China, one of the largest countries on the planet is rich with history, tradition and variety in every aspect. Whether travelling for business, or following your curiosities into one of Asia's most submursive cultures, hoppa can assist.
The Great Wall is a representation of Chinese civilization, and one of the wonders that the Chinese people have created. Badaling Great Wall, the most representative part, was promoted as a key national cultural relic, protected under the authorization of the State Council in 1961. In 1988, it was enlisted in the World Cultural Heritage Directory by UNESCO. July 7, 2007 has once again witnessed the worldwide reputation that the Great Wall gained it was listed among the New Seven Wonders of the World. Badaling Great Wall is like a strong dragon winding its way along the mountain ranges. As a landmark erected at the top of a group of mountain ranges, Badaling Great Wall has also witnessed many significant historic events. The first emperor of the Qin Dynasty toured there, Yuan Taizu, the first emperor of Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) passed the Badaling Great Wall and took control over the whole of China. Empress Cixi fled from there to the western part of China in 1900 when an alliance of eight western countries invaded Beijing. At present, Badaling Great Wall still stands there recording the hardship and bitterness that Chinese people have endured in the past 2000 years. It is a priceless cultural heritage of humanity.
Lying at the centre of Beijing is, the Forbidden City, called Gu Gong in Chinese, this was the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Now known as the Palace Museum, it is to the north of Tiananmen Square. Rectangular in shape, it is the worlds largest palace complex and covers 74 hectares. The wall has a gate on each side. Opposite the Tiananmen Gate, to the north is the Gate of Divine Might (Shenwumen), which faces Jingshan Park. The distance between these two gates is 960 meters, while the distance between the gates in the east and west walls is 750 meters. There are unique and delicately structured towers on each of the four corners of the curtain wall. These afford views over both the palace and the city outside. The Forbidden City is divided into two parts. The southern section or the Outer Court this was where the emperor exercised his supreme power over the nation. The northern section or the Inner Court was where he lived with his royal family.
Until 1924 when the last emperor of China was driven from the Inner Court, fourteen emperors of the Ming dynasty and ten emperors of the Qing dynasty had reigned here. Having been the imperial palace for some five centuries, it houses numerous rare treasures and curiosities. As a World Cultural Heritage Site, the Palace Museum is now one of the most popular tourist attractions world-wide. It was said a well was dug every fifty meters along the road in order to pour water onto the road in winter to slide huge stones on ice into the city. The splendid painted decoration on these royal architectural wonders, the grand and deluxe halls, with their surprisingly magnificent treasures will certainly satisfy modern civilians.
The Old Summer Palace which is also known as the Ruins of the Yuanmingyuan (the Garden of Perfection and Light) is located northwest of Beijing. Generally speaking, the Old Summer Palace consists of three parts - Yuanmingyuan, Wanchunyuan (the Garden of Blossoming Spring) and Changchunyuan (the Garden of Eternal Spring). These three gardens are often referred to as one common name: Yuanmingyuan. Hundreds of scenic spots in the Garden are made up of exquisitely constructed halls, pavilions, chambers, kiosks, rock hills, rivers, ponds, exotic flowers and grasses from different parts of the country. Indeed, it embodies the essence of Chinese ancient landscape gardening. The more famous scenic spots include, for example, the Grand Waterworks, the Throne for viewing the Waterworks and the Labyrinth. No wonder Yuanmingyuan was also called the garden of gardens or the Versailles of the East in Europe during that era. The vast majority of the remaining scenic spots were destroyed in the 1980s, but under the due protection of the ruins of Yuanmingyuan, a park has been established on the ruin site. So visitors can imagine the former grandeur of the Old Summer Palace from the crumbling walls and ruins. Whats more, there is also an opportunity for visitors to view the complete picture of Yuanmingyuan in its heyday in the exhibition hall. The reconstruction of some of the original structures and scenic spots provides people with a lovely place to relax.
Stone Flower Cave is located in Fangshan District in Beijing. It is a national famous scenic spot and geological park which is noted for the unique Karst cave sightseeing and a valuable informational bank on geological research. Covering an area of about 1.8 Hectares, Stone Flower Cave is a multilayer Karst cave with seven clearly distributed layers.
Another interesting and famous place for you to visit is called Echo Wall owning special feature. The wall encloses the Imperial Vault of Heaven. Its perimeter is 193 meters. If you and your friend stand at the east and the west roots of the wall respectively and you whisper a word, then your friend will hear clearly what you say. The phenomenon utilizes the theory of sound waves.
The Temple of Heaven is a worthwhile visiting place in Beijing. It is much bigger than the Forbidden City and smaller than the Summer Palace with an area of about 2,700,000 square meters. The Temple was built in 1420 A.D. during the Ming Dynasty to offer sacrifice to Heaven. As Chinese emperors called themselves The Son of Heaven they dared not to build their own dwelling, Forbidden City bigger than a dwelling for Heaven. Three Echo Stones are outside the gate of the Imperial Vault of Heaven. If you speak facing the Vault while standing on the first stone, you will hear one echo standing on the second and then the third stone; you will hear two and three echoes respectively.
Besides carefully designed buildings, there are also some other scenes that you can enjoy like Nine-Dragon Cypress. It got its name from branches which look like nine dragons wind with each other. It was said that the cypress was planted more than 500 years ago.
People say that the real traditions of Beijing are the culture of the Hutong and the culture of the courtyard. How true that is. Often, it is Beijings winding Hutongs that attract tourists from home and abroad rather than the high-rise buildings and large mansions. Hutong is a typical lane or small street in Beijing that originated during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Hutong is a Mongolian word, meaning water well. During that time, water well is the settlement around what people lived. There are tens of thousands of hutongs surrounding the Forbidden City. In the past, Beijing was composed of countless courtyards. Hutongs were formed when people left a passageway between two courtyards to make entering them more convenient.
As the symbol of Beijing City, a hutong has its own layout and structure, which makes it a wonder in the world. When taking a birds eye view of Beijing, you will find the amalgamation of hutongs and courtyards just like an orderly chessboard with delicate gardens, fine rockeries, and ancient ruins. Hutongs have witnessed the development of Beijing.