The Forbidden City is in the heart of Beijing

In the heart of Beijing lies the largest palace in the world, The Forbidden City. For five hundred years, it served as the home of the almighty Emperors of China along with their wives, concubines, and entourages of tens of thousands of eunuchs and civil servants. But the Forbidden City is more than an imperial residence; it is the center of the universe, a unique complex of structures revealing a hierarchy of power both imperial and divine.

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Many of the largest building blocks of the Forbidden City came from a quarry about 43 miles (70 kilometers) away from the site. People in China had been using the spoked wheel since about 1500 B.C., so it was commonly thought that such colossal stones would’ve been transported on wheels, not by something like a sled.

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Over the hundreds of years since it was first built, most parts of the Forbidden City have been rebuilt many times. In modern times, The Forbidden City has been renamed the Palace Museum and is open to the general public.

The Forbidden City is also a treasure trove of movable cultural relics; it is the seat of the National Palace Museum. It has over 1.8 million movable cultural relics, including more than 1.68 million pieces of precious relics. In 2012, the highest single-day passenger flow volume of Forbidden City exceeded 180,000 people, and annual passenger flow volume exceed 15 million people. It can be regarded as the busiest museum in the world.

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The Forbidden City remains important in the civic scheme of Beijing

The Forbidden City, also called the Palace Museum, the Purple Forbidden City or Gugong Museum in Chinese, is located in the center of Beijing, China. The Forbidden City was built between 1406 and 1420 during the Ming Dynasty. It had been the imperial home of 24 emperors of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. From their throne in the Forbidden City, they governed the country by holding court sessions with their ministers, issuing imperial edicts and initiating military expeditions.

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The Forbidden City remains important in the civic scheme of Beijing. The central north-south axis remains the central axis of Beijing. This axis extends to the south through Tiananmen gate to Tiananmen Square, the ceremonial centre of the People’s Republic of China, and on to Yongdingmen. To the north, it extends through Jingshan Hill to the Bell and Drum Towers. This axis is not exactly aligned north-south, but is tilted by slightly more than two degrees. Researchers now believe that the axis was designed in the Yuan Dynasty to be aligned with Xanadu, the other capital of their empire.

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The emperors of China lived in the Forbidden City, located in the heart of Beijing, for nearly 500 years, during China’s final two imperial dynasties, the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty. Vast numbers of huge stones were mined and transported there for its construction in the 15th and 16th centuries. The heaviest of these giant boulders, aptly named the Large Stone Carving, now weighs more than 220 tons (200 metric tons) but once weighed more than 330 tons (300 metric tons).

The Prince Gong Mansion is known as one of the most ornate and extravagant residence compounds in all of Beijing

  The Prince Gong Mansion, also called the Prince Kung’s Mansion, is a museum located in the western part of central Beijing, China, north of the Shichahai Lake. Consisting of large mansions in the typical siheyuan layout and gardens, the Prince Gong Mansion is known as one of the most ornate and extravagant residence compounds in all of Beijing.

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  The buildings at the forefront of the mansion are on three axes, and apart from a two-story building consisting of ninety-nine and half rooms, all are in traditional style. Duofu Study is on the eastern axis, and its structure is in the Ming style. On each of the two side axes are four courtyards, the second courtyard on the western axis being strikingly spacious. In the third courtyard, called Xijin Studio, there is a seven-roomed, exquisitely furnished hall. All the beams and pillars are made of nanmu, and its sandalwood partitions are reminiscent of those found in Ningshou Palace in the Forbidden City. Between the buildings and the rear garden there stands a 165-meter-long two-story building.

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  The distinctive halls, platforms, houses and pavilions, together with waters and plants have created delicate and elegant scenery. As a masterpiece of classical private gardens, the garden of Prince Gong’s Mansion is worth a good enjoying.

