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Beijing

Beijing Travel Guide

With the rapid growth of travel and tourism since China's reform and opening-up to the outside world in 1979, particularly the success of Beijing's bid for Olympic Games in 2008 and China's entry into the World Trade Organization(WTO) in 2001, an ever-increasing number of overseas visitors are coming to Beijing.

Beijing is a world-renowned ancient capital, and a famous city of world history and culture as well. Beijing is an ideal place to visit, as well as to invest, and to do business, to shop, to dine or to be entertained. Beijing is both an ancient and a young city. The city is ancient, because it boasts a 500,000-year history of civilization; as a city, Beijing has a history of more than 3000 years (the city was established in 1045 BC), and as a capital (Jin Dynasty, the first dynasty in the Chinese history, made Beijing its capital in1115 AD), it has a history of nearly 900 years. This ancient city of Beijing is a masterpiece of the longest history and the largest scale in the world and also is the crystallisation of the capital construction in the history of China. Beijing is a young city in terms of vitality and its importance not only in China but also the world over. The reasons why Beijing attracts and pleases people are not hard to discover. To start at the heart of Beijing itself, tourists see the Tian’anmen Square, which is the geographical and emotional centre of the city.

Location
Beijing is located on the western coast of China on the Pacific Ocean. Beijing stands at the northern tip of the North China Plain. Tian'anmen Square in the center of Beijing is situated at 39O56' North Latitude and 116O20' East Longitude. Beijing lies at approximately the same latitude as Philadelphia in the U.S. and Madrid in Spain. The city is 39% flat land and the other 61% is quite mountainous area. Beijing is surrounded by the Yanshan Mountains on the west, north and east while the small alluvial plain of the Yongding River lies to its southeast. Beijing faces the Bohai Sea, and the area is also called the Beijing Bay  Area. Greater Beijing has an area of 16,808 sq km.

Climate
The climate in Beijing is of the continental type, with cold and dry winters, due to the Siberian air masses that move southward across the Mongolian Plateau. The summers are hot owing to warm and humid monsoon winds from the southeast bringing Beijing most of its annual precipitation. January is the coldest month and July is the warmest. Winter usually begins towards the end of October. The summer months, June to August, are wet and hot with about 40% of the annual precipitation.

Time
Time used in Beijing and all over China is called Beijing Standard Time. It is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT + 8), and 13 hours ahead of New York time.

Population
13.82 million (March 2001), half of the people live on the outskirt of the city.

Ethnic groups
The permanent residents of Beijing come from all of China's 56 ethnic groups. The Han nationality accounts for 96.5% of the total. The other 55 ethnic minorities claim a population of more than 300,000, most of them are from Hui, Manchu, and Mongolian nationalities.

Agriculture
In 1994, the gross value of agricultural output reached 28.69 billion yuan (non-agricultural output value accounting for 79.5%). The gross value of rural industrial output accounted for 40.2% of the city's gross value of industrial output in 1994. The main cereals are wheat, corn, and rice. The total amount of grain output was 2,761 million tons, and per-hectare yield was 6,420 kilograms. There are 541 farms where each farmer is responsible for more than 6.6 hectares. Mechanization in agriculture has been basically realized in plain areas, and various kinds of bases can provide abundant sideline products.

Industry
Beijing's gross domestic product (GDP) reached 82.9 billion yuan in the first five months of 2000, up 12 percent over the same period of last year, with high-tech enterprises leading development, according to Beijing Youth Daily. From January to May, the added value of Beijing's industrial output was 6.35 billion yuan, up 18.8 percent over the same period of the previous year.

City Flowers
In the spring of 1987, delegates to the Sixth Session of the Eighth Municipal People's Congress, meeting in the Great Hall of the People, overwhelmingly approved the scholar tree and oriental cypress as the official city trees, the Chinese rose and the chrysanthemum as Beijing's official city flowers. The rose, a Chinese native, has been cross-bred many times, but it still has half of the original Chinese strain. Known as Perpetual Spring, Monthly Red, Snow Challenger and Victorious, it is fast growing, regenerates easily and is graceful and long blooming(May to October). The chrysanthemum has many names and varieties. In Beijing potted chrysanthemums may be seen year round. They flower in summer and fall naturally but can be forced to bloom any time of year. During the Qing dynasty, there were 400 rare strains of chrysanthemum. Beijing's flora-culturists now boast more than 1000 varieties.

City trees
The stately cypress symbolizes the courage and strength of the Chinese people, their simple, hard working nature and their defiance in the face of aggression. This Plateaus Orientals, or Oriental Arborvitae, can grow as tall as 20 meters. Some of those in Zhongshan Park were planted as long as 1,000 years ago during the Liao Dynasty. The scholar tree is a symbol of good fortune, joy and well-being. Dating back to the Qin and Han dynasties Sophia Japonica were planted extensively at the Tang Dynasty Imperial Palace in Chang'an. At Beihai Park an ancient specimen in the courtyard of the Painters Corridor, is believed to have been planted during the Tang Dynasty, before 907. Another ancient scholar tree near the Broken Bridge in the Forbidden City is said to have been planted before 1125. Both are well adapted to Beijing's cold, dry winter, hot and dry summer, and alkaline soil.

History
Some half a million years ago, Peking man lived in Zhoukoudian, in the southwestern suburbs of Beijing. The climate of that time was warmer and more humid than it is today. Forests and lakes in the area supported large numbers of living creatures. The fossil remains of Peking man, his stone tools and evidence of use of fire, as well as later tools of 18,000 years ago, bone needles and article of adornment from the age of Upper Cave Man are the earliest cultural relics on record in China today.
Beijing is the capital city for five dynasties; they are Liao, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties(947-1911).

