Beijing Massage Guide

Exploring the Four Sections of Beijing, China

2017-06-14 09:40:21 | views

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Beijing is a city on the move. It's reinventing itself at a rapid rate, replacing traditional hutongs (neighborhoods) with high rises. The city is a clash of old and new, with lots of historical sites and street life to keep any visitor happy.

 

In the old days, the city was divided into four sections with the Forbidden City as the center of the compass. To the east, lived the rich businessmen; today, Chaoyang is the location for large hotels and embassies; it's where Westerners gather at bars and restaurants for a taste of home. To the west, lived intellectuals and relatives of the royal family; today it is Xicheng, where many temples and churches are located. The north, once home to the city's poor, has now been transformed by the building boom of the 2008 Olympics. Finally, to the south once lived the artists and sales people of old Beijing; today Xuanwu and Chongwen districts are the areas for shopping, including Liu Li Chang and Dazhalan Streets.

 

North

Jingshan Park/The Imperial Gardens

Jingshan Park, once the royal gardens for the Ming and Qing Dynasties, today offers panoramic views of the city. Arrive early, and you will see locals practicing Tai Chi, the Fan and Sword Dances, and walking their birds. The park's hills were originally created from the dirt excavated to make the moat surrounding the Forbidden City. Atop the Jingshan Hills is the Wanchun Pavilion, the highest natural point in Beijing; from here you can spot the Forbidden City, the Drum and Bell Towers, and Beihai Lake.

 

Soong Qingling's Residence

Soong Qingling was the wife of Sun Yat-sen, the first president of the Republic of China, and while she lived in this residence from 1963-81, originally it was created for Prince Zai Feng, the father of Emperor Pu Yi (last emperor of China). Soong and her two sisters were the first women in China to study in the US, which led Soong Qingling to take an active role in making the lives of women in China better.

 

Qianhai Lake

Wooden decks line the lake for acres of lakeside dining and drinking. Whether enjoying a drink, snack, or dinner, this is a location that offers not only an active nightlife venue but a calmer daytime respite from city life. Paddle boats are available to rent for a look around the lake.

 

East

Yanghegong/Buddhist Temple

This is the largest Tibetan Buddhist Temple outside Tibet, and more than 100 monks live and pray here. Each morning a giant bell sounds the beginning of the day, and each evening a drum sounds the end.. The temple has five halls, each separated by a garden, as well as four halls of scholarship. Two important sculptures should not be missed: Mount Sumeru in the Hall of Heavenly Kings and the Maitreya Buddha, an 85-foot statue made from a single piece of sandalwood.

 

Dongyue/Taoist Temple

This temple dates back to the 14th century. You enter along "Lucky Road," a pathway though a courtyard which contains 76 figures, who represent the judges who will determine what the actions of the dead say about their next lives. Be sure and visit the Scholar Tree, also known as the Tree of Longevity. Circle three times for a long life of your own.

 

Xiushui/Silk Market

More than 400 stalls make up this former silk market. Today, not only silk, but a wide assortment of goods including clothing, electronics, jewelry, toys, calligraphy, and antiques are sold here. Bargaining is part of the fun.

 

South

Dazhalan Street

This busy market street offers residents and tourists alike delicious food, fine teas, and great shopping. Along this street, see Daguanyuan (Grand View Gardens), where the first movie in China was shown; Nei Lian Sheng, a famous shoemaker; Ruifuxiang, a famous shop whose specialty is silk; Tongrentang, the oldest pharmacy in Beijing, specializing in traditional Chinese medicines; Tianfu, a tea shop that features afternoon shows of the traditional tea ceremonies, as well as selling tea and tea pots to take home as souvenirs.

 

Lui Li Chang/Cultural Street

Some of the best shops to visit along this street include Tiangongge, which specializes in pottery, porcelain, and bronze; Xu Family Workshop, which is renowned for its bottle painting, with demonstrations on site; Linguangge, a shadow puppet workshop, whose owner also has a troupe of puppeteers who perform around the city.

 

Gu Gan Xiang/Ancient Observatory

Built in 1442 during the Ming Dynasty, this is one of the world's oldest observatories, with three exhibit halls of ancient artifacts.

 

Hangqiao/Pearl Market

Known as the epicenter of Beijing shopping, the Pearl Market today offers three floors of goods for sale, including the famous pearls.

 

Temple of Heaven

This 675-acre park contains a complex array of temples and relaxing gardens. The main temple was built in 1420 and contains three main groups of buildings and points of interest: the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, the Imperial Vault of Heaven, and the Altar to Heaven. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest is said to be Beijing's most beautiful building.

 

Tianqiao Theater and Acrobat Theater

Tianqiao is home to the National Ballet of China, and the Acrobat Theater is likely the most beloved performance space in Beijing, featuring (of course) acrobatics. There are two shows daily at the Acrobat Theater.

 

Central City

Zhong Guo Mei Shu Guan/China National Art Gallery

First opened in 1962, this is one of Beijing's newer attractions. This unique 8-story building has fourteen exhibit halls, all with changing exhibitions. There is no permanent art collection, but instead an ever-changing collection of art. Be sure to visit the book and art supply shop on the main floor.

 

Lao She Gu Ju/Lao She Residence

One of China's most famous writers, Lao She wrote more than 900 million words in his lifetime. This residence typifies the architectural style found in old Beijing neighborhoods.

 

These are just some of the many treasures of Beijing. While obvious tourist attractions (like the Forbidden City) have not been included, but are easily found on any tourist's itinerary, this list is meant to suggest other locations that can be accessed on foot or by public transportation in Beijing.