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Once a private park of the Forbidden City, Jingshan Park opened to the public in the 1990s. The most striking aspect of this park is the hill, which is made from the earth dug up to create the moat around the Forbidden City. Climb to the top of this hill to get a magnificent view of the imperial palace. This park is also infamously known as the place where the last of the Ming Emperors (Chong Zhen) committed suicide when the palace grounds were stormed by rebels. This beautiful park is a must visit to get a feel of the history of the city.
Enclosed within a grand stone courtyard, the Hall of Supreme Harmony, also known as Taihe Dian, is the largest wooden hall in the Forbidden City and also the whole of China. Mounted on a three-storied terrace with a height of 6 meters (20 feet), it is adorned with carved balustrades. Among the most notable features of the hall is the roof of double eaves, and the gold imperial Dragon Throne which has dragons coiled around it. This magnificent hall is a sight you must visit when in the imperial palace, just to view the magnificent ceiling and throne.
Situated in the heart of the capital, the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) is one of the largest art museums in the nation. It is dedicated to exhibiting, collecting and researching modern and contemporary Chinese art. The museum was constructed between 1958 and 1962, and renovated in 2004 through 2005. Spread over an area of 30,000 square meters, it is divided into 21 exhibition halls, NAMOC has a collection of over 100,000 ancient and contemporary Chinese and Western artworks, including folk arts, puppets, kites, embroidery and lacquer ware.
One of Beijing's greatest gems, the Forbidden City is a national treasure. Constructed in 1420, this must-see historical attraction was once the imperial residence for both the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is called the forbidden city because no one was allowed to enter or leave the city without the emperor's permission. The sprawling complex contains over 70 structures with more than 9000 rooms containing priceless artifacts and relics. The palace was turned into a museum during the early 20th Century and offers great insight into China's past. While throngs of visitors come through each day, the royal gardens area is surprisingly calm and quiet. Enter this giant complex through the impressive Tiananmen Gate.
The Hall of Central Harmony is one of the three halls that form a part of the Outer Court of the Forbidden City. Although the hall was originally constructed in 1420, repeated damage by fire meant that it had to be rebuilt several times. The existing hall dates back to 1627, and is a beautiful example of ancient, imperial architecture. The square hall is centered around a throne, flanked by two majestic dragons and incense bowls that were used to warm the space. The Hall of Central Harmony was the exclusive domain of the emperor and it is where he would retire to rest and prepare for various ceremonies. The hall remains beautifully preserved and is a part of the Palace Museum.
Helping to ease the flow of visitors to the Forbidden City, the Meridian Gate acts as its primary entrance. Visitors travel from the south to north as the explore this vast complex. This particular gate features five distinct arches and is the largest structure in the entire complex towering 37 meters (125 feet) into the air. Historically, the gate offered five different doors, one for the emperor, three for the top scholars of the era and one for ministers and officials. The gate and entire complex was believed to be built along the Meridian, because the emperor's believed themselves to be the sons of the universe and therefore should live at the center of it.
Located in south of Dong Si intersection, Dong Cheng District, the mosque was built in 1447 in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The structure combines Chinese and Arabic styles like the Niu Jie Mosque. The mosque's library houses valuable manuscripts of the Koran, the Hadith, Islamic law and other works of Islamic philosophy, history and literature published in Egypt, India, Turkey and Pakistan. Three services are held at dawn, 1pm and 4pm daily. The site is also the Headquarters of the Beijing branch of China Islamism Association.
Di'anmenwai Street is one of the busiest lanes in Beijing's Xi Cheng District neighborhood. It is the starting point of the iconic Tiananmen Square, considered as the city's central axis. During the era of the Qing dynasty, Di'anmenwai Street was divided into two by the time-honored Wanning Bridge. Apart from the ancient bridge, Di'anmenwai Street is lined with several other heritage edifices, restaurants and small shops selling local wares.