Places and Attractions

The Tour of Beijing route will visit many of Beijing’s most popular attractions.

The Tour will take in iconic Beijing Olympic Park, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs Reservoir, Great Wall and Tiananmen Square.

Olympic Green

The Olympic Green is an Olympic Park in Beijing, constructed for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The park itself, outside of the venues constructed on the Olympic Green, hosted some of the athletic events at the 2008 Games, including the race walk events, where the loops occurred on the Olympic Green concourse and the portion of the marathons just outside the National Stadium.

The famous Ling Long Pagoda, located on the northwest side of the Bird’s Nest Stadium aka the “Ling Long” means delicate, and is referred to as the Delicate Tower in Chinese. The permanent structure is a three-sided tower. The tower contains 6 occupiable pods with open space in between. One of the pods displays the Olympic rings. Many international broadcasters utilised the pagoda during the Olympics as their studio for the Games telecast.

Beijing National Stadium – The Bird’s Nest

The Beijing National Stadium or “Bird’s Nest” is the centrepiece of Olympic Park. It hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, athletics, and football finals of the Games. The stadium had room for 91,000 spectators, but the capacity was reduced to 80,000 after the Olympics.

Dubbed the “bird’s nest” because of its innovative grid formation, the twig-like structural elements and the bowl-shaped roof are the masterpiece of the project, yet they posed great challenges to technicians and workers who needed to make the building stand on its own feet.

Beijing National Aquatics Centre

The Beijing National Aquatics Centre or “Water Cube” hosted the swimming, diving and synchronised swimming events at the 2008 Olympic Games. It had a capacity of 17,000 (reduced to 6,000 after the Olympics) and is located next to the National Stadium. Swimmers at the Water Cube broke 25 world records during the 2008 Olympics. After the Olympics, the building underwent a 200 million Yuan revamp to turn half of its interior into a water park. The building officially re-opened on August 8, 2010

Beijing National Indoor Stadium

The Beijing National Indoor Stadium held the handball, artistic gymnastics and trampolining events at the Games. With a capacity of 19,000, it was the main indoor arena used during the Games.

Olympic Green Convention Centre

The Olympic Green Convention Centre, also called the National Convention Centre, held fencing and the shooting and fencing disciplines of the modern pentathlon. It was also used as the International Broadcast Centre and the Main Press Centre. The centre covers an area of 270,000 square metres.

Olympic Green Tennis Centre

The Olympic Green Tennis Centre hosted the tennis and wheelchair tennis events. It has 16 courts (10 competition, 6 practice) and a capacity of 17,400.  The venue is now the home of the China Open ATP/WTA tour tournament held each October.

Olympic Village

The Beijing Olympic Village housed all the participating athletes. The village was made up of 22 6-story buildings and 20 9-story buildings.

Shunyi Olympics Aquatic Park

The Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park is the purpose-built venue for the rowing, canoeing and 10 km open-water swimming events in the 2008 Summer Olympics. It is located in Mapo Village in the Shunyi District in Beijing.

Summer Palace

The Summer Palace is located on the western edge of Beijing, between the fourth and fifth ring roads, close to the western hills, 12km from central Beijing. It is the largest and most complete imperial garden existing in China. It Chinese name is Yiheyuan, translates as ‘Garden of Nurtured Harmony’ or ‘Garden for Maintaining Health and Harmony’.

As its name implies, the Summer Palace was used as a summer residence by China’s imperial rulers – as a retreat from the main imperial palace now known as the Palace Museum (or ‘Forbidden City’) – a pleasure ground in the countryside, yet near to the city.

The Summer Palace blends rocks, trees, temples, pavilions, bridges, cobble paths and large lakes to create a poetic effect between ever-changing scenes. The Summer Palace is a splendid museum of traditional Chinese garden arts and widely renowned as ‘the garden of gardens’.

Occupying an area of 304 hectares, the Summer Palace was designated a world heritage site in 1990 by UNESCO. In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List.

Mentougou District

Mentougou is in west Beijing. Spanning 1,321 square kilometres, with 266,591 inhabitants (2000 Census).

It lies in the Western Hills of Beijing and is mountainous in terrain. In fact, the mountainous terrain—including a hundred or more peaks—occupy a stunning 93% of the entire area.

It is a treasure trove of natural resources, including coal, limestone, and granite.  Mentougou also supplies Beijing with agricultural produce such as roses, wild jujubes, mushrooms, and Beijing white pears.

Mining is one of the key industrial activities. Around 10 medium and large mining companies once operated in Mentougou, but some of them have ceased operations as mineral deposits have been depleted. The first known mining activity in Mentougou was documented during the Ming Dynasty.

Mentougou is gaining popularity as a tourist destination. Among its main sights are the temples of Jietaisi, Tanzhesi, Miaofengshan, Lingshan Mountain, the highest mountain around Beijing, and Chuandixia Village.

Ming Tomb Reservoir / Ming Dynasty Tombs

The Thirteen Tombs of the Ming Dynasty are located some 50 kilometers due north of urban Beijing. The site was chosen by the third Ming Dynasty emperor Yongle (1402–1424), who moved the capital of China from Nanjing to the present location of Beijing. He is credited with envisioning the layout of the ancient city of Beijing as well as a number of landmarks and monuments located therein. After the construction of the Imperial Palace (the Forbidden City) in 1420, the Yongle Emperor selected his burial site and created his own mausoleum. The Ming tombs of the 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty were located on the southern slope of Tianshou Mountain (originally Mount Huangtu).  From the Yongle Emperor onwards, 13 Ming Dynasty Emperors were buried in this area. The last Chongzhen Emperor, named Si Ling by the Qing emperor, was the last to be buried here.

The site of the Ming Dynasty Imperial Tombs was carefully chosen according to Feng Shui principles. According to these, bad spirits and evil winds descending from the North must be deflected; therefore, an arc-shaped area at the foot of the Jundu Mountains north of Beijing was selected. This 40 square kilometre area — enclosed by the mountains in a pristine, quiet valley full of dark earth, tranquil water and other necessities as per Feng Shui — would become the necropolis of the Ming Dynasty.

The Ming Tombs were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in August 2003.

Mutianyu section of the Great Wall

Mutianyu is a section of the Great Wall of China located in Huairou County 70km northeast of Beijing. The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is connected with Jiankou in the west and Lianhuachi in the east. As one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, the Mutianyu section used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs.

First built in the mid-6th century during the Northern Qi, Mutianyu Great Wall is older than the Badaling section of the Wall. In the Ming dynasty, under the supervision of General Xu Da, construction of the present wall began on the foundation of the wall of Northern Qi. In 1404, a pass was built in the wall. In 1569, the Mutianyu Great Wall was rebuilt and till today most parts of it are well preserved. The Mutianyu Great Wall has the largest construction scale and best quality among all sections of Great Wall. Built mainly with granite, the wall is 7-8 meters high and the top is 4-5 meters wide.

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square is a large city square in the centre of Beijing, named after the Tiananmen Gate (Gate of Heaven’s Pacification) located to its North, separating it from the Forbidden City.

Tiananmen Square is the largest city square in the world (440,000 m² – 880m by 500m). It has great cultural significance as it was the site of several important events in Chinese history.

The Tiananmen Gate to the Forbidden City was built in 1415 during the Ming Dynasty. The Tiananmen square was designed and built in 1651, and has since enlarged four times its original size in the 1950s.

Used as a massive meeting place since its creation, its flatness is contrasted by the 38-meter (125 ft) high Monument to the People’s Heroes, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong.