Visit Tiananmen Square!
Tiananmen Square is named after the Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tiananmen in Chinese) which links the square to the Forbidden City, and which is famous for displaying a portrait of Chairman Mao.
Despite its name, the square has seen turbulent times, making it a key site in Chinese history, particularly during the 20th century.
As well as the Tiananmen itself, the square contains a number of other important sights, including the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong.
Did you know? Every day at sunrise a flag-raising ceremony takes place. Soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army march through the Gate of Heavenly Peace across Dong Chang An Jie at approximately 108 paces per minute, with each pace measuring around 75cm!
Explore the Forbidden City!
This spectacular palace complex lies at the heart of Beijing and consists of 980 surviving buildings.
The largest building in the complex is the Hall of Supreme Harmony. Once the tallest building in the city, it was used for state occasions, such as the emperor’s birthday. The focal point of the building is the impressive Dragon Throne, which sits on a 2m high white jade dais and is backed by carved gilt screens.
The world’s largest collection of well-preserved medieval wooden structures, the Forbidden City is a magnificent example of traditional Chinese architecture and is rich in symbolism, with plenty of dragons, phoenixes and lions on roofs of the most important buildings for prosperity and good fortune.
Did you know? The Forbidden City is the largest palace complex in the world and is three times the size of the Louvre!
Visit the Summer Palace!
One of the most beautiful royal parks in the world, Beijing’s Summer Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to 3,000 man-made structures.
The tallest building in the complex, the Tower of Buddhist Incense stands atop Longevity Hill, looking out over Kunming Lake.
Other well-known attractions include the impressive Marble Boat, a lakeside pavilion in the shape of a European-style paddle steamer, and the colourful Long Corridor, constructed to provide the Emperor’s mother with a covered walkway to ensure she could enjoy a walk in the gardens while protected by the elements.
Did you know? The Four Great Regions, a series of temples that are architecturally quite different to the rest of the park, were modelled on the Samye Monastery in Tibet, the first gompa (Buddhist monastery) built in the country.