29 April 2018

10 Top-Rated Attractions in Beijing

Top Rated Attractions in Beijing

There are tons of amazing attractions you need to plan to see when visiting Beijing. The city is home to stunning views, a rich and cultural heritage, and a busy, bustling economic centre. Very few places on earth give you such close access to such drastically different environments. Take a look at a few of the top-rated places to visit in Beijing and be sure to include them on your travel itinerary.


The Imperial Palace and the Forbidden City

The Imperial Palace is one of the most important buildings in China, tracing its origins back to the 13th century. It is also the most popular tourist attraction in Beijing. Over the years, it became home to 24 Ming and Qing emperors, which is how it earned its nickname "the Forbidden City." Ordinary citizens were not permitted beyond its walls, leaving its interior a mystery for centuries.


Tiananmen Square

Another important historic location, Tiananmen Square, is the world’s largest square, built to hold over a million people. The historical significance of the square goes back to the early 1900s when demonstrations took place against the Treaty of Versailles. These protest groups were largely led by students. The square is home to the Monument to the People’s Heroes, Tiananmen Gate, and the Museum of the Chinese Revolution.


Beihai Park

Beihai Park is one of the few imperial gardens that still survives today. It was originally planned in the 10th century and was named after its stunning views of nearby Lake Beihai. The area is also home to numerous historical structures, including the Round Fort and the Hall of Enlightenment, which is home to a beautiful jade statue of Buddha. You can also wander through the 17th century White Pagoda located in the park.


Temple of Heaven

Constructed in the 1420s, the Temple of Heaven houses a number of sacred buildings. These temple and shrines are divided into two sections, which, when taken together, are meant to symbolize heaven and earth. In ancient times, the emperor would pray for a bountiful harvest and offer sacrifices during the winter solstice in the Hall of Prayer. This hall was built entirely out of wood but without the use of nails. Before you leave, be sure to stop by Echo Wall, where even the softest of sounds is echoed thanks to the placement of echoing stones.


Beijing National Stadium

Nicknamed the Bird’s Nest, the Beijing National Stadium played a key role in the 2008 summer Olympics. The stadium combines traditional Chinese designs with a modern aesthetic for a truly unique look. Since the Olympics, the stadium has hosted numerous performances and cultural events. Throughout the winter months, officials turn the stadium into a huge man-made ski slope.


Lama Temple

Built-in 1745, the Lama Temple is one of the city’s best-preserved, most colourful, and most attractive temples. It was originally built to give a home to Lamaism, a Tibetan religion. The temple is massive and contains tons of artwork. One of the most spiritually significant components is the Hall of Kings of Heaven, as it contains a statue of Buddha along with four kings holding symbolic objects.


Beijing Capital Museum

The Beijing Capital Museum is one of the leading art museums in the country. While it has only been open for less than 50 years, it has a huge collection of ancient artefacts, including those made with bronze. There are also a ton of beautiful statutes from Chinese and other Asian cultures. All in all, the museum holds over 200,000 important works from the region, including numerous works of calligraphy and artwork.


Beijing Ancient Observatory

The Beijing Ancient Observatory certainly lives up to its name, with construction on the building finished in 1442. It saw continuous use right up until and including 1920 and is the oldest observatory of its kind on earth. The huge building houses tons of ancient and historic artefacts, including pre-telescopic devices, and an armillary sphere depicting the planets as they were known in the 18th century. While it is no longer used as an observatory, it is still a thriving museum, offering insight into how our ancestors viewed the stars.


The Fayuan Temple

The Fayuan Temple is one of the oldest such temples in the region. Translating to the Source of Law Temple, it was constructed in 645 AD. There are several halls of varying dates attached to the temple, with the oldest one dating back to the seventh century. In addition to being one of the oldest temples in the area, it has also seen a lot of history. In the 12th century, it served as the prison for Emperor Huizong and was later converted into botanical gardens. Currently, the temple is used as a place of worship and an educational institute.


Coal Hill Park

If you are searching for some of the best views in Beijing, you should visit Coal Hill Park. It is close to the Imperial Palace and draws its name from the coal stacks that used to be stored there during the Ming dynasty. Coal Hill is one of several man-made hills in the region, with work on it beginning in 1416. It was made using rubble from the old city wall and displaced dirt that was gathered when the palace was built. In addition to the lovely views, be sure to stop through the beautiful gardens and take a stroll along the cobblestone walkways.


Tourists very rarely have to search for things to do in Beijing, since they are constantly surrounded by amazing options. Between the beautiful nature trails, the guided tours, and the access to breathtaking historic sites, there is something for everyone. If you are wondering what to see in Beijing first, consider starting with your favourite attraction, but be sure to visit those off the beaten path to get a true Beijing experience.

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