The modern megapolis of Beijing, (earlier known as Peking) China’s capital has a history dating back to the first Millennium. The Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties all had their seats of power here. For a while Beijing lost its position as the Capital City when the Capital was transferred to Nanjing but after a while Beijing regained its position as the Capital of China. It is one of the most populous cities in the world today and is a mixture of the old and new. Old buildings sit cheek-by-jowl with modern shops selling all manner of funky goods. In 2008 Beijing became the cynosure of all eyes when the city hosted the 2008 Olympics. Today, thousands throng to visit, conduct business, shop and sight see in Beijing while it also has an expatriate community working there.
With Beijing being what it is, the need for accommodation is varied and great and there is a high demand for Beijing serviced apartments. For those looking for comfort and convenience the exclusive and luxurious Ascott Raffles City Beijing with its prime location, spacious rooms, elegant décor and state-of-the- art amenities will be an ideal choice.
Beijing’s known attractions like the Great Wall of China and the ‘Forbidden City’ are many and globally known but the other lesser known landmarks and customs are also interesting and intriguing.
Jingshan or ‘Prosepct Park lies just north of the moat around the ‘Forbidden City.’ It is an artificial hill built as an imperial garden. Of the many thousands of visitors who throng the ‘Forbidden City’ very few visit the Jingshan. Magnificent views of Beijing and the ‘Forbidden City can be had from Jingshan and two lakes about the park. Beijing residents who know of Jingshan come to have fun here with singing, dancing and games.
Beijing’s Old Summer Palace is another lesser known attraction of Beijing. The Kangxi Emperor began construction of the Old Summer Palace in 1707 as a Summer Palace for his son, the future Emperor. In 1860 the British destroyed the Palace in retaliation for the Chinese torture and killing of British and Indian prisoners during the Second Opium War. Today too, the Old Summer Palace is in the same state of disrepair but offers a rare glimpse of history and ruins untouched by modern life. The Ancient Observatory with eight ancient astronomical instruments on display offers an insight into ancient Chinese Science.
These and many other relatively lesser known sites will enhance a visit to Beijing and deepen the knowledge of Chinese History and Culture.
Among the unusual customs is the refusal of a gift at first, may be once or twice. In China, the refusal is taken as humility and gratitude and is considered the polite thing to do. Refusing compliments is another polite thing to do.
There are other customs and traditions like this and being aware of some of them at least will make a stay in Beijing more comfortable and relaxing.
Shehera Fioni is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Catalina Forbes. Her content is based on many thrilling escapades offered to travellers across the world.