Imperial Palace (The Forbidden City)
According to AbbreviationFinder, the most famous and still most mysterious tourist attraction is the “Forbidden City” (Zijincheng) or the Imperial Palace (Gugong), located in the center of Beijing on Tiananmen Square, from where the Chinese Ming and Qing Emperors ruled until they were forced to abdicate in the 1911 Xinhai Revolution. The name “Forbidden City” comes from the fact that the ordinary people of Beijing were forbidden to enter the area of the palace at the time.
Tiananmen Square, which gained notoriety in 1989 when a peaceful demonstration was brutally suppressed by the government and thousands of civilians died, is located south of the Forbidden City and the Palace Museum. If there is a center in Beijing, it is it. The dimensions of the square, which is the largest in the world with an area of 40 hectares, are so gigantic that more than a million people could easily be there. In the middle of the square is a monument commemorating the heroes of the people and the tomb of Mao Zedong, the leading chairman of the Communist Party of China who died in 1976.
National stadium (bird’s nest)
This sports stadium was designed for the 2008 Olympics by the Basel / Switzerland architects Herzog & Meuron. The groundbreaking ceremony took place in December 2003 – the actual work did not begin until March 2004. The stadium was inaugurated on April 18, 2008 with a walking competition. It is around 330 m long, 220 m wide and 69 m high and can accommodate around 91,000 visitors. Its outer shell consists of around 42,000 tons of steel, which was processed in such a way that the stadium was named “Bird’s Nest”. At the Olympics, the opening ceremony, the closing ceremony as well as the athletics competitions and the soccer final took place here.
This bohemian district of modern art – located on the northeastern edge of Beijing – was an armaments factory of the Chinese army under Mao Tsetung. The armament systems were given to China as a gift by the Soviet Union and the GDR in the early 1950s. The architecture of the production facilities is reminiscent of that of the Bauhaus with large skylights in a sawtooth look. At the end of the 20th century, the production facilities were so outdated and normal houses in the expanding city had grown so close to the production halls that a new use was considered. There are now studios, galleries, museums, fashion stores as well as restaurants and cafes here. The area belongs to the “Seven Star Group”
This is a neighboring area of the Haidan district of north-west Beijing and is in the immediate vicinity of various universities and institutes such as the Beijing Language and Culture University, the Beijing University and the Beijing Institute for Geology. It is understandable that this area is mainly inhabited by students. The district is extremely busy, with plenty of bars and nightclubs that are cheaper than the more central areas. Wudaokou is best known for its large foreign population, which consists of many international students as well as Korean immigrants.
China Art Gallery
Here changing avant-garde and progressive paintings are exhibited and from time to time also photographs. Unfortunately there are no English explanatory boards, but this exhibition is a good place to start for anyone looking for a glimpse into contemporary Chinese art.
The museum is also known as the “Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution” and is the largest and most important military museum in China. The visitor will find around 130,000 exhibits here, most of which date from the 20th century. The building was built under the direction of the chief architect Zhang Kaiji in the typical style of socialism (confectioner style) on the tenth anniversary of the People’s Republic in 1959. The building has been open to the public since August 1, 1960. The museum consists of two three-story wings and a seven-story central building, which is closed at the top by the emblem of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
The museum is related to the “Chinese Revolution Museum”. In addition to documents and information on the history of China, contemporary art collections and cultural exhibitions are also offered in several halls.
National History Museum
The museum was built in the 1950s and today shows portraits of great historical naturalists such as Charles Darwin. Human carcasses or testicles are also exhibited. Dinosaurs can be viewed on the lower floor. Other exhibition spaces display other prehistoric creatures. Unfortunately, here too the English descriptions and explanations are inadequate.
The Beijing Palace Museum (Běijīng Gùgōng Bówùyuàn) can be considered one of the most important museums in the People’s Republic of China. It was set up in the rooms of the former imperial palace in 1925 after the last Chinese emperor abdicated in 1917. The museum has important parts of the art collection of the Chinese emperors as well as numerous household items and representational artifacts.
The palace district of the Ming and Qing dynasties was built between the years 1406 and 1420 and covers an area of around 72 hectares = 720,000 m².
It should be mentioned that from October 20, 2012 to January 20, 2013 parts of the collection were exhibited in the “Museum for East Asian Art” in Cologne under the title “Shine of the Emperors of China”.
Poly Art Museum
Located on the 2nd floor of Poly Plaza, this hotel is an excellent museum of the newer generations. Although relatively small, it houses China’s best collections. Exhibits include bronze statues, old bells with animal faces on them, a rare Zun boat in the shape of a rabbit and a wonderful group of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The latter are the Buddhist saints.
Probably the best place in Beijing for shoppers is Panjiayuan, which is unfortunately only open on weekends. You can buy everything there, from posters to statues of Buddha to Tibetan carpets.
In addition to shoes, clothing and electronic goods, Chinese art objects can also be purchased here. Of course, all kinds of pearls are also sold here, from freshwater to saltwater pearls, from white to black pearls.
Xiushui Silk Market
This is the best address in town for those interested in silk goods. Action is a must. The market is located in Jianguomenwai Dajie.