Archive for the ‘Beijing Attractions’ Category

Qianmen Street, a famous pedestrian street in Beijing

Saturday, November 10th, 2018
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The 845-meter long Qianmen Street runs south from Tiananmen Square, just along the Beijing central axis. It is one of the last remnants of the business centers of the old Beijing. It has been transformed into a modern commercial pedestrian street, the most second visited walking street after Wangfujing Street in Beijing.

Qianmen Street was initially formed in Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911). By the time of Emperor Jiajing, the 12th Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) emperor, the street was dotted with guild halls built by different localities, to provide housing to citizens from other parts of China intending to take the imperial exams.

Qianmen Street became even more prosperous in the early years of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) with the development of activities such as lantern fairs, theaters and tea houses. Places like the Guanghe Theater  – today threatened with demolition — and the Quanjude roast duck restaurant are part of Beijing’s history.

The original Qianmen Street in Ming and Qing Dynasties was burnt down to ashes in 1900 when the Allied Forces of the Eight Powers ransacked Beijing. Physically, there is nothing left for us to retrieve.

The present Qianmen Street has been rebuilt on the historical photos and the mould of the 1920s to 1930s. The 1.45-square kilometer area has been built into four zones for culture, food, shopping and entertainment. Trolley cars are back to transport and entertain tourists.

The area is home to 50 courtyards and hutongs listed as state-level heritage sites, as well as 80 famed shops that have been operating for over a century, such as the Liubiju sauce and pickle shop, Tongrentang drugstore, Ruifuxiang silk shop, Neiliansheng shoes store and Zhangyiyuan tea shop.

Follow me to explore Qianmen Street.

You may visit Qianmen Street from its north entrance, south of Tiananmen Square.

The north entrance to Qianmen Street with a traditional archway.

Or, you may enter Qianmen Street from its south entrance. The distance between the north entrance and south entrance is 845m in length.

The south entrance to Qianmen Street

The Dangdang Che ( Tram)  will be in service during Chinese public holidays running from north to south.
The Dangdang Che ( Tram) will be in service during Chinese public holidays running from north to south.

The Dangdang Che ( Tram)

Walking along the street.

Walking along the street.


The father and daughter are ambling down the street.

The father and daughter are ambling on the street.

KFC is mixed with the traditional Beijing elements.
KFC is mixed with the traditional Beijing elements.

KFC is mixed with the traditional Beijing elements.

The 845m long Qianmen Street is a nice place for a walk.
The 845m long Qianmen Street is a nice place for a walk.

The 845m long Qianmen Street is a nice place for a walk.

Here you can find the West meets the East.
Here you can find the West meets the East.

Here you can find the West meets the East.

The time-honored Yueshengzhai Restaurant.

The time-honored Yueshengzhai Restaurant.

The famous Qianmen Quanjude Duck Restaurant.

The famous Qianmen Quanjude Duck Restaurant.

People are lining up for having a bite of Duyichu shaomai.

People are lining up for having a bite of Duyichu shaomai.

 

China Bookstore

China Bookstore

Changcuntang, a famous traditional Chinese Pharmacy

Changcuntang, a famous traditional Chinese Pharmacy

 

MCdonald’s on the street

MCdonald’s on the street

 Walking about 80 meters from the north entrance to Qianmen Street, on your right hand, you will see the entrance to the famous Dashilan, once the business center of Beijing.

The Dashilan area has gathered some of China’s oldest brands, such as Tongrentang (TCM), Neiliansheng (shoes), and Ruifuxiang (silk and fabrics).

The entrnce to the famous Dashilan

The two time-honored shops selling hats and shoes inside Dashilan Area.

The two time-honored shops selling hats and shoes inside Dashilan Area

Its north entrance is just behind Zhengyang Gate ( Arrow Tower ).

Its north entrance is just behind Zhengyang Gate ( Arrow Tower ).

Its north entrance is just behind Zhengyang Gate ( Arrow Tower ).


Tip: Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Beijing guided tours:Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Any questions, just drop line.

Ming Dynasty Wall Relics Park Beijing

Friday, November 9th, 2018
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Plan your Beijing tour? The Ming Dynasty City Wall Relics Park is worth your time to have a stroll.

Beijing as capital city called” Shangdu” during Jin Dynasty (1115-1234)

800 years ago Beijing began its history as a capital city when 1153 AD the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) moved its capital from Shangjing to Beijing, called Zhongdu.

The rebuilding of the new city began in 1151 with expansion to the east, west and south. The new expanded city, with its splendid buildings in the center measured roughly five kilometers in circumference in today’s southern Beijing.

Beijing as capital city called “Dadu” in Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368)

Mongol armies seized Zhongdu in 1215. In 1271 Kublai Khan formally adopted the new dynasty’s name ” Yuan ” and made Yanjing (Beijing) the capital. Kublai Khan rebuilt the city and gave it the Chinese (Han) name of Dadu or Great Capital.

