There are many historical monuments in Beijing that are worth a visit. Here are a few highlights: The Forbidden City, Leshan Giant Buddha, and Temple of Heaven. All three places are located near the Great Wall, and they are a must-see on your Beijing travel itinerary.
Leshan Giant Buddha
Leshan Giant Buddha is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in China. It is located about 150 km south of Chengdu. This giant statue, built over 1,000 years ago, is a representation of the future Buddha, Maitreya. It is made of clay and sits on a wooden frame. A guided tour is offered by many local tour operators. You can also take a boat tour on the nearby river.
The 71-meter-high Leshan Giant Buddha is surrounded by lush greenery. To get a close look, you can take the steep stairs that lead to the statue’s feet. You can also watch boats sail by, or cross the Haoshang Bridge, which leads to a better view of the Buddha. If you visit in the morning, you may have to fight crowds because the site is popular.
The Forbidden City
The Forbidden City is a huge precinct in the center of old Beijing, just off Tiananmen Square. It is one of China’s best-preserved ancient monuments and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and it has been a protected historical monument since 1961. It is the largest ancient timber-built palace complex in the world.
The Forbidden City is surrounded by a moat 52 meters wide and is surrounded by an outer wall 10 meters high. There are four gates, Meridian Gate in the south, Gate of Divine Prowess in the north, and the East Prosperity Gate in the east. There are also four corner towers.
The Great Wall
The Great Wall of China dates back to the fifth century B.C., when China was still divided into separate kingdoms. During the Warring States Period, the wall served as a means of defense. It also served as a central control for trade and travel.
You can experience China’s turbulent history by exploring some of China’s many historical sites. From the Terracotta Army to the Ming Tombs, the nation’s history is preserved at various sites. You can also visit museums dedicated to modern history, such as the Museum of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.
The Bird’s Nest
One of the most iconic buildings in Beijing is the Bird’s Nest Stadium, which houses the Olympic Games. With a gross volume of three million cubic meters, it is the world’s largest enclosed stadium. Its design evokes a bird’s nest and symbolizes the cradle of humankind. It was built in preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics. It is the only stadium in the world that will be used to host both summer and winter games.
The stadium’s roof is made of a unique mesh of gray steel girders. There is a vast network of drainpipes beneath the stadium’s floor. The stadium’s seats are set up in a wave-like pattern. The stadium’s interior features 861,000 square feet of plants. It also generates some electricity from solar panels.
The Water Cube
The Water Cube, also known as the National Aquatics Center, is a major landmark in Beijing. Originally built as the main natatorium for the 2008 Summer Olympics, the Water Cube has now become a national symbol and star attraction. It was built by the Chinese government for 75 million euros and features a capacity of over 17,000 spectators.
Designed by internationally acclaimed architects, the Beijing National Aquatics Center perfectly combines traditional Chinese values with modern technologies. Its central theme is based on the idea that Heaven is round. The building’s innovative design was developed by a group of Australian and Chinese architects. Its steel-framed structure is constructed using a revolutionary “soap bubble” theory.