Beijing

Beijing Art Museum

Beijing Art Museum is located in Wanshou Temple(the Temple of Longevity). Wanshou Temple was built in 1577 under the reign of Wanli Emperor of the Ming dynasty to store Buddhist scriptures in Chinese. It gradually became a temporary imperial dweling and a place of birthday celebration for the imperial family during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.The People's Government of Beijing Municipal City declared Wanshou Temple one of the city's "Key Cultural Heritage of Preservation" in August 1979. Having Read More...

Forbidden City

Lying at the exact center of Beijing, the Forbidden City (pronounced Gu Gong in Chinese), used to be the former Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Now known as the Palace Museum, it is to the north of Tian'anmen Square. Read More...

Tiananmen Square

As the most sizable square located in the center of a city in this world, Tian'anmen Square is located in the center of Beijing city, where you can visit Tian'anmen Rostrum, Monument to the People's Heroes, Great Hall of the People, the Mausoleum of Chairman Mao, the China National Museum and see the national flag raising ceremony. Read More...

Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven, situated in southeastern part of Beijing, is the largest heaven-worshipping architecture in the world. It is first built in 1420 in the Ming Dynasty during the time when the Forbidden City was constructed. Read More...

Summer Palace

The Summer Palace is located on the northwest outskirts of Beijing. It is the best preserved imperial garden in the world and the largest of its kind that still in existence in China today. Read More...

Badaling Great Wall

The Great Wall, as a military gigantic defensive project, kept out the invading troops of the northern nomadic tribes. Having undergone the nature for thousands of years, the Great Wall witnessed the rise and fall of many dynasties and changes on the earth.rnrn Read More...

Juyongguan Pass

Juyongguan Pass is located in an 18 kilometer-long valley named 'Guangou' which is inside Changping County more than 50 kilometers northwest of downtown Beijing. It is one of the three greatest passes of Great Wall of China. The other two passes are Jiayuguan Pass and Shanhaiguan Pass. Read More...

Mutianyu Great Wall

The Mutianyu Section Great Wall lies about 70 kilometers northeast of Beijing in Huairou county. This section measures 2250 meters in length with 22 watchtowers, but now only 1700- meter- long wall with 14 watchtowers is open to the public. Read More...

Simatai Great Wall and Jinshanling Great Wall

The Simatai section of the Great Wall, is located in the northeast of MiyunCounty, Beijing, 120 kilometers from the city center. Its construction started in Ming Dynasty. Read More...

Huanghuacheng Great Wall

Located at Huanghuacheng town, Huanghuacheng Great Wall is 60 kilometers from Beijing City and 29 kilometers southwest of Huairou County. Read More...

Ming Tombs

The Ming Tombs located in Changping District, about 50 kilometers from the northwest of Beijing, is enclosed by mountains in three sides. Read More...

Beijing Zoo

Beijing Zoo was initially named Ten Thousand Animal Garden which was built in 1908, proving that it already had a history of more than 90 years. Read More...

Beihai Park

With the Forbidden City and Jingshan Park to its east, Zhong Nan Hai (Central and South Seas) to its south, Beihai (North Sea) Park is one of the oldest, largest and best-preserved ancient imperial gardens in China located in the center of Beijing. Read More...

Prince Gong's Mansion

Prince Gong's Mansion is Beijing's largest and the best preserved Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) princely mansion and is located at Qianhai Xijie to the north of Shichahai. Read More...

Lama Temple

Yonghegong, popularly known as the “Lama Temple’, is a famous lamasery in the northeastern part of Beijing. Read More...

Hutong

The Hutong has a very special and important position in the rich history and culture of Beijing. rn Read More...

Shichahai

Shichahai is a famous scenic area that includes three lakes (Qian Hai, meaning Front Sea; Hou Hai, meaning Back Sea and Xi Hai, meaning Western Sea), surrounding places of historic interest and scenic beauty, and remnants of old-style Beijing residences, Hutong and Courtyard. It is located in the northwest part of Beijing, and covers a large area of 146.7 hectares (about 363 acres).rn Read More...

Beijing Guozijian

Beijing Guozijian( the Imperial College), generally known as the highest official institution of learning in imperial China, is located at Guozijian Street , Andingmennei Street of Dongcheng District. Read More...

Confucius Temple

Confucius Temple is located at the eastern end of Guo Zijian(the Imperial College), Chengxian Street, Dongcheng District of Beijing. Facing south, it covers an area of 22000 square meters with a floor space of 7400 square meters. Read More...

Bell Tower and Drum Tower

Bell Tower and Drum Tower is the emblem of Beijing. Read More...

Jingshan Park

Jingshan Park, the highest point in Beijing City was built in 1179 during the Jin Dynasty and has a history of more than 800 years. Read More...

Niujie Mosque

The Niujie Mosque is a famous Islamic temple covering an area of approximately 6000 square meters. With the hexagonal Watching Moon Tower that is unique to Islamic temples, the Niujie Mosque presents an aesthetic blend of architecture, reflecting both ancient Chinese palaces and Arabian mosques. Read More...

Liulichang

Beside a branch shop of China Bookshop is the old relics of Haiwangcun Park. Built in 1917, it was the centre of bazaar and the busiest place in Changdian. Many kinds of trades were carried out here such as the metallic works, stones and curios, calligraphy, painting, photography and musical instruments. Read More...

Fragrant Hills Park

Situated in the east part of western hills, 28 kilometers (17 miles) northwest of the Beijing City, Fragrant Hills Park is a large park of hills and forest covering 160 hectares (395.4 acres). Read More...

Zhoukoudian

Zhoukoudian, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of Beijing, was a natural habitat of human ancestors about 700,000 years ago. Read More...