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Beijing City Tours - City Guide, Attractions, Heritage, Culture & History

 

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  • These years, Beijing has seemed to be the only counterparts of Washington. D.C throughout the world, thanks to its considerable development in economy and rising of world status. It undoubtedly serves as an international center of politics, culture, economy and life, except a fog capital similar to London in the past, due to the serious air pollution and influence of sandstorm and smog. However, Beijing is always Beijing, the heart of socialistic mainland China, or the heart of the cock, which is the shape of Chinese map.

    Beijing is the national capital city of China, and one of four municipalities under the direct management of central governments together with Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing. According to many encyclopedias’ explanation, it is the center of Chinese politics, culture, science-technology research, education, international communications, economy and finance, and today it is also the hub of anti-corruptions since President Xi Jinping and Primer Li Keqiang held the power.

    In tourism, Beijing is the first must-see city of China. It is adjacent to Tianjin, Hebei province and administrates Dongcheng District, Xicheng District, Chaoyang District, Haiding District, Fengtai District, Shijingshan District, Mentougou District, Fangshan District, Daxing District, Tongzhou District, Shunyi District, Changping District, Pinggu District, Huairou District, Miyun County and Yanqing County. It is a mega-metropolis in the world, and one of ancient imperial capitals of China. Beijing is also the city in possession of the largest number of world cultural heritage sites in the world, and it is the world’s first city with global Geopark. In accordance with the historical records, Beijing has a more than 3000 years’ history as a city, and nearly 900 years’ history as a national capital city. For more to read about all the aspects of Beijing, some themes we provide as below:

    zhu di statue in Ming Tombs
    This is the huge statue of Zhu Di, the Emperor Chengzu of Ming Dynasty, in Chang Mausoleum of Ming Thirteen Tombs in Beijing


    Beijing History

    Beijing in history of China has a great status. There are many websites or encyclopedias offering the quite academic and long introduction to the history of Beijing from the primitive time to modern China. We just select the highlights of Beijing history to share with our readers, mainly in the aspect of Beijing as the capital of China or the states of China.

    Dynasties or Eras

    Locations

    Names

    Ji(蓟)

    The outside of Guangan Gate, Beijing

    Ji Capital was the settlements of descendants of Emperor Yao since Zhou Era administrated China

    Yan State
    (Century 11 BC -222BC)

    Liulihe Town, Fangshan District, Beijing

    Yan Capital was the capital of Yan State, a power of China in the era of Spring and Autumn.  

    The outside of Guangan Gate, Beijing

    Ji Capital, a small kingdom capital established by the descendants of Emperor Yao and later merged by Yan State   

    Tang Dynasty
    (618-907)

    The outside of Guangan Gate, Beijing

    Fanyang, or Yan was An Lushan’s rebellion government capital city 

    Five Dynasties
    (907-960)

    The outside of Guangan Gate, Beijing

    The capital city of Grand Yan Kingdom established by Liu Rengong

    Liao Dynasty
    (907-1125)

    The outside of Guangan Gate, Beijing

    South Capital, due to the Liao Empire ruled the north China, especially the northeast area; Beijing was a southern city to them. So it was named South Capital or Nanjing

    Jin Dynasty
    (1115-1234)

    The outside of Guangan Gate, Beijing

    Middle Capital, or Zhongdu, was established by Nvzhen Ethnic Group of ancient China, namely, the forefathers of today’s Manchu, Elunchun and Hezhe people. 

    Yuan Dynasty
    (1271-1368)

    City of Beijing

    Grand Capital or Dadu, was the center of Mongolia Empire

    Ming Dynasty
    (1368 - 1644)

    City of Beijing

    Beijing, established by Emperor Chengzu, a son of Zhu Yuanzhang who was the founder of Ming Empire

    Qing Dynasty
    (1644 - 1912)

    City of Beijing

    Beijing, established by Manchu people

    Empire of China
    (1915-1916)

    City of Beijing

    A short-time feudal government established by Yuan Shikai 

    Republic of China(1912-)

    City of Beijing

    First republic government established by Sun Yat-sen 

    P.R.C (1949-)

    City of Beijing

    First socialistic government established by Mao Zedong



    Beijing Culture

    The culture of Beijing could be seen, touched and tasted. There is a popular saying in China – to see the modern China, Shanghai is a must; to see the traditional China, and Beijing is the first choice. Beijing boasts the eighth gourmet city of the world, and ranks No.1 in China. Beijing has a great tradition in snacks and cuisine culture. Jingcai, or the Food of Beijing, is a gateway to explore the culture of old Beijing. The names of these snacks or foods are strongly featured of the local accents and dialects, so it is unnecessary to translate. The representatives are Cha Tang, Dou Zhi Er, Dou Mian Su Tang, Sua Mei Tang, Xiao Wo Tou, Bing Tang Hu Lu, Lv Da Gong, Bao Du, Guan Chang, Roast Duck and so on. Each of them has its own story, culture and ways of eating. If you are traveling in Beijing, never forget to taste them.

