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Travel Tips to Beijing (PEK)
Peking: History and culture of a 3000-year-old city
In the middle of the People’s republic of China is the metropolis of Peking. Peking, or Beijing, is not only the political centre of China, but also the capital of the People’s Republic. The capital is known for its multi-faceted cultural history. Many of the sacred temples, the old and the new summer palaces and the Forbidden City are part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The history of Peking begins over 3,000 years ago, and many of the historical developments can be seen through historical buildings. The megacity of Peking today covers an area of 16 square kilometres, which is about the size of Schleswig-Holstein.
The Forbidden City – the Result of Impressive Chinese Architecture
In the centre of Peking is the Forbidden City. Up until 1911 it was the seat of Government and the residence of the Chinese Emperor. Access was only permitted to the Emperor, his entourage and his family. The entrance to the Forbidden City was via only one gate in the mighty wall that was guarded by the Emperor’s followers. Behind the wall, the impressive establishment with the magnificent palace of the Emperor can be seen, even today one of the architectural masterpieces of China. In those days, no building could be built higher than the roofs of the Forbidden City. Today the world cultural heritage site can be visited from April to October between 08.30 and 17.00 and from November to March from 08.30 until 16.30.
Tiananmen Square- The Forecourt to the Forbidden City and Place for Celebrations
Tiananmen Square is to the south of the Forbidden City. The square is also called the “Square at the Gate of Heavenly Peace”. It is directly in front of the walls of the Forbidden City and until 1911 it would have been impossible for the public to use it. The square has an area of about 40 hectares and is the biggest fortified square in the world. Every year there are countless events here, all sorts of festivities and announcements. The square became well-known because of the Tiananmen massacre, the violent quelling of an uprising of the Chinese public for more democracy, in June 1989.
The Heaven’s Temple for a Rich Harvest
In Peking, there are many architecturally important temple installation but the Heaven’s Temple stands out is the Heaven’s Temple in South Peking. It became famous for the annual arrival of the Emperors to pray for a good harvest. The route to the temple was a sacred ritual that was mostly undertaken with great pomp and ceremony. The entire Imperial family went from the forbidden City. The temple was round and built in the middle of a park. A staircase led up to it which ended in a three-stage marble terrace. From there you can enter the temple. The Heaven’s Temple was built in 1420 but burned down completely in the 19th century and was rebuilt. Reserve a flight to Peking today and wander in the tracks of the Emperor!