Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China, begins at the Forbidden City.
Home to 14 Ming dynasty emperors and 10 Qing dynasty emperors over the course of 500 years, now Palace Museum, a World Heritage Site, the world’s largest collection of preserved ancient wood structures, and centre of Beijing, the Forbidden City has many claims to fame, and is therefore a great starting point for visitors to Beijing. Also, most of Beijing’s other highlights are within a radius of a few kilometres.
Just south of the Forbidden City is Tainanmen Square, the biggest public square in the world. Towering Soviet-style buildings and monuments, is a powerful echo of Chinese history, from traditional culture to the Mao years.
Beijing is the best departure point for visiting the Great Wall, which is approximiately a 1-hour train trip. The most-visited section of the Wall is Badaling but other recommended spots include Jinshanling, Huanghuacheng and Simatai.
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