The Kunming Lake

On July 26, 2011, in Beijing, Lakes, Nature Scenery, by Jack Li

The Kunming Lake(simplified Chinese: 昆明湖; traditional Chinese: 昆明湖; pinyin: Kūnmíng Hú; literally “The Kunming Lake”) is the largest lake in the Summer Palace, occupying three quarters of the whole palace. The southern part of the lake presents a halcyon and verdant waterscape while the northern part of the lake is a very good viewing-point where […]

The Kunming Lake(simplified Chinese: 昆明湖; traditional Chinese: 昆明湖; pinyin: Kūnmíng Hú; literally “The Kunming Lake”) is the largest lake in the Summer Palace, occupying three quarters of the whole palace. The southern part of the lake presents a halcyon and verdant waterscape while the northern part of the lake is a very good viewing-point where one can get the overview of the graceful towers and halls in the Summer Palace. There is a causeway called the West Causeway which stretches across the lake. There are many peaches and willows planted on the causeway, creating a very poetic environment. Another famous attraction, the Seventeen-arch Bridge stretches over the lake like an elegant rainbow. The West Causeway and the Seventeen-arch Bridge divide the whole lake into three parts, and in each part there is a small artificial island: the Penglai Island, the Fangzhang Island, and the Yingzhou Island. The designer of the Summer Palace got the idea of creating three islands from Chinese Ancient Legends on the lake. The legends said that there are three islands in the East China Sea called “Penglai”, “Fangzhang”, and”Yingzhou”, and they are the residences of the Chinese gods. In the Chinese history, many emperors would send out their emissaries to the East China Sea to look for these Gods, they believe that they could help them be immortal.

The whole formation of the Kunming Lake is an imitation of another famous Chinese attraction, the West Lake in Hangzhou, which is in Southern China. Emperor Qianlong had been to that region six times during his reign, and the West Lake impressed him a lot. Rumor has it that he met a beautiful lady when he was wandering around the lake and fell in love with her. Maybe that is why he asked the designer to build an attraction that looked almost the same as the West Lake in the palace.

Summer Palace

Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)

On July 26, 2011, in Beijing, Historical Relics, Must-sees, Summer Palace, by Jack Li

The Summer Palace (simplified Chinese: 颐和园; traditional Chinese: 頤和園; pinyin: Yíhé Yuán; literally “Gardens of Nurtured Harmony”) is mainly dominated by the Longevity Hill (60 meters high) and the Kunming Lake. Situated on the western outskirts of Haidian District, the Summer Palace is 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from central Beijing. It used to be one […]

The Summer Palace (simplified Chinese: 颐和园; traditional Chinese: 頤和園; pinyin: Yíhé Yuán; literally “Gardens of Nurtured Harmony”) is mainly dominated by the Longevity Hill (60 meters high) and the Kunming Lake. Situated on the western outskirts of Haidian District, the Summer Palace is 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from central Beijing. It used to be one of the temporary imperial palaces for the Qing Dynasty Emperors. The Summer Palace today is the largest royal park in China, and is well preserved as a Key Culture Relics Protection Site. It holds a collection of ancient arts and also has breathtaking sceneries and magnificent architecture. The Summer Palace is the archetypal Chinese garden, and is amongst the most noted and classical gardens of the world. In 1998, it was listed as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

The Summer Palace is actually a reconstruction based on the Qingyi Palace. In AD 1750, Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty spent 4.48 million silver dollars on establishing the Qingyi Palace, a present to his mother, Xiaosheng. This palace served to connect four other royal palaces, forming a splendid imperial garden. However, in AD 1860, the 10th year of Emperor Xianfeng, Qingyi Palace was burnt down during the war with Britain and France. Later in AD 1888, the last Empress in Chinese history, Ci Xi, wanted to hold a grand ceremony to celebrate her 60th birthday. In the name of raising war funds, she levied a heavy tax on people and gathered more than 5 million silver dollars, which was enough for the reconstruction. Then she asked one of the most outstanding architects in Qing Dynasty, Changyan Lei to take charge of the project. The new palace was named the Summer Palace. It was frequently visited by the royal family in summer because of its cool environment and its beautiful lake scene. Although the Summer Palace experienced a terrible devastation in AD 1900 and was looted of almost all its treasures, it remains stunningly beautiful. A tour around the Summer Palace is undoubtedly a feast for eye. If you are planning to travel to Beijing, remember to put it in your schedule, because if you do not visit the Summer Palace your trip in Beijing.

