Beijing, the capital of China, is a city where the ancient culture and the modern civilization are well integrated. It attracts tens of millions of visitors and tourists both at home and abroad each year to enjoy its rich culture and wonderful scenery.
Beijing is endowed with rare cultural heritage by its long history. The Great Wall, one of the world wonders and the only piece of man-made architecture that can be seen from the space, meanders through mountains and valleys for hundreds of kilometers in the region of Beijing. The poetic and picturesque Summer Palace is a classic work of the imperial garden. The Forbidden City is the most splendid architectural complex of imperial palaces in the world. The Temple of Heaven is the place of worship for emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties as well as a masterpiece of ancient Chinese architectural art. The above four have all been listed in the World Cultural Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Hutongs and the dwelling compounds (quadrangles or Siheyuan) are of the most Beijing flavored. They have witnessed the ups and downs of the city in the past centuries and are a symbol of the life of Beijing people.
Changes have been taking place day by day in Beijing as China's deepening reform and opening-up. As a popular saying going around here, Beijing is growing taller with more massive buildings springing up, greener with trees and grass covered all over the city, and younger with people leading a richer and more colorful life in Beijing. It has full confidence to advance at a greater pace in the 21st century. This is Beijing, old as well as young, full of charm. It is our sincere hope that you will make best use of your time here to see around. We believe that you will harvest a lot.
Beijing in Chinese means "capital in the north". The history of Beijing as a city can be traced back to over 3000 years ago. From 1272 to 1911, Beijing was the capital of Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Beijing became the capital of new China.
Beijing is located at 115°20′ to 117°32′ east longitude and 39°23′ to 41°05′ north altitude, the same altitude as Rome, Madrid and Philadelphia. Hebei Province and Tianjin are its close neighbors. The total land area of Beijing is 16,808 square kilometers, among which the mountain area accounts for 62% distributed in its western, northern and northeastern parts, and the plain accounts for 38% distributed in its southern and southeastern parts.
Beijing is one of the municipalities under direct administration of the Central Government (the other three are Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing). Under its administration are 16 districts and 2 Counties. The present Mayor of Beijing is Mr. Liu Qi.
Beijing lies in the continental monsoon region in the warm temperature zone. The spring and autumn in Beijing are dry and shorter while the summer and winter are relatively longer. October in Beijing is the best season with plenty sunshine, less rain and wind, and fresh air.
Yet there is a contrast of temperature between day and night. And the temperature might go down abruptly due to the cold air coming from western Siberia. Thus, it is recommended you change clothes accordingly in time. Generally, the temperature vary from 11℃ to 23℃ (about 51.8℉－ 73.4℉), with an average of 15℃.
Beijing, home to 11.5 million people, is a city densely populated. 8 million people with mainly Han and all the other 55 minorities' citizens live in the city proper. The language spoken by most Beijingers is very close to the mandarin.
People in Beijing are warm-hearted, hospitable, and humorous. They adopt a quick pace when they work yet have colorful activities when they relax. They value politeness, enjoy talking and show a great interest in the current affairs home and abroad. People in Beijing are ready to help others. The local citizens wearing a red badge and the police, sharing a greater duty of the local security, will give you a hand whenever you encounter difficulty. Many young people would like to have a simple conversation with you in English.
Chinese people value the traditions, respect the old and regard the family hierarchy.
The Chinese nod or bow slightly as a greeting, and shake hands in formal occasions saying "Ni Hao (How are you?)". They are not used to hugging.
There is not a habit of receiving tips in China.
Transportation in Beijing
There are four subway lines in Beijing. Line 1 runs from the western suburb, Pingguoyuan station to the eastern suburb, Sihuidong station. Line 2, the loop line, goes around the central area of Beijing. Fuxingmen and Jianguomen are the two interchange stations. You don't have to go out of the station and buy the ticket again if you want to change the lines here. There is bilingual service notifying the stations of the subway. Line 13 runs from Xizhimen station to Dongzhimen station. Line Batong runs from Sihui station to Tuqiao station.
There are signs of the subway stations. The subway opens from about 5:00am to about 11:00pm.
* Public Transportation
The network of public transportation covers the whole city with a relatively cheap price.