China’s snow town is located in Shuangfeng Forest Farm

  China’s snow town is located in Shuangfeng Forest Farm, under the jurisdiction of Dahailin Forest Bureau in Mudanjiang city, northeast China’s Heilongjiang province. Situated at an elevation of 1,500 meters above sea level, the town covering 500 hectares is 105 kilometers from Changting town. Influenced by the warm current of the Sea of Japan and cold fronts from the Lake Baikal, the snow period here is up to seven months every year and snow thickness may reach around 2 meters. The snow here is famous for its thickness and high viscosity. Snow hangs from the eaves to the ground, forming a unique scene of “snow curtains”.

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  Near the village there are two ski resorts. The Bayi, which is specific field for the training of professional skiers, is not open to tourists. While other, Shuangfeng, is where mosttourists converge. Here offers a variety of options for winter sports such as skiing,sonwboard, horse-drawn sleigh, dog sledding, snow sculptures and tourists can drink beer in a bar in the snow.

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  The imposing structure will include an hotel featuring 25 suites, four polar igloos, a fully-heated panoramic igloo, a bar, a restaurant, a conference centre, a terrace, a boutique and a chapel – wedding bells, anyone? – all completely constructed from ice and snow. There will even be a section with 5 hot tubs! Each year, a replica of a major city in the world is entirely made out of snow and ice. In 2013, the city of New York will receive this honour.

Peking Duck restaurants in Beijing – Quanjude

The history of the roast duck can be traced back to as early as the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368) when it was listed among the imperial dishes. During the Qianlong period (1736-1796) of the Qing Dynasty, roast duck was a favorite delicacy of the upper classes. Over a long period of development, a consummate and precise procedure for cooking Peking Roast Duck has been firmly established.

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Quanjude (全聚德烤鸭店)

Founded in 1864 during the reign of Emperor Tongzhi during the Qing Dynasty, Quanjude is the most well-established Peking roast duck restaurant brand in China. It has now gained worldwide recognition for its gourmet roast duck, as well as its unique all-duck banquet and more than 400 special dishes. Quanjude has been visited by government leaders and officials from nearly 200 countries and regions. The name Quanjude means “perfection, union and benevolence”. Founder Yang Quanren invented the hung-oven duck roasting method. In such a culinary technique, ducks are roasted inside an open oven with non-smoky fruitwood fuel, such as Chinese date or pear trees, to create a fruit fragrance.
Flagship Restaurant and Major Branches:

1. Quanjude Hepingmen Roast Duck Restaurant
Address: 14, Qianmen West Street, Xuanwu District
Telephone: +86-10-63023062
Getting there: Subway Line 2 to Hepingmen Station, or Buses Te 4, 67 or 301 to Hepingmen Dong

2. Quanjude Qinghuayuan Roast Duck Restaurant
Address: F/1, Tower A, Technology Building, Tsinghua Science Park, 1 Zhongguancun East Road, Haidian District
Telephone: +86-10-82150018
Getting there: Subway Line 13 to Wudaokou Station, or Buses 307, 319, 331, 355, 375, 438, 562, 656 or 963 to Qinghuayuan

3 Quanjude Wangfujing Roast Duck Restaurant
Address: 9, Shuaifuyuan Hutong, Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District
Telephone: +86-10-65253310
Getting there: Subway Line 1 to Wangfujing Station, or Bus 420, 803 to Xindongan Shichang

4. Quanjude Qianmen Restaurant (Flagship Restaurant)
Address: 32 Qianmen Street, Chongwen District
Telephone: +86-10-65112418
Getting there: Subway Line 2 to Qianmen Station, or Buses 5, 17, 20, 22, 66, 120, 126, 690 or 692 to Qianmen

5 Quanjude Olympic Village Roast Duck Restaurant
Address: Floors1-3, Bldg A, Tianchuang Shiyuan Building, 309 Huizhong Beili, Chaoyang District
Telephone: +86-10-64801686
Getting there: Subway Line 5 to Datun East Road Station, or Buses 466, 630 or 653 to Huizhong Beili

6. Quanjude Sanyuanqiao Roast Duck Restaurant
Address: F/1, Jinxin Building, A2 East 3rd Ring Road (N), Chaoyang District
Telephone: +86-10-84492760
Getting there: Subway Line 10 to Liangmaqiao Station, or Buses 300, 302, 419, 718, 730, 825 or 957 to Sanyuanqiao

Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays

  Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. In China, it is also known as the ‘Spring Festival’, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally ran from Chinese New Year’s Day itself, the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month. The evening preceding Chinese New Year’s Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the “Lunar New Year”. This year it falls on the 10th of February 2013 and is the year of the snake.