Summer Palace Attractions

The Kunming Lake

The Seventeen-arch Bridge

The Long Gallery

The Cloud Dispelling Hall

Summer Palace Story

1. The Cold Palace

To understand where the Cold Palace is, we have to talk about the concubines of the emperor. The feudal emperor had supreme power and he could pick whoever he wanted to be his concubine. Therefore, the emperor had a great number of concubines living in the royal palace. However, if a concubine became out of favour with the emperor, she was left to rot in the palace because she could not leave the palace at will. This was the most tragic end. The Cold Palace of the Summer Palace does not refer to a particular palace; anyplace where those concubines or sons of the emperor were imprisoned is commonly called “the Cold Palace”. And there were several such places in the Summer Palace. Cheng Fei, one of the imperial concubines at the end of the Ming Dynasty, offended the powerful eunuch Wei Zhong xian, and was taken from Changchun Palace(where the concubines lived in the Imperial Palace) to Qianxi in the western part of the Summer Palace, and lived there for four years. Many other concubines had also been driven there. It is said that the most favoured concubine of Guangxu Emperor, Zhen Fei, was shut inside the Beisan Tower to the north of Jingqi Tower, before she was drowned in the well by the order of Empress Ci Xi. The place was destroyed but it still can be traced on the west of Zhen Fei Well.

2. Empress Ci Xi’s meals in the Summer Palace

Being the last empress of China, Empress Ci Xi was famous for her luxurious lifestyle. When she stayed in the Summer Palace, the servants had to prepare hundreds of delicious dishes for her. All the dishes she took could be divided into meat dishes, vegetable dishes, pastry, and fried snacks. The chefs used all kinds of precious ingredients such as pearl powder, bear’s paw, edible bird’s nest, etc.

Empress Ci Xi greatly enjoyed the dishes cooked with flowers. She loved chicken soup with chrysanthemum petals. Sometimes when she was wandering inside the palace, she would even pick a chrysanthemum and eat it. Apart from this, she also liked to take them with tea, which became quite popular among the common Chinese people. Rose, lotus, and lily teas were her favorites.

Every meal of Empress Ci Xi’s was like a grand ceremony. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner there would be more than a hundred different dishes, and for high tea, about fifty dishes. All the dishes were very elaborately prepared. Take the rice as an example, every grain in the rice were carefully selected by the maids. It was quite a tedious job. The cost of one single meal of Ci Xi equals the annual living expenses of an ordinary family.

To sustain her extravagance, she levied heavy taxes on the people. Many people started to resist her rule. She was very afraid that somebody might poison her dishes, so she asked a servant to put a silver needle in every dish before she ate them. If the dish was poisoned, the needle would lose brightness and turn dark.

3. The Tower of Buddhist Incense

It’s said that the Tower of the Buddhist Incense (simplified Chinese: 佛香阁; traditional Chinese: 佛香阁; pinyin:Fóxiāng Gé; literally “the Tower of Buddhist Incense”) was built to drive away the ghosts.

When Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty decided to build a royal palace there, he wanted to remove the Longevity Hill so that the Kunming Lake would be larger. However, when the builders dug half-way down the hill, they were surprised to see that they had reached a grave. The tombstone was inscribed “Queen Wen”. The builders didn’t know what to do with the grave, so they past the news onto the Emperor. Queen Wen was a real character in Chinese history. She was the wife of Kublai Khan of the Yuan Dynasty (AD 1206-1368). Since she possessed extraordinary political wisdom, Kublai Khan loved her very much and held an elaborate funeral for her after she had died. No wonder Emperor Qianlong was curious about those exquisite antiques buried with her. So he went to the construction site and asked the builders to open the tomb. When they got into the tomb, they found a curse inscribed by the entrance, saying ”Whoever disturbs the tomb would be severely punished.”. Emperor Qianlong got really scared, so he told the builders to close the grave and then he ran away. Later, he went to a great Buddhist master and asked him how to avoid Queen Wen’s revenge. The master said that if he built a Buddhist tower on top of the Longevity Hill, the ghost of Queen Wen would be locked up and she would not bring any harm. Qianlong followed his advice, and that is how the Tower of Buddhist Incense came into being.

The Bird’s Nest National Stadium (Niaochao)

On July 25, 2011, in Beijing, Modern Architecture, More Places of Interest, Must-sees, by Jack Li

The Bird’s Nest National Stadium (Niaochao) served as the major stadium in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Architects Xinggang Li, Jacques Herzog, and Pierre de Meuron (who won the Pritzker Prize in 2001) collaborated to design this giant stadium with Weiwei Ai as the artistic consultant. The Stadium’s exterior can be likened to a life-giving […]

The Bird’s Nest National Stadium (Niaochao) served as the major stadium in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Architects Xinggang Li, Jacques Herzog, and Pierre de Meuron (who won the Pritzker Prize in 2001) collaborated to design this giant stadium with Weiwei Ai as the artistic consultant. The Stadium’s exterior can be likened to a life-giving nest, or a cradle holding man’s hope for the future. The designers chose to leave the structures of the building directly exposed to the air, giving the Bird’s Nest a wholly unprocessed look. In 2009, it was nominated as one of the Top Ten Architectural Structures of 2009.

The construction of the Bird’s Nest National Stadium began on December 24th, 2003, but came to a halt due to a redrawing of architectural plans on July 30th, 2004. Construction resumed on December 27th, 2004 and was completed in March 2008. The total cost came to 2.267 billion yuan.

The contoured structure of the Bird’s Nest is primarily composed of giant steel frames containing 24 girder poles. The top of the stadium has a saddle-like shape with a long axis of 332.3 meters and a short axis of 296.4 meters. Its highest point measures 68.5 meters, and its lowest measures 42.8 meters. Air-cushion film, commonly known as bubble film, was used to fill in the shell of the stadium, enabling sunshine to penetrate the transparent, waterproof roof and sustain the grassy Olympic field. At game time, the bleachers could be transformed into different shapes so as to accommodate the ebbing and flowing of spectator volumes. During the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, 20,000 temporary seats were placed in the upper sections of the stadium, ensuring that every person could have a clear view of the entire competition field.

The Town God Temple

On July 25, 2011, in Beijing, Historical Relics, Temples, by Jack Li

The Town God is a Taoist god and is responsible for protecting the towns and cities. The Worshipping of the Town God in China started from the Zhou Dynasty, almost 3,000 years ago. It is said that he punishes evil persons, satisfy the residents’ needs, and ensure harvests by providing the rain. Because the Town […]

The Town God is a Taoist god and is responsible for protecting the towns and cities. The Worshipping of the Town God in China started from the Zhou Dynasty, almost 3,000 years ago. It is said that he punishes evil persons, satisfy the residents’ needs, and ensure harvests by providing the rain. Because the Town God is concerned with people’s daily life, he has become one of the most popular Gods in China. In some regions, people even apotheosize local notabilities, making them the God of their own town or city after their deaths.

The spread of the Town God Temples could date back to the Tang Dynasty, when almost all the cities and towns had their Town God Temple. In the Song Dynasty, even a small village had its own Town God Temple. At the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang ordered to construct a splendid Town God Temple in the then capital Nanjing, and granted the Town Gods of different areas titles of nobility such as lord, king, and emperor.

