China has always been a place on my bucket list due to its rich history and culture. I decided that my first stop in China would be Beijing. Beijing is China’s capital, and its history stretches over three millennia.
I opted for a 72-hour visa, so I only had a few days in Beijing, and I wanted to squeeze in as much as I could. After a little research, my itinerary was planned, and I went off to explore the city.
The Forbidden City
My first stop was the Forbidden City. It is a 178-acre imperial complex located in the heart of Beijing. It was named the Forbidden City because access to the area was forbidden by most people except the emperor and his immediate family; however, the immediate family only had limited access. The compound was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1987. The building of the Forbidden City started during the Ming dynasty in 1406 and was first occupied in 1420. After being home to twenty-four emperors, fourteen of the Ming Dynasty, and ten of the Qing Dynasty- the last emperor was Puyi. The Forbidden City ceased to be the political center of China in 1912 after the Chinese Revolution. The movie The Last Emperor was partly filmed in the Forbidden City and portrayed the life of Puyi.
My next stop was the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace is a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. It was built in 1750, but sadly, most of the palace was destroyed in the war of 1860. It was later rested to its original foundations in 1860. It includes pavilions, halls, palaces, temples, and bridges. Summer Palace was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1998.
Temple of Heaven
Finally, I made it my way to the Temple of Heaven. Temple of Heaven is located south of the Forbidden City, and it was completed in 1420 along with the Forbidden City. It is a complex of buildings built to be the altar of heaven, symbolizing the relationship between heaven and earth.
Great Wall of China
I saved the best for last! I’ve wanted to go to the Great Wall of China since I was a little girl. I dedicated an entire day of my time in Beijing to visit the Great Wall of China. I left my hotel at 5 am because I wanted to get to the Great Wall of China early, and it was an hour and a half car ride from my hotel. The Great Wall is one of the most iconic sights in the world! The initial building of the Great Wall started in the Pre-Warring stages period and was completed during the Ming Dynasty. The Great Wall of China was built as a military defense to prevent invasions from northern nations.
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It was an intense 72 hours, but with careful planning, I maximized my time in Beijing, China.
Have you been to Beijing, China? What sights did you see during your visit, and what did you like most about your time in Beijing?