Beijing: the Wonder of the World
All the sights of Beijing can be rightfully referred to as "the wonders of the world" - so amazing, unique, elegant, and unsurpassed they are. Beijing is the second largest city in China. While its main rival, Shanghai, is the economic and entertainment center of the country, Beijing is famous for its cultural and political importance which is growing and changing with unprecedented speed. Beijing is a dynamic city, and sometimes neighborhoods change their appearance within a very short period of time. Having obtained the status of the capital of recent Olympic Games, Beijing has even accelerated this process. The combination of dynamic growth and three thousand years of history on such a small territory fascinates the tourists and draws them to a number of attractions that cannot be compared to anything else in the world.
The Great Wall of China is a symbol of ancient Chinese civilization, the finest example of fortification, as well as one of the world's cultural heritage sites designated by UNESCO. The length of the Wall is 6300 kilometers, and it is the only edifice in the world to be clearly seen from the moon. The most well-preserved section of the wall is located in Badaling, which is 80 km from Beijing.
The well-known Palace Museum is the former imperial palace, the residence of 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties, built in 1406-1420 years. The palace complex has 9,999 separate rooms, with many antiquities and items used during the life of the inhabitants of the palace. The residence of Chinese emperors used to be called "Forbidden City" because commoners were not allowed to enter the area. This was a rich and strictly regulated world. The Palace Museum in Beijing is a "monument of world cultural heritage." To the north of the palace there is a green hill which used to be the highest point in town, offering a panoramic view of Beijing, and that was the reason for the name of the hill - Landscape Mountain (Jingshan). Today Jingshan is one of the most beautiful central parks which lies on the crossroads of many tour itineraries.
At the distance of 20 km to the northwest of central Beijing there is a huge imperial summer palace - Park Summer Palace - a spacious park complex with residential buildings, temples and pavilions along the banks of an artificial lake. The wooden gallery Chanlan, with its 1,408 colorful landscape paintings, is of great interest here. To the north of Beijing there is the secluded Valley of the Tombs. It provides eternal rest to 13 out of 16 emperors of the Ming Dynasty, but is open to visitors who enter the gateway guarded by the statues of animals.
The southern outskirts of Beijing are popular due to the Temple of Heaven which is the largest altar complex in China. Here is the famous Wall of the Reflected Sound which reproduces the words uttered in a whisper over the perimeter of 64 m.
In the northeastern part of Beijing there is a famous lamasery Yunhegun which was built in 1694 and initially served as one of the residences of the emperor. At the beginning of the 18th century ceremonies and prayers were performed here. At the exit you can see the carved image of the mountain with figures of 500 Buddha's students made of gold, silver, bronze, tin, and iron. One of the favorite places of the townspeople is the Square of Heavenly Peace. The square occupies 400 thousand square meters and is the largest in the world.
Nowadays it is difficult to meet someone who would have heard nothing about the outstanding philosopher of antiquity - Confucius. In Beijing, there is the Temple of Confucius (Kunmyao) built in 1302. It also has a collection of ancient musical instruments telling the story of China, its people and culture.