Visit the Great Wall of China!
The Great Wall of China is somewhat of a misnomer, as it would more accurately be described as a collection of fortification systems.
The beginnings of the Wall lie in the fortifications built by the Han, Qi, Qin, Wei, Yan, Zhao and Zhongshan states during the Warring States Period and developed over the centuries to protect China from invaders and to protect the Silk Road trade route.
It’s believed that the length of the entire Wall measures over 21,000km and it is considered one of the greatest architectural feats in human history.
Did you know? While the Wall is believed to be well over 2,000 years old, the bit we all think of as the Great Wall of China – the stone fortifications around Beijing – are only around 500 years old, having been built during the Ming dynasty.
Visit 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.