The grand city of Beijing isn’t just one of the six most influential ancient cities of China. This most populous city in the world, with over 21 million people, is the capital of the People’s Republic of China, as well as China’s center of politic, economy, and culture. Located close to the port city of Tianjin and partially surrounded by Hebei Province, Beijing also serves as an important transportation hub and port of entry.
As a great ancient capitals, Beijing is home to some of the finest remnants of China’s imperial past, but standing side-by-side old Beijing’s crimson palace complexes are the city’s impressive skylines. Beijing has been the heart and soul of politics throughout its long history and consequently there is an unparalleled wealth of intriguing discoveries as you explore the city’s ancient past and exciting modern development. The city is a superb example of the modernization China has undergone as it burst into the 21st century. Beijing’s travel industry has forged forward and it has become one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, with over 4 million international visitors a year.
Tip: Beijing has the average annual temperature around 10°C to 12°C, with average low temperatures ranging from -7°C to 4°C in January; and an average high temperature of 25°C to 26°C in July, but the temperature can drop to as low as -27.4°C in the winter and soar to 42°C in the summer.
Beijing is made up of the Chinese characters 北京. 北 (bei) means north and 京 (jing) is capital-thus Beijing means “northern capital.”
Exploring China’s Ancient Heritage
Forbidden City- built in the early 15th century, the Forbidden City was the home of China’s emperors for over 5 centuries, from Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty. With over 8,700 rooms in nearly a thousand buildings on the 74 hectares compound, the Forbidden City is so large that it’s like a small city within a city. The main entrance, the Meridian Gate sits to the south of the compound and can be accessed through Tiananmen Square. Once inside the Forbidden City, stroll through the Palace Museum and various pavilions, but do try to see the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the largest in the complex and the one containing the Dragon Throne where the emperor once sat.
Exploring Modern China
Apart from the famous historic temples, museums, parks, and monuments, Beijing is full of other interesting and little-known attractions. Some good memories of a journey may come from the ever-busy historic attractions, but sometimes the best memory you have is from the vibrancy of modern culture and its culinary delights.
798 Art District – located in the northeast part of Beijing, 798 Art District is a vast area of disused factories built by the East Germans in the 1950s. It was once occupied by some state-owned enterprises such as 798 Factory and Beijing North China Wireless Joint Equipment Factory, but has transformed into Beijing’s main concentration of contemporary art galleries.
Began in 2002, 798 Art Zone welcomes artists and cultural organizations into the complex and gradually developed old factories into galleries, art centers, artists’ studios, design companies, restaurants, and bars. The industrial complex honours its proletarian roots in the communist heyday of the 1950s while at the same time celebrates the distinct style of Chinese contemporary art. It has become home of local and international celebrity artists with past shows including the likes of Lucien Freud, Ai Wei Wei, Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono. 798 Art Zone has increasing received international recognition and attention from all over the world in recent years, and it certainly is one of the landmarks of Beijing Urban Culture.
Operating Time: 10:00 – 17.00 everyday
How to Get There: City bus line 401, 402, 403, 418, 420, 405, 909, 955, 991, 988 and 445 will run pass 798 Art Zone.