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Beijing

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With a 3,000-year history and a population of over 19 million, Beijing, the capital of China, stands as one of the world’s most imposing cities. Situated in northeast China, it is the political, cultural and economic center of the People’s Republic of China. China’s imperial past and political present meet at Tiananmen Square, where the Forbidden City palace of the emperors gives way to the Great Hall of the People congress building and the mausoleum of Chairman Mao Zedong. Surrounding the Forbidden City are Hutong, ancient city lanes typical in Beijing and composed of the city’s traditional residences.

Further out lies part of the legendary Great Wall of China, which stretches over 3,700 miles. Beijing is also home to the Beijing National Stadium, or “the Bird’s Nest,” which hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics’ Opening and Closing ceremonies and is famous for its unique structural appearance. Sitting nearby is the National Aquatics Center, or “Water Cube,” with a design inspired by a cube of water molecules, carved from a cluster of foam bubbles. Both stadiums serve as examples of new and innovative architecture mingling with ancient tradition, and help to make Beijing a magnet for visitors from inside and outside China.

Below you will find a variety of different venues in Beijing. We also provide an array of VIP Venues in Beijing, as seen here: Beijing VIP Venues

Recommended Tours with Beijing (click on the link for full itinerary):

Activities

Beijing National Stadium

Description : The Beijing National Stadium, also known as the bird's nest, will be the main track and field stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics and will be host to the Opening and Closing ceremonies. In 2002 Government officials engaged architects worldwide in a design competition. Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron collaborated with Arup Sport and China Architecture Design & Research Group to win the competition. Contemporary Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, is the Artistic Consultant for design. The stadium will seat as many as 100,000 spectators during the Olympics, but this will be reduced to 80,000 after the games. The structural elements mutually support each other and converge into a grid-like formation - almost like a bird's nest with its interwoven twigs. The spatial effect of the stadium is novel and radical, yet simple and of an almost archaic immediacy, thus creating a unique historical landmark for the Olympics of 2008.
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Hutong Tour

Description : Hutong is an ancient city alley or lane typical in Beijing. Surrounding the Forbidden City, many were built during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. Hutong is composed by Siheyuan which the traditional residence of Beijingers, each consisting of a rectangular courtyard surrounded by one-storied tile-roofed houses, usually one to six meters wide. By visiting Hutong, it is a good way to see how traditional residents live and a kind of life style that keep several hundreds. Visit local family who live in Hutong and talk with them to known how they live. Taste the real Chinese family dishes in courtyard.
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Ming Tombs

Description : Located about 31 miles northwest of Beijing, tombs and Mausoleums of 13 of the 16 emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) buried in a complex that spread some 15 square miles. It was originally built only as Changling, tomb of emperor Yongle, Zhu Di (reigned 1403-1424) and of his empress. This is the most magnificent of the tombs. The succeeding twelve emperors had their tombs built around Changling. Each tomb is located at the foot of a separate hill and is linked with other tombs by the Sacred Way, a road guarded by 36 statues. Carved in the 15th century, the statues include 12 pairs of animals and 12 humans. Only two tombs are open to the public, the Changling and the Dingling, an underground mausoleum of Emperor Zhu Yijun and his two empresses.
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National Aquatics Center (Water Cube)

Description : The Water Cube employs water as a structural and theatrical "leitmotiv" with the square, the primal shape of the house in Chinese tradition and mythology. The structure of the water cube is based on a unique, lightweight construction, developed by Arup and CSCEC with PTW, and derived from the structure of water in the state of aggregation of FOAM as deduced by. Behind the apparently random appearance hides a strict geometry found in natural systems such as crystals, cells and molecular structures. By applying novel materials and technology, the transparency and randomness is transposed into the inner and outer skins of ETFE cushions. Unlike traditional stadium structures with gigantic columns, beams, cables and back spans, to which a facade system is applied, in the water cube design the architectural space, structure and facade are one and the same element. Conceptually the square box and the interior spaces are carved out of an undefined cluster of foam bubbles, symbolizing a condition of nature that is transformed into a condition of culture. The appearance of the aquatic centre is a "cube of water molecules" - the WATERCUBE.
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Temple of Heaven

Description : Temple of Heaven was built in 1,420 in the Ming Dynasty, which is the most holy of all Beijing's imperial temples. This is where the Emperor came every winter solstice to worship heaven and to solemnly pray for a good harvest. True to the Chinese saying, “Round Heaven, Square Earth.” The park is in a square shape and the temple in a round shape which symbolizes that the emperor had to leave the Earth (represented by the square) for Heaven (represented by the round-roofed building).
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The Forbidden City

Description : Forbidden City was the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties which is the largest palace complex in the world. It surrounded by 10-meter high walls and a 52-meter wide moat. It covers 74 hectares and has 9,999 rooms. In the forbidden city, you can get more knowledge about the eastern architecture, splendid painted and beautiful craftwork.
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The Great Wall

Description : The Great Wall is perhaps China's most famous and most mythologized site. Several sections are conveniently visited from Beijing, including at Badaling, the most popular site, about 70 km (43 mi.) northwest of Beijing and at Mutianyu, 90 km (56 mi.) northeast of Beijing. These impressive brick and earth structures date from the Ming dynasty, when the wall was fortified against Mongol forces to the north. The Ming wall is about 26 feet tall and 23 feet wide at the base, and could accommodate up to six horsemen riding abreast. Watch towers, built on high points every 200-300 meters or so with small garrison forces, used fire signals or fireworks as a means of communication. These stretches of the wall are part of a system that extends from the Shanhaiguan fortress on the Bohai Gulf in the east to the Jiayuguan fortress in the west, altogether some 6000 km (3700 mi).
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The Summer Palace

Description : The Summer Palace landscape, dominated mainly by Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, covers an area of 2.9 square kilometers, three quarters of which is under water. Its 70,000 square meters of building space features a variety of palaces, gardens and other ancient-style architectural structures. The Summer Palace is a monument to classical Chinese architecture, in terms of both garden design and construction. Borrowing scenes from surrounding landscapes, it radiates not only the grandeur of an imperial garden but also the beauty of nature in a seamless combination that best illustrates the guiding principle of traditional Chinese garden design: "The works of men should match the works of Heaven".
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Tiananmen Square

Description : Tiananmen Square is the largest downtown square in the world. It covers an area of 44 hectares, big enough to hold one million people. Here is the most sacred place for Chinese people. Beijing is the heart of China, and Tiananmen Square is the heart of Beijing.
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