* Car hire
The roof of all the taxis is capped with a symbol of "TAXI". The red light behind the glass window indicates that the taxi is ready for taking passenger. It is recommended that you thumb up a taxi at the designated taxi station. The windows at both sides of the back seat of the taxi are glued with a price tag for the taxi. There is a meter in the taxi.
Chinese food has been well known throughout the world. Besides tasting some of the Chinese food offered by the conference, you will still have the chances to buy some of it so that you can enjoy as much the food we introduce to you as possible.
In the hotel you are staying in, you can enjoy various kinds of the Chinese food with unique flavor prepared by famous chefs in an elegant environment.
The business hour of other common restaurants is usually from 10:00am to 2:00pm for lunch and 4:00pm to 9:00pm for dinner. A few restaurants offer 24-hour service. Many restaurants have well-decorated private rooms but there might be a requirement of minimum expenditure if you choose such rooms.
Beijing has some well-known local food such as roast duck, mutton hot pot and royal delicacy. You could choose some best-known restaurants, such as Quanjude Roast Duck restaurant, Donglaishun Restaurant, Pro-royal Restaurant to enjoy these local foods. Located in the center of the city, these restaurants normally have many customers. Thus, it is recommended that you make reservation in advance.
There is a famous Buddhism vegetable dish restaurant called "Gong De Lin". The chefs there make use of the vegetable ingredients to prepare simulative meat, fish, duck and other delicious dishes.
The works of fine arts with particular oriental characteristics such as Cloisonné, jade works, enamel and silk embroidery, enjoy a long history. There are also some folk artistic works in Beijing, such as clay figurine, Beijing opera facial makeup, kite and paper-cut. If you want to buy such art works, Liulichang is the best place to go. It is a street with the Chinese cultural uniqueness located in the center of Beijing, the best-known traditional market for art works with a history of more than five hundred years.
Besides, the Silk market is a place where foreigners usually buy Chinese costumes and Panjiayuan is a famous numismatics market. All the places mentioned above have been clearly indicated on the map of Beijing.
Beijing has more than 100 large and medium shopping centers. North Star Shopping Center, located near BICC, is one of them. In addition, Wangfujing, Qianmen Dazhalan and Xidan are three well-known business districts in Beijing. In particular, the 100-year old Dong'an Market, located in Wangfujing, has become one of the biggest commercial complexes in Asia after the renovation. You can also find Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant and Donglaishun Restaurant in Wangfujing Street
* Telephone Numbers:
Phone Numbers: 114
Weather Forecast: 121
Culture and Ecology Overview
* The Temple of Heaven
It is situated at the southeastern part of Beijing. Built in 1420, it was a place where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties worshiped heaven and prayed for good harvests. There are two parts, one inside and one outside. The main buildings are inside where you can choose to visit the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Echo Wall and the Circular Mound Altar.
The 38-meter-high Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is the typical building of the Temple of Heaven. Its roof was built with blue glazed tiles, which symbolizes the blue sky.
The Echo Wall is a round wall along which a mere whisper can be heard clearly at the other hand. This phenomenon is an application of the acoustics theory. In front of the steps leading down from the hall is the Triple-Sound Stones. If you stand on the first stone and clap your hands, the sound will be echoed once. On the second stone, the sound will be heard twice. So what about on the third stone? You can find out at the place.
The Circular Mound Altar is a three-terraced stone plot in the open air. The numbers of the stones used in the paved slabs on its surface, steps and the balustrades are all multiples of 9. There was a legend in China saying that the Heaven had nine floors and the ninth floor was the place where the Heavenly Emperor lived. If you are interested in it, you may count by yourself.
* Treasure Halls-place for treasures
Imperial Garden - 1.2 square kilometers, more than 20 buildings of different styles and various trees and plants. "Yu" means the Emperor only.
The gallant Tian'anmen is located in the center of Beijing. It stands in front of the Palace Museum, and faces the magnificent Tian'anmen Square. In the center of the square stands the Monument to the Heroes of the People, and in the south of the square is Chairman Mao's Mausoleum. Tian'anmen Square is the largest square in the world.
Tian'anmen Square was built in Yongle 15th year of Ming dynasty (A.D 1417). It was originally named Chengtianmen, and was renamed Tian'anmen when it was rebuilt in Shunzhi 8th year of Qing dynasty. Tian'anmen was the frontispiece of the imperial city. On October 1, 1949, on the Tower Gate of Tian'anmen. Chairman Mao Zedong solemnly declared the independence of the People's Republic of China.
