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Beijing’s historic attractions are one of its most popular draws. Built in the 15th century, the Forbidden City is a mesmerising complex of courtyards, halls, pavilions and gardens, and is home to a vast collection of priceless relics. Tiananmen Square is the world's largest public square, and offers up the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, the Qianmen Gate and the Great Hall of the People. Another magnificent attraction is the Summer Palace in the northwestern suburbs.
Culture buffs visiting Beijing have much to explore. From opera and acrobats to fine art museums and antique markets, this is a city with rich and exuberant cultural heritage. An atmospheric tea ceremony is a particularly lovely way of experiencing a long-standing Chinese tradition. For something more active, there’s Kung fu - spectate or get hands on at one of the city's sports centres.
The easiest way to get around Beijing is by taxi. They can be hailed on the street and tariffs are affordable - drivers may well not speak English so having your destination name written in Chinese can be a big help. Beijing’s bus system is cheap and far-reaching, but can be tricky to fathom for those with no Chinese. The subway system is also vast but easier to use. For those keen to avoid the traffic, cycling is a good option thanks to the flat roads with cycle lanes.
China’s serpentine Great Wall is the country’s most iconic attraction. And for good reason. Set against deep green hills, the system of towering stone fortifications is a truly arresting sight. The Great Wall stretches over 6,700km across the country’s northern lands, and dates as far back as the third centaur BC. Its construction is viewed as one of the most impressive to date, and today the Wall - which is actually several walls interspersed with impassable terrain such as mountainous peaks - is a mixture of crumbling ruins and defiantly resilient sections.