the Emperor, to mark a war’s victory by “Accepting War Captives”.
Of course, an absolute must-see while in Beijing is the Forbidden City.
Just the name Forbidden City conjures up mystery and much intrigue but perhaps also sentiments of a little repression.
Commissioned during the Ming Dynasty in 1406, the Yongle emperor’s court officially occupied the city in 1420 and prohibited access to most of the realm’s subjects – forbidden to ordinary people. And so, the city was aptly named the Forbidden City.
The city wall’s architecture follows the traditional Chinese geomantic practice of feng shui and is also situated on a north-south axis.
Buildings that face south, honour the sun and are typically the most important buildings in the world’s largest imperial palace. Intricate roofs and eaves graced with animal figurines are built of a special glazed tile to repel dirt and bird droppings, so they always remain clean.
Leave yourself a good day or more if you have the time, to really explore the expansive and mesmerising Forbidden City, china’s imperial palace for 492 years.
Surrounded by an excavated moat known to locals as the Tongzi River (Tongzi He) – Pipe River – the serenity felt when walking this bilaterally symmetrical city is soothing. Wander around the entire city’s perimeter of 961 metres long and 753 metres wide, for unique photo angles.
Hall of Supreme Harmony
Located in the Forbidden City’s central axis, the impressive ceremonial Hall of Supreme Harmony is the city’s most prominent and China’s largest surviving wooden structure.
Built during the Ming Dynasty in 1421, fires destroyed the original hall seven times, with the final rebuild during 1695–1697. The inability to source large enough logs for the rebuild saw the hall reduced by 45% to its present size of just over 2,400 square metres.
Guwenhua Jie, Tianjin
Wanting to see Guwenhua Jie, Tianjin’s Ancient Culture Street’s pedestrian pathway complex, stippled with kiosks and temple gates, we head out for the day. Taking the metro to the main train station, the ticket seller knocks us back as we don’t have our passports.
As passports were not needed to make the short trip from Beijing to The Great Wall, who would think to bring passports to take a train trip that is only under two hours? Live and learn. Instead, decide that venturing more of Beijing for the day is a better idea as there’s always something that’s been missed in this great city.
Discover more about Beijing
If you missed my previous articles on Beijing’s great sights and where to stay on your thrilling Beijing experience, then head on over to these posts in Image Earth Travel, for free detailed information:
All of this incredible discovery and immersion in only 9 days, although still only scratched Beijing’s surface!
I love sharing travel adventures with you and hope to show you some unusual haunts along the way, so check back next week for part 2 of what not to miss in Beijing as there’s still more…