* The Summer Palace
It used to be the resort and garden of the emperor. It is located in the northwestern suburb of Beijing, 10 miles away from the city proper. It was destroyed by the foreign invaders in 1860 and was rebuilt in 1888. Covering an area of 290 hectares, it has a large number of buildings. It would take you more than three days to visit them all, so it is recommended that you choose spots selectively.
The Tower of Buddha Incense-the highest building located at the core of the Summer Palace. 41 meters high, it has countless Buddha figurines on the surface of the building. If you climb to top of the Tower of Buddha Incense, you can get a whole picture of the Summer Palace.
Long Corridor-728 meters long with 273 sections. It has been recorded in the Guinness World Records as the world's longest corridor. Every horizontal pillar has color paintings, expressing artistically the classic stories and poems popular in China. You can test your knowledge of the Chinese culture by choosing one of the paintings as a topic.
Arc Bridge-150 meters with seventeen arcs.
Marble Boat-made of stones with a foreign style of superstructure.
West Dam-built modeling Su Dam of the West Lake in Hangzhou. If you plan to visit Hangzhou after the meeting, we suggest you visit it so that you can have a comparison. If you do not plan to visit, we suggest you visit it too since seeing the West Dam is comparable to a visit to Hangzhou.
* The Yonghegong Lamasery
The Yonghegong Lamasery was built in Kangxi 33rd year of Qing Dynasty (A.D 1694) to be the palatial residence of Emperor Yongzheng before he succeeded to the throne. In Qianlong 9th year (A.D 1744), it was converted to a lamasery.
The Yonghegong Lamasery mainly consists of three exquisite memorial arches and five magnificent audience halls. The whole building covers 66,400 sq. meters, integrating the characterristics of ethnic groups as Han, Man, Mongolia and Zang, which shows that the brilliant Chinese culture was created by the people of all ethnic groups together. The Buddha in the lamasery is named Maitreya, which was carved from a 26 meter-long, 8 meter-diametric sandalwood tree. This a-thousand-year old tree was found by the people sent by the Seventh Dalai Lama and was carried to Beijing by manpower through great difficulty. It is interesting that the modern subway of loop line just passes under the temple. The exit in the north wall, which seems like the gate of the temple, is just the exit of subway station.
* Beijing Zoo
Occupying 865,000 sq. meters, Beijing Zoo is the largest zoo in China and is a garden combining the beauty of garden and natural scenery.
The zoo used to be an imperial garden at Ming dynasty, a private garden of imperial lineage in the early Qing dynasty and an agricultural experimentation base in the late Qing dynasty with about 200 animals imported from Germany for entertainment. The zoo was open to tourists in the period of the Republic of China as the Nature Museum, was renamed as West Suburb Park after the liberation, and was finally named as Beijing Zoo in 1954.
Covering a construction area of about 70,000 sq. meters, it consists of more than 30 multi-functional or large animal houses and enclosures. Among more than 3,500 animals from over 500 species, panda and golden-haired monkey are of the most precious. There are also animals representative of all parts of the world.
* The Temple of Confucius
In Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasty, the Temple of Confucius was used to worship Confucius. The temple was built in 1302 and was reconstructed in Ming and Qing dynasties. In 1904, the thirtieth year of Emperor GuangXu, the worship of Confucius was further emphasized, thus the major hall underwent extensive restoration. In front of the temple stand one colored-glaze wall and one dismounting stele. "Officers must dismount here" was engraved by 6 different languages including Manchu and Chinese on both sides of the stele.
Inside the hall are arranged 198 stone tablets bearing the names of the Advanced Scholars of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties who passed the triennial imperial examinations. To the north of the gate was the main hall-Hall of Great Accomplishment with Confucius' memorial tablet, where the emperors of Yuan, Ming and Qing worshipped Confucius. The hall is about 16.4 meters in width and 5 meters in length. On the west and east sides of the main hall stand the side-halls where 72 disciples of Master Confucius were worshiped. The Worship Hall at the back of the main hall was used to worship Confucius's ancestors.
Wish you a nice stay here! Welcome back to China again in the future!