Houhai is one of the interconnected lakes of Beijing. This particular lake is located in the northwestern part of the city, "behind" the Forbidden City, hence its name Houhai - Back Lake. Surrounding the lake are some old neighborhoods of Beijing, with its narrow and winding lanes and some traditional quatrangle-shaped residential houses that the locals call "Siheyuan." On the banks of the lake there are now many bars and restaurants, which have made Houhai one of the popular nightlife spots in Beijing.
Beijing is the political, economic and political center of China. More than any other Chinese city, Beijing offers a wide range of attractions to its visitors, be it history, architecture, vacational resorts, or shopping opportunities.
Back Lake (Houhai)
Chang'an Avenue (Chang'an Dajie) is a thorougfafe that extends east and west from the Tian'anmen Square in the heart of Beijing. The avenue is lined with landmarks such as the Forbidden City, the Great Hall of People, the Historical Museum, the National Centre for Performing Arts, Beijing Hotel, and more. Strictly speaking Chang'an Ave. is the avenue that lies between the Eastern Second Beltway and the Western Second Beltway, but the avenue actually extends in both directions for tens of kilometers, under different names, making the street one of the mnost important in Beijing. Chang'an literally means "Eternal Peace."
The Imperial Forbidden City (Zijincheng) is located in central Beijing. Built in the early 15th century, this was the palace where twenty-four emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties ruled China. The complex occupies 178 acres (72 hectares) of land. There are closet to 1,000 buildings in the palace, which were living quarters for the emperor, his women and his servants/enuchs as well as audiences with government officials. The palace complex is a rectangle in shape, enclosed with a wall that 19 meters hight and a moat that is 52 meters in width. After the Qing dynasty, the last of China's imperial dynasties was overthrown in 1911, the Forbidden City was turned into a museum, which is open for public today.
Grand National Opera House
The Grand National Opera House (Guojia Da Juyuan), also known as the National Center for Performing Arts, stands next to the Great Hall of the People on the western side of the Tian'anmen Square. Completed in 2007, the half-dome titanium-class building makes a sharp contrast with the more traditional architecture surrounding it. The magnificent building houses multiple theaters.
Great Wall at Badaling
The Great Wall of China is said to be the largest man-made structure on the earth. Its construction started over two thousand years ago and its length extended from the Pacific coast to the western territory of China, to a total length of about 6,500 km (4,000 mi). The section of the Great Wall at Badaling, erected in the early 16th century, is located 65 km northwest of central Beijing and is the most-visited section of the Great Wall in the Beijing area.
Great Wall at Mutianyu
Mutianyu is 80 km north of central Beijing. This is one of the popular spots where travelers can visit the Great Wall. The existing wall in this area was built in the 15th century, during the Ming Dynasty. Not as famous as the Great Wall at Badaling, it is less also less crowded here.
Great Wall at Simatai
Located 140 km northeast of Beijing, Simtai Great Wall is farther away from Beijing than the sections of the Great Wall at Badaling and Mutianyu, and resulted, it sees fewer visitors than two other places. Nonetheless, some visitors find the Great Wall here more impressive as it stands on some steep mountain slopes. A lake separates the Great Wall here into two sections, which together feature 34 watch towers.
In Chinese, "Yonghe Gong" - "The Palace of Happiness and Harmony." Originally built at the end of the 17th century, this was the residence of a prince in the Qing Dynasty. In the mide of the 18th century the palace was used as living quarters for Tibetan Buddhist lamas who visited Beijing. Since then the complex has survived as the largest Buddhist temple in Beijing.
Ming Tombs outside Beijing
The tombs are known as Shisanling, which means "Thirteen Mausoleums." These are burial places for emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The imperial tombs, are 40 km northwest of central Beijing. The oldest of the tombs, along with their , along with their auxiliary structures above ground, were constructed at the beginning of the 15th century and the last of the tombs was completed in the middel of the 17th century. Altogether, thirteen emperors and 23 empresses were buried here.
This is the main site of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Among the major sports facilities are the National Stadium (more popularly known as "Bird Nest"), the National Aquatics Center ("Water Cube"). North of the sports complex is a large park with greens.
Panjiayuan Antique Market
Panjiayuan Antique Market is located in the southeastern part of Beijing. Everyday hundreds of vendors sell antigues, handicrafts, souvenir and artworks, some of which are authentic, with the rest being fakes.
Sanlitun is a ppoular nighlife spot in Beijing. Located in the esstern part of the city, the area first gained its popularity for the large number of bars that lined Sanlitun Street, which catered to tourists and foreign expatriots in Beijng. In recent years the neighborhood has gone through renovations, which saw the arrival of some fancy stores that appeal to the young crowd - Apple, Adidas, and some brand name shops that sell fashionable apparels.
Summer Palace (Yihe Yuan) Yiheyuan is located in the northwestern suburbs of Beijing. Formerly an imperial garden with residential quarters and entertainment facilities, the park comprises 290 hectares (716 acres) land and water surface. Built in the 18th century, the park came to be known as the Summer Palace in the West because in the old days this served as a summer retreat for the Chinese court. This is not be confused with the Imperial Summer Palace at Chengde, which is 200 km north of Beijing.
Temple of Heaven
Located in the southern part of Beijing, this was where traditionally Chinese emperors made their offerings to Heaven, wishing for blessings and good harvests. Constructed in the early 15 century, the temple occupies 27.2 hectares (67.2 acres) of land. The main building is the Altar for Heaven.
Believed to be the largest city square in the world, Tian'anmen Square is situated in the heart of Beijing. North of the square is the Palace Museum (the odl Forbidden City). The Great Hall of People, which hosues China's National Congress, forms the western side of the square. In the east, the Chinese Historical Museum stands. In the south, it is the Front Gate, which used to be the main gate of Beijing. In the square itself one find's Mao's Memorial Hall, the Monument for People's Horoes, and, plenty of open space.
Universities of Beijing
A few of China's leading universities, such as Beijing University and Qinghua University, are located in northwestern Beijing. For visitors who are interested in education and academics.
This is one of the prime shopping streets in Beijing, located east of the Forbidden City and north of Chang'an Avenue.
Beijing Nanyuan Airport is located 14 km south of the city center. This is a small airport with only domestic services. Transportation: shuttle buses, city buses, and taxis.
Beijing Capital International Airport is located 30 km northeast of the city center. Transportation: shuttle buses, taxis, and Airport Express Train.