BEIJING Beijing is a metropolis in northern China and the capital of the People's Republic of China. Beijing is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and motorways passing through the city. It is also the focal point of many international flights to China. Beijing is recognized as the political, educational, and cultural center of the People's Republic of China. The best times to visit Beijing are spring (April and May are nicest) and fall (September and October can be beautiful). Beijing or Peking means "northern capital". The term Peking originated with French missionaries four hundred years ago and corresponds to an older pronunciation. The city has been renamed several times: (Jin Dynasty) Zhongdu, (Mongol Yuan Dynasty) Dadu, (Ming Dynasty) Hongwu, Beiping (Peiping)= ''northern peace’’, Nanjing, Yanjing. October 1st 1949. Communist Party Of China, under the leadership of Mao Zedong announced in Tiananmen the creation of the People's Republic of China and renamed the city back to Beijing. Beijing is situated at the northern tip of the roughly triangular North China Plain, which opens to the south and east of the city. Mountains to the north, northwest and west shield the city and northern China's agricultural heartland from the encroaching desert steppes. The city's climate is a monsoon-influenced humid continental climate, characterized by hot, humid summers due to the East Asian monsoon, and generally cold, windy, dry winters that reflect the influence of the vast Siberian anticyclone. Television and radio: CCTV, Beijing Television(BTV), China Radio International, Radio 774. Press: Beijing Evening News (Beijing Wanbao), The Beijing News (Xin Jing Bao), the Beijing Star Daily, the Beijing Morning News, and the Beijing Youth Daily (Beijing Qingnian Bao), Beijing Weekly, Beijing Today, Youth Daily, People's Daily, City Weekend, Beijing This Month, Beijing Talk, That's Beijing, MetroZine. Sports: Chinese Super League, Beijing Guoan, Chinese Football Association Jia League, Beijing Hongdeng, Beijing Institute of Technology FC, Chinese Basketball Association, Beijing Ducks, Women's Chinese Basketball Association, Beijing Shougang, Asia League Ice Hockey, China Sharks, China Baseball League, Beijing Tigers. The Forbidden City (Zijin Cheng) The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost five centuries, it served as the home of the Emperor and his household, as well as the ceremonial and political centre of Chinese government. The complex consists 980 surviving buildings with 8,707 bays of rooms and covers 720,000 square meters. Forbidden City, which is located north of the Tiananmen Square, and to whom is going through the same gate, UNESCO declared World Heritage in 1987. year. Building forbidden city started the 1406th year. It took 14 years and about 200,000 workers to complete the complex. It is protected by UNESCO. Part of his name - Forbidden refers to the fact that no one could enter or leave the palace without the permission of the emperor. The design of the Forbidden City, from its overall layout to the smallest detail, was meticulously planned to reflect philosophical and religious principles, and above all to symbolize the majesty of Imperial power. The Great Wall of China The Great Wall Of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in China, built, rebuilt, and maintained between the 5th century BC and the 16th century to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire from Xiongnu attacks during the rule of successive dynasties. It stretches over approximately 6,400 km (4,000 miles) from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Nur in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia, but stretches to over 6,700 km (4,160 miles) in total. It was guarded by more than one million men. Notable Areas: "North Pass" , "West Pass" , "Pass". Beijing Kaoya- Beijing Duck Peking Duck: a delicious, lightly-smoked, rich meal complimented by pancakes, dipping sauce, vegetable filling and irresistible slivers of juicy meat, fat and crispy skin. Peking Duck is said to originate from Inner Mongolia and was first served in a Peking restaurant in 1855. The original recipe for Peking Duck includes a description of how to build and fire the oven for smoking the bird! Tiananmen Square The heart of modern China beats in Tiananmen Square, the symbol of the People's Republic and the center of Beijing's landmarks. The flagstones of Tiananmen cover a staggering 440,000 square meters, enough space to allow a million people to gather there. The Tiananmen Gate Tower sites at the north, the Five-Star Red Flag flies high on the square, the Monument to the People's Heroes dominates the center, the Great Hall of the People and the Museum of the Chinese Revolution and the Museum of Chinese History to the east and west of it, as well as The Chairman Mao Memorial Hall and the Qianmen gate, sit in the south of the square. Over several hundred years, in front of the Tiananmen, many democracy meetings and demonstrations are held. Five Star Red Flag-the Chinese national flag, flies high in the sky above the Square. Summer Palace It is one of the best parks in the city. Originally it was a retreat for emperors to escape the scorching summer heat of Beijing. The Summer Palace is huge, most of it being taken up by Kunming Lake. The dirt that was dug up to make the lake was piled up and made into Longevity Hill. On top of Longevity Hill are several Buddhist temples, which, on clear days, offer good views of the lake. Small boats are available for rent and you can motor or paddle about the lake. Another part of the park, called Suzhou street, which is supposed to be a model of what the city of Suzhou looked like in the Qing Dynasty. The “street”encircles a short canal, which you can go up and down in a gondola-like boat. Temple Of Heaven Built between 1409 and 1420, the Temple of Heaven is one of Beijing"s most impressive parks in terms of Heaven is one of Beijing"s most impressive parks in terms of architecture, color and significance. The Temple is basically a huge communications terminal which the Emperor used to