The enigmatic capital of China since Kublai Khan arrived with a hundred thousand horsemen in his wake, Beijing has been the home of the last three imperial dynasties: the Yuan (Mongols), the Ming (Han Chinese) and the Qing (Manchu). Fascinating remnants of these eras are scattered throughout the city. Hutong, the city’s residential alleyways, are a Mongolian legacy, for example. The Forbidden City hails from the Ming dynasty, and the Summer Palace was built by the Qing. Beijing is undoubtedly a place of huge historical importance, but as with so many Chinese cities, the old has to stand alongside the new. Huge skyscrapers, such as the 528m tall CITIC Tower remind us of the country’s huge power and influence over the rest of the world.
Serving as an acute reminder of the immense wealth that has been amassed in China over the past 30 years, the city’s transport system that was once dominated by bicycles is today an exhibition of bright and shiny luxury cars. Several luxury super cars tussling at a set of traffic lights is not an unusual sight here. Another another note, the art scene is strong in Beijing.
Visitors will be kept busy with the veritable treasure trove of museums, old and new. One destination not to be missed is the 798 Art Zone - arguably China’s most famous contemporary art district, teeming with local and international galleries, arts centres and countless trendy restaurants, bars and boutiques.
Other must see sights include the Summer Palace - an impressive complex of gardens, lakes, palaces and temples built through the course of many dynasties. The forbidden City and Tiananmen Square are full of historical significance and absolutely must not be missed. Finally, no trip to Beijing is complete without visiting the Great Wall. The team at Timothy Oulton Travel will help all our clients discover a breathtaking part of the wall that nature has reclaimed, far from the maddening crowd.