After some 4,000 years of continuous civilisation, China’s long history means it is home to many internationally important landmarks, such as the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. The country is now the world’s fastest-growing economy and its capital city reflects all the dynamism of its people while remaining the cultural heart of the country.

The Great Wall

The Great Wall is the highlight of any trip to China. Built to protect the northern borders from attack during various dynasties, the sight of the fortifications snaking through the mountains is an awe-inspiring testament to mankind’s most extensive construction ever undertaken.

The most popular site is two hours away from Beijing. Badaling is easier to climb than other Great Wall sections, but it is also the most crowded. Fewer tour groups travel to Mutianyu, which is another hour away, or Simatai, which is four hours away, but it is very steep and has no cable car.

The Forbidden City

Within Beijing itself, there are many historical sites famous the world over. The Forbidden City was the imperial palace for 24 Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. For more than five centuries ordinary people were forbidden from even approaching the palace wall, on pain of instant execution. Now the Palace is open to the public, but it is so large you can spend days immersed in the cultural richness of the extensive museum.

Beijing Capital Highlights

Popular highlights in the capital include the tombs of the Ming emperors to the north of the city and the Temple of Heaven in the centre, the largest building for religious worship in China and an outstanding masterpiece of classic imperial architecture.

And when it is time for you to buy some mementos of your trip, you will need to find your way to Panjiayuan Flea Market – the largest market in China selling every type of antiques, crafts and collectables you could ever want to purchase.

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