The Town God Temple beside the Great Wall at the Juyongguan Pass was built in the Ming Dynasty. It was renovated in the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty. People hoped that this Town God Temple would not only protect the city, but also regularize the behavior of the army stationed there.

The Great Wall at Juyongguan Pass

The Great Wall at Juyongguan Pass

On July 25, 2011, in Beijing, Great Wall, Historical Relics, Must-sees, by Jack Li

The Great Wall at Juyongguan Pass lies in a 15-kilometre-long valley, and on its sides there are mountains covered in lush vegetation. The scenery there is so beautiful that it was already listed as one of the Eight Greatest Sights of Yanjing (now Beijing) and was called “the Rippling Jade at Juyongguan”. Juyongguan Pass is […]

The Great Wall at Juyongguan Pass lies in a 15-kilometre-long valley, and on its sides there are mountains covered in lush vegetation. The scenery there is so beautiful that it was already listed as one of the Eight Greatest Sights of Yanjing (now Beijing) and was called “the Rippling Jade at Juyongguan”.

Juyongguan Pass is the northern door to Beijing; in the centre of the Pass there is a delicately sculpted platform called the Cloud Terrace. It is made of white Chinese Jade and is still well-preserved. In the Yuan Dynasty, there were three stone towers on the terrace. They were destroyed at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty. Afterwards, a temple was built there but was burnt down during the rein of Kangxi of Qing. Now only the Cloud Terrace has survived. The carvings on the Cloud Terrace are concentrated on the vaulted doors and holes. Among the carving there are the figures of the Four Heavenly Kings, Buddhist scriptures in Sanskrit, Tibetan, Mongolian, Uyghur, Tangut and Chinese, relief of various animals including the Golden-winged Bird King, as well as the carvings of mandragora and many Buddhist statuettes. All of them are vivid and beautiful.

The part of the City of Juyongguan Pass that has survived was built in AD 1368 and was frequently repaired. It is over 4,000 metres long in perimeter. In the city there are government buildings, temple and educational institutions of the old times.

With the collapse of the Qing Dynasty, the City of Juyongguan Pass fell into decay. In 1992 it was underwent a thorough renovation as a cultural relic under official protection, and the City regained its magnificence from the old days.

The Great Wall at Juyongguan Pass Attractions

The Town God Temple

The Temple of Guan Yu

The Cloud Terrace

The Horse God Temple

The Great Wall at Juyongguan Pass Story

1.The origin of the name “Juyongguan”

It is said that when Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, ordered to build the Great Wall, the prisoners, soldiers and those who were forced to enlist in the construction of the wall were all kept in this place. “Ju” means “to live”, “yong” means “commoners”, and “guan” means “pass”. So the name means “the place where the commoners live”. Hence the name Juyongguan Pass.

Ticket

Entrance ticket: RMB 35 in the low seasonRMB 40 in the high season

Ticket for children: Free of charge for children below 1.2 metres

How to get to Juyongguan

By bus

Y-1, Y-2, Y-3, Y-4, Y-5, 919, get off at Juyongguan Station

By car

Get onto Badaling Expressway from Madian Bridge and drive to Juyongguan Exit.

10 fascinating facts about Beijing

On July 22, 2011, in Beijing, Must-sees, Restaurants & Food, by Jack Li

Travel to Beijing, the capital of China and explore the cultural and historical sites. There is so much to see and do in this city so book Beijing Flights now! 1) Beijing, also known as ‘Peking’ means ‘the Northern Capital.’ This is evidence that Eastern Asian traditional values name things in an obvious and explicit […]

Travel to Beijing, the capital of China and explore the cultural and historical sites. There is so much to see and do in this city so book Beijing Flights now!

1) Beijing, also known as ‘Peking’ means ‘the Northern Capital.’

This is evidence that Eastern Asian traditional values name things in an obvious and explicit way.