The construction of Dadu began in 1267 and ended in 1293 The magnificent palaces of the Jin capital Zhongdu were destroyed by fire during the dynastic transition from the Jin to the Yuan. When the capital was rebuilt, the original site of Zhongdu was replaced by a larger rectangular area centered in a beautiful lake region in the northeastern suburbs.

Beijing as capital city called “Beijing” in Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644)

On August 2, 1368, Ming troops conquered Dadu and renamed it Beiping (Northern Peace). Zhu Yuanzhang, the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), however, made Nanjing his first capital.

Beginning in 1406, Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty spent 15 years constructing walls 12 meters high and 10 meters thick at their base around the city of Beiping. The construction of palace buildings and gardens began in 1417 and was completed in 1420. The following year, Emperor Yongle formally transferred the capital from Nanjing to Beiping and, for the first time, named the city Beijing (Northern Capital).

During Ming Dynasty, there were 9 gates in Inner City and 7 gates in Outer Gates. The nine gates of the Inner City wall: Zhengyangmen, Chongwenmen, Xuanwumen, Chaoyangmen, Dongzhimen, Fuchengmen, Xizhimen, Andingmen and Deshengmen; ehe seven outer gates: Dongbianmen, Guangqumen, Xibianmen, Guang’ anmen, Yongdingmen, Zuoanmen and Youanmen.

Beijing as capital city in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)

When the Manchus founded the Qing Dynasty in 1644, they began to build suburban gardens, the most famous of which was Yuanmingyuan. Qing Dynasty left the city wall and palaces built in Ming Dynasty almost intact.

So Beijing’s city plan was first laid out in the Yuan Dynasty. Yet only after massive reconstruction during the Ming and Qing (1644-1911), did the city come as an architectural masterpiece as the capital of the Chinese empire.

The Ming Wall Relics Park

Follow me to explore the only remaining city wall relics built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in Beijing.

The remnant city wall is about 1.5km in length, which has been transformed into a public park. The Ming Wall Relics Park is composed of two parts: the wall relics itself and the southeast corner tower of the former inner city in Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Let’s first visit the Southeast Tower of the Inner City or Arrow Tower (北京内城东南角楼). The tower was first built 1436, the largest of its kind existent in China, now a key historical and cultural site under state protection.

It has two eaves with one row of arrow windows below the higher eave and three rows of arrow windows below the lower eave, totaling 144 arrow windows.

The Southeast Tower (Arrow Tower) is 29 meters high including its 12-meter base and 39.45 meters in circumference.

It has two eaves with one row of arrow windows below the higher eave and three rows of arrow windows below the lower eave, totaling 144 arrow windows.

Now we are at the entrance to the Southeast Tower and the entrance fee is RMB 10 per person. The two Ming soldiers are standing by the entrance.

The two Ming soldiers are standing by the entrance.

Walking up the flight of stairs before you easily get to the top of the city wall leading to the tower.

Walking up the flight of stairs before you easily get to the top of the city wall leading to the tower

On the wall, you can either visit the Tower on your left side or walk on the remaining city wall on your right side. Let’s turn left and go up the ladders and have a look inside the tower.

On-the-wall-you-can-either-visit-the-Tower-on-your-left-side

All the beams and posts are painted in vermilion.

All the beams and posts are painted in vermilion.

The Chinese traditional architecture

The Chinese traditional architecture

On the second floor, there is an exhibition corridor introducing all the 9 inner gates and outer gates in Ming and Qing Dynasty using pictures and writings.

On the second floor, there is an exhibition corridor introducing all the 9 inner gates and outer gates in Ming and Qing Dynasty using pictures and writings.


After visiting the Tower, walk down stairs and go out for a glimpse of the wall on the top. The Ming Soldier is standing by the Duty Room. The duty room is usually built on the terrace of the city wall.The duty rooms were built in the form of gable roof and the earth beds were for the duty men to sleep. The two existent duty rooms were built in 1988 according to the historical records.

In Qing Dynasty, the city was guided by the Eight Banner troops. The Blue Banner defended the city wall area between Chonwenmen and Dongbianmen. This the stone tablet to fix the Blue Banner’s flag.

The Ming Soldier is standing by the Duty Room 

In-Qing-Dynasty-the-city-was-guided-by-the-Eight-Banner-troops

The cannon was built in 1638 with the two duty rooms and the Tower as the backdrop.

The cannon was built in 1638 with the two duty rooms and the Tower as the backdrop.


On the west tip of the wall on the top,  you can clearly see the wall is sandwiched by Beijing Railway Station and the wall park itself.

On the west tip of the wall on the top, you can clearly see the wall is sandwiched by Beijing Railway Station and the wall park itself.

The Wall Relics Park seen from the wall top.