    What you can see is the Operas like the famous Peking Opera, Kunqu Opera, and the Kung Fu Show in Red Theater Beijing. In addition, the Comic Dialogue, or Xiangsheng, is a perfect choice to learn about the folk culture of Beijing, especially the mind and lifestyle of Beijing people, but you have to master Chinese very well, and De Yun She of Guo Degang is recommended. It will be quite easy to find more information on the internet, if you are interested in learning about them.

    What you can touch is the ancient building complexes such as Forbidden City, Imperial Gardens, Citizens’ Hutong and Siheyuan, Great Wall, Mosque, Buddhist Temple, Taoist Monasteries, Museums, Libraries, Parks, City Walls, Imperial Mausoleums. They are the tangible site to feel the culture of Beijing.

    Education is an important part of culture in Beijing, especially the modern Beijing. Many modern events in history of China related to the universities of Beijing. The famous universities include Peking University, Tsinghua University, Yanjing University (non-existed) and Fureng University (non-existed). Other universities in Beijing are mostly established after 1949. For freedom and democracy, the students of these universities struggled, and even fought against the suppression of the central government, such as the first group of children getting the overseas education, May-Fourth Movement and so on.

    beijing forbidden city picture
    The panoramic view of Beijing Forbidden City, the residential and office zone of 24 Emperors in Ming and Qing Dynasties

    Beijing Heritage & Attractions

    Beijing has many world cultural heritage sites such as Great Wall, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Mausoleums of Emperors, Site of Peking Man, and Summer Palace. They are the best places to view Beijing. Except these world-class tourist attractions, there are more unique and valued tourist sites deserving a travel. Let us give you a brief list of them as below:

    World Cultural Heritage Sites

    Forbidden City

    Great Wall

    Site of Peking Man in Zhoukoudian

    Temple of Heaven

    Summer Palace

    Ming Thirteen Tombs

    World Geoparks

    Fangshan World Geopark

    China Yanqing World Geopark

    National Scenic Area

    Badaling Great Wall- Ming Thirteen Tombs

    Shihua Cave

    Badachu

    Mansion of Prince Gong

    National Historic & Cultural Street

    Guozijian Street

    Yandai Xiejie Street

    Dashilan Street

    Dianmennei Street

    National Historic & Cultural Street

    Gubeikou Town

    Jiuduhe Town

    Dongba Town

    Wangsiying Town

    National Historic & Cultural Village

    Chuandixia Village

    Lingshui Village

    Liuliqu Village

    Jijiaying Village

    UNESCO Tentative List

    Grand Canal

    Pagodas of Yunju Temple

    Stone-carved
    Sutra &
    Cangjing Cave

    Beijing Ancient Observatory

    Beihai Park

    Marco Polo Bridge

    Eight Great Sights of Yanjing

    It means eight main tourist sites of ancient Beijing

    Jimen Yanshu(蓟门烟树) –
    Xitu Town

    Lugou Xiaoyue(卢沟晓月)– Marco Polo Bridge

    Jintai Xizhao(金台夕照) –
    Jintai Road

    Qiongdao Chunyi(琼岛春荫)-
    Beihai Park

    Juyong Diecui(居庸叠翠)-
    Badaling Great Wall

    Taiye Qiufeng(太液秋风)-
    Zhongnanhai

    Yuquan Baotu(玉泉趵突)-
    Jade Spring Hill

    Xishan Qingxue(西山晴雪)-
    Fragrance Hill and Badachu

    Note: Up to the reign of Emperor Qianlong, he revised the sites and built the imperial steles to show them, and the locations and descriptions of eight views were fixed. It is similar to the Ten Classic Views of West Lake Hangzhou  

    Ten Views of Beijing

    Badaling Great Wall

    National Museum of China

    World Park

    Forbidden City

    Summer Palace

    Beihai Park

    Ming Thirteen Tombs

    Houhai Zone

    The Old Summer Palace

    Tiananmen Square


    The folk customs of Beijing are also various and attractive as one of four greatest national capital cities in ancient history of China. The featured customs include the unmatched local snacks of Beijing, Peking Opera, Jingyun Dagu(story-telling in Beijing dialect with drum accompaniment), comic dialogue, stage performance, iron-plate quick patter, cloisonné enamel, ivory carving, maohou carving, carved lacquer ware and so on.