2) Beijing in the 2nd largest city in China. The largest city is Shanghai, in the south.

3) On an average day in Beijing air pollution is 5 times higher than the standard of safety set out by the World Trade Organisation.

When travelling to Beijing you are bound to notice the large amount of smog in the air, compared to western cities. This is because of the high volumes of pollution emitted.

4) Sharing is caring.

When you go to a restaurant in Beijing expect to order a variety of dishes that will be placed in the centre of the table, often on a Lazy Susan. This is because Chinese people see dining as a social pastime to enjoy with friends and family. Circular tables are often used as it allows you to communicate to every guest. Many of the dishes are shared between the entire group. This is great for tourists as it allows you to try a bit of everything.

5) Mr. Wang, Mrs. Wang…

According to the Beijing official census in 2006, ‘Wang’ is the most commonly used online slots surname in the city. In fact, 10.35% of the Beijing population has this surname. Therefore do not just assume Mr. Wang and Mrs. Wang are married, or any relation at all.

6) Beijing has more than double the population of London.

The population of London is around 7 million, which sounds a lot until you realise that Beijing has an incredible 15 million residents. The city is also spread over two counties.

7) The Forbidden City has 1,000 rooms.

Located at the north of Tiannanmen Square, which is the largest square in the world, is the famous Forbidden City. It is entirely made of wood and has very intricate designs. The Forbidden City is enormous so allow a full day to explore.

8 ) Beijing; Bike capital of the world!

Beijing has always been famous for its high volume of bikes. There are separate lanes on the roads for them and they are an easy means of transport for Beijingers. However, as China develops some Chinese people have a higher income and now have the luxury of owning their own car. Therefore there are more cars in the city than ever before.

9) Car or bike?

Even though Beijingers desire cars they do not come without their risks. In China, approximately 600 people are killed each day by getting hit by a car. The majority of cases occur in cities, such as Beijing.

10) Beijing is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China

You will struggle to find another city in the world that has the amount of political and cultural background that Beijing has. This is why it is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. It has been dominant in Chinese history for centuries and it is difficult to find an iconic building that does not have some national historical significance and wonderful stories hidden within it.

 

If you want to find out some more interesting facts about Beijiing why not go? Book Beijing Tours now and see what this incredible city has to offer.

 

Houhai Bar Street

On July 21, 2011, in Beijing, Lakes, More Places of Interest, Nightlife, by Jack Li

Houhai Bar Street has a similar style to other bars. It is simple and has old furniture, green plants, personalized ornaments and a lazy atmosphere. Bars around Houhai are not very large, maybe the space can avoid excessive noise, that’s why i like to come to Houhai Bars. At night, the scenery of Houhai Bar […]

Houhai Bar Street has a similar style to other bars. It is simple and has old furniture, green plants, personalized ornaments and a lazy atmosphere. Bars around Houhai are not very large, maybe the space can avoid excessive noise, that’s why i like to come to Houhai Bars. At night, the scenery of Houhai Bar Street is beautiful. The moon hangs in the sky and the light is ambiguous. A faint sound of Erhu or Pipa drift from cruise ships on the lake and all of these add to a romantic atmosphere created in quiet Houhai. Lovers whisper while friends drink, and melodies are wonderful. All of this makes people recall the river in their hometowns and the friends from their childhoods. These scenes play together to create a beautiful ambience.

Houhai is a suitable place for reminiscence, so when people come to Houhai it gives them nostalgic emotions every time. Bring your girlfriend to Houhai to experience the romance of Beijing. It is the most worthy thing to experience in this season.

