Beijing is the most populous city in the world with over 11 million residents. Not surprising, it is the capital of the People’s Republic of China, and the nation’s center of government, economy, culture, and international activities. Beijing translates to ‘Northern Capital.’ A city of interesting juxtapositions threading both ancient history and incredible modernity. With over 18 districts and counties, the city is connected by hundreds of freeways and flyovers. High-rises old and new populate the length of this vast city making it a major metropolis beyond compare.
Beijing is a memorizing city rich in cultural treasures. It allows visitors a cosmopolitan perspective of modern urban life, as well as a deep adoration for ancient times past.
Tourists can also find special places of interest in the suburbs of Beijing. Foreigners and locals have been retreating to the Summer Palaces since imperial times. A true masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The combination of natural landscape, open water, temples, bridges and pavilions make for a utopian recreational park. The Summer Palaces have been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1998.
The Western Hills are also a favored retreat amongst the locals and foreigners. They make up 17% of Beijing’s municipalities. With 100m to 1900m elevation levels, they are popular for their picturesque views of Beijing and beyond. They also feature ancient ruins, cliffs, caves, river gorges, and hot springs. Temples and historic homes speckle the landscape of these hills as well.
A short drive north of Beijing is one of the world’s most greatest made-made treasures-The Great Wall of China. Built to keep intruders out of China it is a spectacular, encompassing presence of architecture sitting 26 feet high and 23 feet wide. Built wide enough for ten soldiers or five horses to stand abreast.
Not far from the Great Wall lies the Ming Tombs. They are the burial ground for 13 of the 16 Ming dynasty emperors. Travelers may also want to consider traveling into the countryside to get a glimpse of village life in one of the many charming, small villages along the way.
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