I spend a couple of day in Beijing during mid October, getting acclimatized to the Far Eastern way of life and preparing my onwards journey to the DPRK. I settled in for a 5 days visit and booked a room in the Park Plaza hotel in the Wangfujing district on Jinboa Street. This way I was able to walk to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square…which took about 45 minutes. The weather was fine (around 15-18 degrees C) and I did not experience any pollution. I walked along the busy Dong anmen Dajie Street which took me to Beijing high-end fashion street with modern shopping Malls. From there it was a further 35 minutes towards the impressive walls of the Imperial Palace (Forbidden City). I tried to enter but found it to busy with ordinary Chinese visitors…and it was a typical normal slow day for the city of Beijing. I decided to explore the massive Tiananmen Square and its surrounding. Beware that some taxi drivers will not take you to Tiananmen Square…due to the very wide and busy street in front of the square. Afterwards I took a taxi to Prospect Hill (Coal Hill) which provides an excellent view of the Forbidden City and the rest of Beijing. This photographic tribute only show's my little walking expedition.
Beijing sometimes also known as Peking, is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world. The population as of 2010 was 19,612,368. The metropolis, located in northern China, is governed as a direct-controlled municipality under the national government, with 14 urban and suburban districts and two rural counties. Beijing Municipality is surrounded by Hebei Province with the exception of neighbouring Tianjin Municipality to the southeast.
Beijing is the second largest Chinese city by urban population after Shanghai and is the nation's political, cultural, and educational centre. It is home to the headquarters of most of China's largest state-owned companies, and is a major hub for the national highway, expressway, railway, and high-speed rail networks, while Beijing Capital International Airport is the second busiest in the world by passenger traffic.
Few cities in the world have been the political and cultural centre of an area as immense for so long. Beijing is one of the "Four Great Ancient Capitals of China" and has been the political centre of China for centuries. The city is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, and huge stone walls and gates, and its art treasures and universities have made it a centre of culture and art in China.
Beijing is situated at the northern tip of the roughly triangular North China Plain, which opens to the south and east of the city. Mountains to the north, northwest and west shield the city and northern China's agricultural heartland from the encroaching desert steppes. The northwestern part of the municipality, especially Yanqing County and Huairou District, are dominated by the Jundu Mountains, while the western part is framed by the Western Hills, or Xishan. The Great Wall of China, which stretches across the northern part of Beijing Municipality, made use of this rugged topography to defend against nomadic incursions from the steppes. Mount Dongling, in the Western Hills and on the border with Hebei, is the municipality's highest point, with an altitude of 2,303 metres (7,556 ft).
Major rivers flowing through the municipality include the Yongding River and the Chaobai River, part of the Hai River system, and flow in a southerly direction. Beijing is also the northern terminus of the Grand Canal of China, which was built across the North China Plain to Hangzhou. Miyun Reservoir, built on the upper reaches of the Chaobai River, is Beijing's largest reservoir, and crucial to its water supply.
The urban area of Beijing is in the south-central part of the municipality and occupies a small but expanding portion of the municipality's area. It spreads out in bands of concentric ring roads, of which the fifth and outermost, the Sixth Ring Road (the numbering starts at two), passes through several satellite towns. Tian'anmen and Tian'anmen Square are at the center of Beijing, directly to the south of the Forbidden City, the former residence of the emperors of China. To the west of Tian'anmen is Zhongnanhai, home to the paramount leaders of the PRC. Running through central Beijing from east to west is Chang'an Avenue, one of the city's main thoroughfares.
Beijing has a rather dry, monsoon-influenced humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dwa), characterized by hot, humid summers due to the East Asian monsoon, and generally cold, windy, dry winters that reflect the influence of the vast Siberian anticyclone. Spring can bear witness to sandstorms blowing in from the Mongolian steppe, accompanied by rapidly warming, but generally dry, conditions. Autumn, like spring, sees little rain, but is crisp and short. The monthly daily average temperature in January is −3.7 °C (25.3 °F), while in July it is 26.2 °C (79.2 °F). Precipitation averages around 570 mm (22.4 in) annually, with the great majority of it falling in the summer months. Extremes have ranged from −27.4 °C (−17 °F) to 42.6 °C (109 °F).
Places of interest
At the historical heart of Beijing lies the Forbidden City, the enormous palace compound that was the home of the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties; the Forbidden City hosts the Palace Museum, which contains imperial collections of Chinese art. Surrounding the Forbidden City are several former imperial gardens, parks and scenic areas, notably Beihai, Shichahai, Zhongnanhai, Jingshan and Zhongshan. These places, particularly Beihai Park, are described as masterpieces of Chinese gardening art, and are popular tourist destinations with tremendous historical importance; in the modern era, Zhongnanhai has also been the political heart of various Chinese governments and regimes and is now the headquarters of the Communist Party of China. From Tiananmen Square, right across from the Forbidden City, there are several notable sites, such as the Tiananmen, Qianmen, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, the Monument to the People's Heroes, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. The Summer Palace and the Old Summer Palace both lie at the western part of the city; the former, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, contains a comprehensive collection of imperial gardens and palaces that served as the summer retreat for the Qing emperors.
Excellent website on: China Beijing travel information with Beijing facts, city map, weather, tours, transportation, hotels, travel tips, pictures and attractions http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/beijing.htm
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