The Wall Relics Park seen from the wall top.

The original city wall turned north here from the southeast tower. But the wall was turned down to pave the way for the railways. The man is standing where the wall was cut.

The-original-city-wall-turned-north-here-from-the-southeast-tower

Finishing the wall top tour,  I ‘m walking out of the tower area though the former railway arch.

Finshing the wall top tour, I ‘m walking out of the tower area though the former railyway arch.

The wall relics outside the tower is free of charge. It is a pleasant walk along the path zigzagging and paralleling the wall. Now it happens the park is holding the plum festival with colorful decorations.

It is a pleasant walk along the path zigzagging and paralleling the wall

Ambling on the road paralleling the wall.

Ambling on the road paralleling the wall.

It is a fine day for outdoor activities.

It is a fine day for outdoor activities.

The blooming plum with the backdrop of the city wall.

The blooming plum with the backdrop of the city wall.

On the 1.5km long city wall, there are 12 terraces at the interval of 80 meters. The terrace was built to strengthen the defense capability.

On the 1.5km long city wall, there are 12 terraces at the interval of 80 meters. The terrace was built to strengthen the defense capability

More flowers are in bloom by the wall.

More flowers are in bloom by the wall.

The blooming plum beautifies the wall.

The blooming plum beautifies the wall.

Catch the beauty and take it home.

Catch the beauty and take it home.

The Ming Dynasty Wall Relics Park 1

The Ming Dynasty Wall Relics Park 3

The Ming Dynasty Wall Relics Park 4

The Ming Dynasty Wall Relics Park 5

Blooming flowers and the ancient city wall.

 

The Southeast Tower and the Wall relics

 

06611Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

Snow and Ice at Bird’s Nest (National Stadium)

Monday, November 5th, 2018
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Plan your Beijing winter tour? Are you coming from a hot country with little concrete concept of snow? If you are eager to play snow in Beijing, now you don’t have to bother yourself to go to the ski resorts dotted around the suburbs of Beijing ( See the Top 10 Ski Resorts in Beijing ).

You are able to enjoy various snow activities inside Beijing National Stadium (Bird’s Nest) during January and February. The two-week Olympic feast has left Beijing the two world-famous Olympic sites nicknamed Bird’s Nest and Water Cube.

Beijing National Stadium faces almost the same problem as other post Olympic games countries in how to keep the their stadiums in the black. So an albatross or a fortune for Bird’s Nest? The fake fluff produced inside Beijing National Stadium since 2009 has shown that it wants a positive result.

The Happy Snow and Ice Season held by National Stadium (Bird’s Nest) generally lasts from Mid-Dec to Feb. As usual the basic snow activities include an artificial snow playground (or so-called ski resort), bumper cars, sled runs, snow castle featuring cartoon characters an ice rink.

Beijing National Stadium’s 80% of the annual income comes from the entrance tickets paid by visitors during their maiden Beijing tour, Making the good use of Bird’s Nest in winter is aimed at keeping its profit generating momentum.

People have to shell out over RMB 50 apiece just to enter the stadium, plus RMB 40 for the snow playing inside, added up to RMB 90 per person.

The Third Happy Snow and Ice Season at Bird’s Nest
Opening Time
9:00 – 17:30
Entrance ticket: RMB 50 + RMB 40
Transport:  about bus lines or the Metro Line 8
Hotline:010-84373008
Please check How to visit Bird’s Nest for more transport information.

There are various entrances leading to the compound where the Bird’s Nest is located. We enter the complex buildings from its northeast entrance. I take a whole picture of the huge Bird’s Nest thanks for Canon.

We enter the complex buildings from its northeast entrance


We are on the first floor of National Stadium with a fairly clear picture of the ski resort.

We are on the first floor of National Stadium with a fairly clear picture of the ski resort.


The snow castle featuring cartoon characters on the snow.

The snow castle featuring cartoon characters on the snow.

An ice rink on the man-made snow field.

An ice rink on the man-made snow field.

Walking up to the fifth floor step by step.

Walking up to the fifth floor step by step.


On the fifth floor and about to see the playground.

On the fifth floor and about to see the whole playground.


Now we have a panoramic of the whole ski resort at Bird’s Nest.

Now we have a panoramic of the whole ski resort at Bird’s Nest

Very few people on the snow playground.

Very few people on the snow playground.


Tip : Hassle-free Beijing Guided Winter Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing in winter:
Mutianyu Great Wall + Beijing Huaibei International Ski Resort Day Tour  from US$79 p/p
Beijing Winter Downtown Day Tour  from US$65 p/p
Beijing Nanshan Ski Day Tour  from US$89 p/p
Beijing 4 Day Winter Tour Package  from US$275 p/p
Beijing 5 Day Winter Tour Package  from US$369 p/p

Further Readings


Top Things to Do in Beijing in the Winter

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.