    Beijing boasts the capital of museums as well in the world. There are 151 registered museums, and it ranks the second place globally next to London. The National Museum of China is the largest one throughout the world. The Palace Museum is the largest museum of imperial China. The representatives are China Millennium Monument, Beijing Planetarium, China Science and Technology Museum, China Museum of Natural History, Capital Museum, National Art Museum of China, Chinese People Anti-Japanese War Memorial Museum, Military Museum of China and Aviation Museum of China.


    More Cultural Venues & Centers

    Modern Culture Sites in Beijing

    798 Art District

    Beijing Music Festival

    TANGO club

    Cargo

    Babyface

    Banana Club

    Club Tang

    Sanlitun Bar Street

    Houhai Bar Street

    Nanluogu Alley

    Lost In Beijing

    Subway Passenger

    Fashion Map

    SOHO



    The Cultural Landscapes of Beijing

    The Cultural
    Landscapes

    Imperial Palace

    Great Wall

    Peking Man Site

    Temple of Heaven

    Summer Palace

    Ming Thirteen Tombs

    Shichahai

    The Old Summer Palace

    Marco Polo Bridge

    Mutianyu Great Wall

    Simatai Great Wall

    Jinshanling Great Wall

    Juyongguan Great Wall

    Jiankou Great Wall

    Garden of Prince Gong Mansion

    Prince Chun Mansion

    Beihai Park

    Peking University

    Hutongs

    Beijing Zoo

    Beijing Botanical Garden

    Panjiayuan Antiquity Market

    Old Observatory

    Desheng Gate

    Zhengyang Gate

    Jingshan Mountain

    Fragrance Hill

    Bell Tower

    Drum Tower



    The Religious Venues in Beijing

    The famous venues

    Catholic East Hall

    Catholic South Hall

    Christian Church of Wagangshi

    Chongwenmen
    Christian Church

    Niujie Mosque

    Dongsi Mosque

    Guangji Temple

    Guanghua Temple

    Baiyun Taoist Temple

    Yonghe Lamasery

    Buddhism

    Tanzhe Temple (the oldest temple of Beijing, built 800 years before
    Beijing was established as a city)

    Yunju Temple

    Jietai Temple

    Fayuan Temple

    Baoguo Temple

    Taoism

    White Cloud Taoist Temple (Chuan Chen Tao)

    Dongyue Taoist Temple (Zheng Yi Tao)

    Tibetan Buddhism(Lamaism)

    Yonghe Lamasery

    Islamism

    Niujie Mosque

    Mosque outside Dongzhimen

    Dongsi Mosque

    Catholicism

    Xishiku
    Cathedral

    Xuanwumen Cathedral

    Wangfujing Cathedral

    Xizhimen
    Cathedral

    Legation Street Catholic Church

    Christianism

    Wenmen Christian Church

    Christian Church of Wagangshi

    Shikou Christian Church

    Kuanjie Christian Church

    Haiding Christian Church

    Eastern Orthodoxy

    The Relic of Nikolaikirche



    The Shopping Zones

    Beijing is the only selected inland city as one of the world’s top 15 shopping capitals. It owns hundreds of large and medium shopping malls or marketplaces. Wangfujing Street, Qianmen Dashilan and Xidan Business Street are the most traditional business zones of Beijing. Guomao Shopping Mall, Dongfang Xintiandi and Zhongguancun Square are the newly rising shopping centers. Liuli Factory and Panjiayuan Antiquity Marketplace are the cultural center to find the ancient treasures. Xiushui Street and Yaxiu Clothing Wholesale Market are the popular destinations for foreigners to purchase their fashion clothes and accessories. Cloisonné, Jade Wares and Silk Embroideries are also valued. The folk clay figurines, Peking Opera facial makeup, kite and paper-cut are the perfect souvenirs of Beijing to friends.
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    Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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