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A Trip to Beijing

Travel

Shweta Ganesh Kumar takes a trip to one of the cleanest cities in the world!

 

With so much to offer, from ancient, forbidden palaces to structures that were rumoured to be huge enough to be seen from the moon, Beijing is home to it all. 

The first place that I visited in Beijing was the Forbidden City. Built as the Chinese Imperial Palace for rulers of the Ming and the Qing dynasties, it was strictly forbidden for commoners to enter its massive gates. It was only in 1925 that the Forbidden City was transformed into the Palace Museum, which is open to both Chinese citizens and foreign. It's the Chinese year of the rabbit and it is time that we all said  "Ni-hao" to Beijing, the capital of China. With so much to offer, from ancient, forbidden palaces to structures that were rumoured to be huge enough to be seen from the moon, Beijing is home to it all. The first place that I visited in Beijing was the Forbidden City. Built as the Chinese Imperial Palace for rulers of the Ming and the Qing dynasties, it was strictly forbidden for commoners to enter its massive gates. It was only in 1925 that the Forbidden City was transformed into the Palace Museum, which is open to both Chinese citizens and foreigners. Right across from there is Tiananmen Square and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, the man who was the architect of the People's Republic of China. 

Despite the stunning architecture of Beijing city, the one sight that will stay with you forever is that of the Great Wall. This massive structure, which was built in parts from as early as the 5th Century, snakes across hills and stands proud and strong. It's much steeper than it looks in pictures and if you manage to climb up to one of its watchtowers, you can see the Chinese countryside all around. 

Back in the Chinese capital, hop on to a subway and head to the Beijing Zoo to catch a glimpse of cuddly pandas. If you liked watching the Olympics on TV, go to the Beijing National Stadium and figure out why it's called the Bird's Nest. 

Also don't forget to bite into a sweet candied apple and taste some yummy dimsums while you're there. It's not for nothing that Chinese food is known as one of the tastiest in the world.

 

FACT FILE

- Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China.

- Currency: Yuan

- Language: Chinese or the Beijing dialect of the Mandarin language spoken across China

 - 'Ni-hao' means 'hello' in Chinese

 

A CITY OF MANY NAMES

Beijing has been renamed several times. During the Jin Dynasty, the city was known as Zhongdu and then later under the Mongol Yuan Dynasty as Dadu in Chinese and Daidu in Mongolian. The city has also been called Cambuluc by Marco Polo. The name of the city was changed from Beijing (Peking) to Beiping (Peiping), literally meaning 'Northern Peace' twice. Yanjing is and has been another popular informal name for Beijing. It is a reference to the ancient State of Yan that existed there during the Zhou Dynasty. This name is reflected in Yenching University, an institution of higher learning that was merged into Peking University.

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