China is the emerging superpower in the world, with the highest population across the globe accounting for almost 20% of all the people alive today. Beijing is the capital city, and one that epitomises the incredibly rich history of this fascinating nation, making it hugely worthwhile when you visit.
Cruises let you dock at Tianjin, just a short transfer away from the city itself, making it easily accessible as a place to explore, though there is so much to see that an itinerary including at least one night docked is the best option. Here’s a guide to some of the top attractions you should definitely visit on a visit to Beijing:
Tiananmen Square is one of the largest city squares in the entire world, and is renowned as an area of huge cultural significance. It is breath-takingly massive, and full of historic interest. Of course the most famous incident in the square in modern times is the protests of 1989. This event saw hundreds of pro-democracy civilians protesting before martial law was declared, and many hundred civilians were killed. As one of the most famous protests to ever take place it is always an interesting place to visit.
The Forbidden City is the amazing palace in the Dongcheng District that was home to the Imperial Court in history. It’s still preserved, showing the awe-inspiring historic architecture with almost 1,000 buildings within the rectangular walls. The decoration of the palaces and buildings makes it a truly beautiful place to visit.
National Museum of China
The National Museum of China is the main museum in the city, dedicated to the history of the country in general along with the arts. It’s been recently renovated and extended, re-opening in 2011 at three times the previous size. It is filled with intriguing artefacts and items from the various dynasties that make up China’s storied development as a country.
The National Stadium, or the Birds Nest, was the iconic sports arena that was built for the 2008 Olympics. It’s due to be converted, but now stands as an inspiring and impressive monument to contemporary architecture. It’s illuminated during the day, with the best time to visit in the early evening to see it lit up against the night sky.
Great Wall of China
While technically outside Beijing, it doesn’t take long to reach this wonder, with tours taking between an hour and 90 minutes to see the wall at the Juyongguan pass. It’s one of the most famous landmarks the world over, running for over 13,000 miles when you include every different branch. It doesn’t need more of an introduction, it’s one of the greatest sights in the world and one everyone should include on a visit to Beijing.
By Ian Lewis