Located 9 miles (15 kilometers) from central Beijing, this World Heritage Site is a popular tourist attraction. The Summer Palace is a breathtaking display of ancient art and architecture, lush royal gardens and amazing views. The Palace consists of numerous pavilions, towers, bridges and corridors and the gardens are some of the best preserved in China. First built in the Qing Dynasty in 1750 and known as the Garden of Clear Ripples, the Palace was almost completely destroyed in the war of 1860 and was restored in 1886. The Summer Palace is also known for its impressive 17-arch bridge and the Long Corridor decorated with brightly-colored paintings.
Located near the National Library of China, the Purple Bamboo Park, sometimes called Black Bamboo Park, is a traditionally landscaped garden. As the name suggests, the garden has a large variety of bamboo, more than 50 species all together, with the most prominent being the black bamboo. It covers an area of 14 hectares (34.5 acres), including three lakes and two small islands on the lakes. Five arched bridges connect the lakes, isles and main garden area and there are scattered corridors and pavilions throughout.
Tiananmen Square is one of the largest public squares in the world. The square is surrounded by a cluster of massive buildings including Tiananmen Gate, The Forbidden City, the Great Hall of the People, The Monument of the People's Heroes and the Mao Ze Dong Mausoleum. The original square was built in 1651, though it has undergone extensive expansion since then. The square has figured in many historical events; Mao Zedong announced the founding of the People's Republic there in 1949, and in 1989 the area was the site of the famous Tiananmen Square Protests, a pro-democracy movement that ended in the deaths of many civilians. Today, visitors can walk through the square and learn more about its turbulent history. Â
A national symbol and historical monument, the Tiananmen Gate is the central heartbeat of the bustling capital, Beijing. Meaning the 'Gate of Heavenly Peace', the Tiananmen Gate was first erected in during the reign of the Ming Dynasty in 1420. Serving as the gateway to the Forbidden City, the gate features two regal lion statues meant to ward off evil spirits. Grand ceremonies, rituals and political speeches have taken place here over the centuries and thus it serves as an integral part of the nation.
Spanning 564,000 square meters, the Beijing Botanical Garden is a very large breath of fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of the city center. The park was established in 1955 and includes dozens of gardens and several Buddhist temples. 6,000 different species of plants call the park home, including 500 species of flowers that are truly a sight to behold. Visitors can wander through the serene gardens, explore the inner workings of the hothouses, and enjoy a peaceful afternoon sitting by the park's waterfalls and ponds. Â
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.