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  There are many legends about the festival in Chinese culture. In folk culture, the Spring Festival is There are many legends about the festival in Chinese culture. In folk culture, the Spring Festival is also called “guonian” (meaning “passing a year”). It is said that the “nian” (year) was a strong monster which was fierce and cruel and ate one kind of animal including human being a day. Human beings were scared about it and had to hide on the evening when the “nian” came out. Later, people found that “nian” was very scared about the red color and fireworks. So after that, people use red color and fireworks or firecrackers to drive away “nian” every year. As a result, the custom of using red color and setting off fireworks remains. More information about Chinese New Year in China tour chinatourguide.com.

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  Waking up on New Year, everybody dresses up. First they extend greetings to their parents. Then each child will get money as a New Year gift, wrapped up in red paper. People in northern China will eat jiaozi, or dumplings, for breakfast, as they think “jiaozi” in sound means “bidding farewell to the old and ushering in the new”. Also, the shape of the dumpling is like gold ingot from ancient China. So people eat them and wish for money and treasure.
  Southern Chinese eat niangao (New Year cake made of glutinous rice flour) on this occasion, because as a homophone, niangao means “higher and higher, one year after another.” The first five days after the Spring Festival are a good time for relatives, friends, and classmates as well as colleagues to exchange greetings, gifts and chat leisurely.

The oldest gardens are probably the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty in Suzhou

  The oldest gardens are probably the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty, whose origins go back to the end of the 16th century. Although it covers less than 500 m2 it is intensively detailed, with high peaks rising to 7 m, dells, paths, caves, stone houses, ravines, precipices, ridges and cliff.

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  Celebrated for its wonderful limestone mountain, the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty, covering only 2,180 square meters, enjoys the same reputation as other famous garden in China. According to the historical records, the limestone mountain was designed and piled up by the great Qing master Gu Yuliang (1764 A.D–1830 A.D). Within an area of less than 500 square meters, the man-made mountain seems to be spontaneous an uncontrived, possessing high peaks about 7M), dells, pathways, carverns, stone houses, stone teps, ravines, precipices, gullies, bridges and cliffs. Like a free hand brushwork in Chinese painting characterized by vivid expression and bold outline, it ranks first among all existing man-made mountains in Chinese gardens. More information about China Tour in chinatourguide.com.

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  The name of this garden during the ownership of King Qian of Guangling, in the period of the Five Dynasties, was Jingu garden . During the late Daoguang period of the Qing dynasty, the garden belonged to Mr Wang, and was called the Yi Garden. The garden’s area is not large – 0.1 hectare. The entire garden is based on mountains, with ponds added,and fully embodies a Suzhou garden’s splendour of piling rocks and dividing waters. It has a small area, and contains the aesthetic artistic conception of Chinese traditional mountain and water paintings and poetry. The structural characteristics of the artistic conception of a classical Chinese garden are thus: In reality there is emptiness, and emptiness derives from reality. As one pavilion and one garden can create a limitless space by use of a special environment, thus giving a rich experience, the artistic handling of a garden’s mountains and waters condences the splendour of natural mountains and waters, giving the feeling of vastness, endlessness and magnificence.
  The rockery of the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty exempliefies this succesfully. Even though this rockery only occupies 0.033 hectare, with a height of less than 7 metres, it embodies the feeling of multiple mountains, expressing mountain-like sceneries of rolling hills and steep cliffs, precipices, twisting ravines, deep valleys, etc. This rockery is a miniature of high mountain ridges, famous rivers and great mountains.