Houhai

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Colored Glaze Memorial Archway Pi Yong

On July 20, 2011, in Beijing, Historical Relics, More Places of Interest, by Jack Li

Pi Yong Colored Glaze Memorial Archway, the central building in the Imperial Archway, was built in Emperor Qianlong’s 49th year of rule. Built on a square platform within a round pool, it has multiple eaves and a spire on the top. Pi Yong has doors on each side and six steps leading up to it. […]

Pi Yong Colored Glaze Memorial Archway, the central building in the Imperial Archway, was built in Emperor Qianlong’s 49th year of rule. Built on a square platform within a round pool, it has multiple eaves and a spire on the top.
Pi Yong has doors on each side and six steps leading up to it. The Archway is surrounded by covered corridors connecting the chamber to other buildings. This architectural style echoes the traditional Chinese belief that the sky is round and the ground is square. After the Reign of Qianlong, every new emperor delivered lectures in Pi Yong, suggesting the government attached great importance to higher education. The Six Great Chambers refer to the 33 rooms on the right and left sides of Pi Yong. Shuaixing, Chengxin, Xiudao and Guangye Chambers all served as classrooms for the Imperial Academy students.

Beijing Imperial Academy(Guozhijian)

Beijing Imperial Academy(Guozhijian)

On July 20, 2011, in Beijing, Historical Relics, by Jack Li

Beijing Imperial Academy is located at 15 Guozijian Street (also known as Chengxian Street) inside the Andingmen area in the Dongcheng district of Beijing. The Academy neighbors the Yonghegong Lama Temple and the Confucian Temple. Pagoda trees line both sides of Guozijian Street. At both the east and the west ends of the street and […]

Beijing Imperial Academy is located at 15 Guozijian Street (also known as Chengxian Street) inside the Andingmen area in the Dongcheng district of Beijing. The Academy neighbors the Yonghegong Lama Temple and the Confucian Temple. Pagoda trees line both sides of Guozijian Street. At both the east and the west ends of the street and on both sides of the Imperial Academy’s gate are decorated archways and colored paintings. In fact, this street is now the only old street with four memorial archways in Beijing.

Walking north along the central axis of the Imperial Academy, visitors will pass through Jixian Gate (main gate), Taixue Gate (second gate leading to the main court), a memorial archway built with glazed tiles, Pi Yong Building, Yilun Chamber, and Jingyi Pavilion. On both the east and west sides of the Imperial Academy, in traditional symmetrical layout, there are four halls and six chambers. The Imperial Academy is the only existing ancient state-run university building.

Beijing Imperial Academy is located at 15 Guozijian Street (also known as Chengxian Street) inside the Andingmen area in the Dongcheng district of Beijing. The Academy neighbors the Yonghegong Lama Temple and the Confucian Temple. Pagoda trees line both sides of Guozijian Street. At both the east and the west ends of the street and on both sides of the Imperial Academy’s gate are decorated archways and colored paintings. In fact, this street is now the only old street with four memorial archways in Beijing.

Walking north along the central axis of the Imperial Academy, visitors will pass through Jixian Gate (main gate), Taixue Gate (second gate leading to the main court), a memorial archway built with glazed tiles, Pi Yong Building, Yilun Chamber, and Jingyi Pavilion. On both the east and west sides of the Imperial Academy, in traditional symmetrical layout, there are four halls and six chambers. The Imperial Academy is the only existing ancient state-run university building.

The Imperial Academy Attractions

Glazed Memorial Archway Pi Yong

The Imperial Academy Story

1. The Thirteen Confucian Classics Stone Tablets

The 190 Thirteen Confucian Classics stone tablets, originally housed in the six chambers of the east and west sides of Imperial Academy have now been moved to the hallway between the Imperial Academy and the Confucian Temple. The Thirteen Confucian Classics include The Book of Changes, The Book of History, The Book of Songs, Zhouli, Etikette und Riten (u.E.), The Book of Rites, Spring and autumn Biography Zuo, Spring and Autumn Biography Gongyang, Spring and Autumn Biography Guliang, The Analects of Confucius, The Book of Filial Piety, The Works of Mencius and Erya, altogether containing more than 630,000 words. Jiang Heng devoted twelve years of his life to writing these books. Emperor Qianlong appointed He Shen to the position of chief director, assisted by Liu Yong, to take charge of the carving process. The Thirteen Confucian Classics stone tablets were completed during Qianlong’s reign. Thus, they are also called the Qianlong Stone Tablets.

2. The First Jijiu (Chief Administrator of the Imperial Academy)

The first Jijiu, chief administrator of the Imperial Academy, was Xu Heng, a very famous philosopher in Yuan Dynasty. The over 200 students who enrolled were called Jiansheng. These students were primarily drawn from three categories: first, those who were chosen from the Xiucai (those who passed the imperial examination on the county level) to further study in the Imperial Academy; second, overseas students mainly from Korean, Siam, Cochim and Russia; and third, members of the donating Jiangsheng (those who had to fulfil special financial obligations to the Imperial Academy).

What is the time? Time to visit the Bell and Drum towers

On July 18, 2011, in Beijing, Cultural Experience, Shopping, by Jack Li

The Bell and Drum Towers are beautifully constructed buildings and were originally used as musical instruments. However since the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220) they have been used to tell the time. This site takes you back in time to old Beijing. Get Beijing Flights and Travel to Beijing now to visit this wonderful area. When […]

The Bell and Drum Towers are beautifully constructed buildings and were originally used as musical instruments. However since the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220) they have been used to tell the time. This site takes you back in time to old Beijing. Get Beijing Flights and Travel to Beijing now to visit this wonderful area.

When the towers were used to tell the time the bell would ring to signal that it was morning, while the drum signified dusk. During the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties (1271-1911) they played a vital role in the lives of Beijingers, as they had no other way of telling the time. As the towers were so important they were constructed in almost every city in China. However the ones in Beijing are the largest and highest. Traditionally the two towers should be next to each other however in Beijing they are opposite one another, lying on the north-south axis.

They are located in the Dongcheng district and are symbolic to this old city area. They were built in 1272, however they had to be rebuilt after experiencing two fires.

Bell Tower

The Bell Tower has the largest and heaviest bell in China. The Bell is 7.02m (23 feet) casino online high and weighs an incredible 63 tons (138,891 pounds.) It creates a clear sound that travels great distances because it is made of copper.

Drum Tower 

The Drum Tower is 100m (109 yards) to the south of the Bell Tower. It was built onto a 4m high (13 feet) stone and brick base. The tower is 46.7m (153 feet) high, where as the Bell Tower is slightly taller at 47.9m (157 feet.) Originally there were 24 small drums and one large one within the tower. Today only the large one remains. The drum was beaten quickly for 18 times and then slowly for 18 times. The same was the case with the bell because in ancient times this demonstrated one year.

When the last emperor of China, called Pu Yi, left the Forbidden City the bells and drums stopped being used to tell the time. Fortunately nowadays they are used on Chinese New Years Eve. This is done to send a blessing to the Chinese people.

Located south of the Drum Tower are the original hutongs. These are picturesque side streets that are hundreds of years old. Beijing families have lived in this area for generations and it is fascinating to explore the old way of life. The street is called Yandai Xiejie, as ‘yandai’ is a Chinese pipe that was traditionally sold there. Today this street sells everything from traditional Chinese food to handcrafted items. If you want a Chinese tea set or beautiful silk items this is the place to go.

Next to Yandai Xiejie is Houhai Lake and Qianhai Lake. This is an idyllic place to escape from the hustle and bustle of Beijing. It is the perfect spot to admire the Bell and Drum Towers, through the willow trees. Children play while the elderly play cards and dominoes in the streets. Why not take a rickshaw ride around the lakes or hire a bike?

The Bell Tower is 15 CNY and the Drum Tower is 20 CNY. They are open all day and are very accessible. Just take Subway Line 2 and get off at Guloudajie at Exit B. Then walk south for 10 minutes.

Beijing Tours are an easy and affordable way to see the best of what Beijing has to offer, so book it now before time runs out!

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