Beijing: mysterious historic city
Capital of China, Beijing is the second largest city of the nation. It is one of the most ancient cities of the world. It gives you many reasons to visit it. It is the political, cultural and educational hub of China. The city offers many sights of the visitor’s interests. It is a very modern city comfortably sitting on the lap of its imposing past. It is the seat of power in China for some thousands of years. Beijing or Peking means “Northern Capital”. This ancient city is the home to some of the great and mysterious historic sites of the world; the Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square, Temple of Heaven, sections of the Great Wall and many more. On the other hand, Beijing is like any other big metropolis of the world, complete with amazing skyscrapers, shopping malls, traffic jams, pollution, din, crowd and other features. Above all, it offers a great array of restaurants serving authentic Chinese food of different styles. If you choose to visit only one city of China, it should be Beijing.
Geography and Climate in Beijing
It is located in the north of China. It is largely a flat, plain region except for a few hills in the north, northwest and west. The city is close to the mountains and hills and as well as plains and sea. It is planned in the form of concentric ring roads with their center at the Tian’anmen square which is the city’s center. The most amazing aspect of this city is there is no major river in its proximity.
Climate in Beijing is quite harsh. The land has a continental monsoon climate. Summers are hot and humid due to air currents from southeast. Dry and cold winds from northwest make winters chillingly cold and dry. January is the coldest month in the city with average temperature -4C. July is the hottest month with an average temperature 25C.
Culture in Beijing
This historic city has a great cultural heritage with the healthy blending of modern 21 century developments. The people of the city take pride in their ancient traditions. Religion is the way of life there. People speak in Beijing dialect which is derived from the Mandarin.
This city is an acclaimed center of various forms of art, including dance, music, theatre and calligraphy. Calligraphy is the highest form of visual art of China. In China, people judge a person’s character by his handwriting.
There are a number of museums in the capital city, which give insight into various aspects of its culture. Beijing Opera is a very popular place for music and theater lovers. Various forms of martial art are seriously pursued here.
It is the center of another love of China; its cuisine. There are many popular restaurants serving dishes according to the different categories of cuisine. To deeply understand and appreciate Beijing culture, you must study their etiquette.
It is an awesome city where the ancient historic sites and museums share space with stunningly built skyscrapers.
The Forbidden City is the largest and the best preserved palace complex in the world. It served as the residence of the Ming and Qing dynasty. It is comprised of astonishing 900 rooms and 70 structures! It is a fabulous structure to look at and what to say about artifacts housed in it. It is encircled by a moat and very high walls to protect it.
The city has its share of The Great Wall of China, one of the Eight Wonders of the world. Just look at the steep cliffs around it; it is just a phenomenal sight. This man made wall was built in Qin dynasty (221-207 BC).
Do make a visit to 1694-built Lama Temple which means Palace of Peace and harmony. It is a very fine example of Buddhist art and architecture.
Emperors of Qing and Ming dynasty used to pray at Temple of heaven. At this amazing structure, echo of even a whisper spoken at one end of a large courtyard, could be heard at the other end.
Another beautiful historic structure is summer palace, constructed during the Qing dynasty. It is a very soothing and charming place which has magnificent arch bridges, gardens and also houses some of the most enchanting paintings.
The world’s largest central square is in Beijing; Tiananmen Square. This respectful and solemn square is not just the city’s symbol, but the entire China’s. This square has been the testimony to various historic revolutions in China for centuries. Many important landmarks surround this square which include the Chinese Revolution History Museum, the elegant and beautiful Tiananmen (Heavenly Peace Gate) Tower, Mao Mausoleum, the Qianmen (Front Gate) and the Great Hall of the People.
Other interesting sights here are Bei Hai Park, Beijing Planetarium, Silver Fox Cave, the Great Bell Temple, Temple of Confucius, Yonghe Lamasery, Bell and Drum Towers and many more.
Transport in Beijing
The city is the significant transportation center of China. It has five concentric ring roads, city express routes, nine expressways, number of railway routes and international airport. There are two subways in the city; Line One and Round One. Buses and trolleys are the most frequent form of public transport there.
For a tourist, it is most convenient to hire a private taxi as buses are uncomfortably overcrowded all the times. Hiring a taxi is very easy and affordable here. While taking a taxi, try to get destination written in Chinese characters. Another way to get around in the city is to take a tour bus.
Airport in Beijing
Located in the northeast section of the capital, Beijing Capital International Airport is just about 25 km from Tiananmen Square. This airport serves almost all the international flights and some domestic flights. This airport is the most important hub for Air China. This airport is connected to the city centre by Airport Expressway. There are two terminals at the airport, catering to more than 70 domestic and foreign airlines. About 90 cities of China and 70 cities abroad are connected with this airport.