communicate directly with Heaven. Several times a year, the Emperor would come here to pray for good harvests, enough rain and other heavenly boons. The construction of the Temple is based around the number nine, the largest of the single digits, which is divine in Chinese numerology. The Temple consists of four basic parts: the Round Altar, the Echo Wall, the Imperial Vault of Heaven, and the Hall of prayer for Good Harvests. The Round Altar is where the Emperor would report on the status of the country to Heaven. The Altar is constructed in the middle, anything you say is amplified several times. This is because when the Emperor was talking with Heaven, his voice was supposed to be amplified so that it was as if his voice was as loud as the collective voice of a whole nation. The Echo Wall is a round structure which if you whisper along the inner wall, your voice can be heard all the way around the other side. However, there is always a crowd of people whispering(and shouting) so it is very hard to get the desired effect. Supposedly the Emperor would use this method to secretly confer with Inner Court members. The Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests are both structures which were places of worship for the Emperor. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is remarkable because it is a 38-meter-tall building which does not have a single nail holding it together. The original was burnt down in 1889 but has been faithfully reconstructed. The hall has 28 wooden pillars supporting a 39-meter tower of three conical roofs, covered with blue glazed tiles, to reflect the color of the sky. The wooden walls are richly decorated, inside and out. To the west of the complex is the Hall of Abstinence, where the emperors would prepare themselves for the solemn occasion by spending a night fasting (and without concubines!). If you go to the Temple of Heaven in the early morning , you can see groups of people practicing all types of kung fu and taiji. You can also practice with them if you are so inclined. This is another good activity for the jetlagged. Ming Tombs Otherwise known as the “13 Tombs”, this is the burial site of 13 out of 17 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. However, the only one you can get a good look at is the tomb of Emperor Wanli, who reigned from 1537 to 1620. This tomb was unearthed in 1956. There are two others that have been uncovered, but the rest remain illusive. The best part of the Ming Tombs is the road there. The spirit Way is the path leading to the mouth of the tomb. Along the path are bizarre, mythical stone monsters standing guard. To get to the tomb itself, you have to walk down many flights of stairs till you are deep inside the mountain. But the actual tomb chambers are a little disappointing. It's just a couple of stone rooms, excavated treasures. Hutong According to linguistic experts, "hutong" originally meant "well" in the Mongolian, Uygur and Manchu languages. A hutong is an ancient city alley or lane typical in Beijing, where hutongs run into the several thousand. The main buildings in the hutong were almost all quadrangles--a building complex formed by four houses around a quadrangular courtyard. The quadrangles varied in size and design according to the social status of the residents. The ordinary people's quadrangles were simply built with small gates and low houses. Hutongs, in fact, are passageways formed by many closely arranged quadrangles of different sizes. Lama Temple = The Yonghe Temple = Palace of Peace and Harmony Is a temple and monastery of the Geluk School of Tibetan Buddhism located in the northeastern part of Beijing. The building and the artworks of the temple combine Han Chinese and Tibetan styles. Building work on the Yonghe Temple started in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty. The Yonghe Temple is arranged along a north-south central axis, which has a length of 480m. Along the axis, there are five main halls which are separated by courtyards: the Hall of the Heavenly Kings (Tian Wang Dian or Devaraja Hall), the Hall of Harmony and Peace (Yonghegong), the Hall of Everlasting Protection (Yongyoudian), the Hall of the Wheel of the Law (Falundian), and the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happinesses (Wanfuge). The Hall of the Heavenly Kings is the southernmost of the main halls, it served originally as the main entrance to the monastery. In the center of the hall stands a statue of the Maitreya Buddha, along the walls statues of the four Heavenly kings are arranged Beihai Park Beihai Park is an extremely popular attraction among Beijingers and tourists. It is very large, about 68.2 hectares, and almost two-thirds of the park is a lake. The park sits in the Beijing’s center, used to be the royal garden of the Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing Emperors. Besides the lake, the main things to see in Beihai are the Round City, which contains a jade vase from the time of Kublai Khan; the Temple of Eternal Peace, the Nine Dragon Screen, which is really a 5-meterhigh, 27-meter-long wall covered with glazed tiles carved into nine intertwining dragons;and the White Pagoda on Gem Island in the center of the lake. You can paddle around in a bizarre assortment of boats. Within Beihai is also the famous Fangshan Restaurant, the best known of the Imperial Court style restaurants where you can eat Qing Dynasty type food, for a pretty penny. Capital Museum The former Capital Museum, which was located in the Confucius Temple, started its planning stage in 1953 and formally opened to the general public in 1981. The museum is a five-storey mansion, catering for a maximum of 13 concurrent exhibitions, which can be seen in about 5 hours at the cost of 30 Yuan per visitor. The architectural design concept of the Capital Museum is based on human and cultural heritage to serve the community and underlines the harmonious integration of past and present, history and modernism, art and nature. The construction of the Capital Museum itself is a piece of architectural artwork integrating both classical and modern beauty.