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It’s hard to think about Beijing without imagining Maoist revolutionaries in identical tunics performing t'ai chi in the Square. But all that is in the past. Today, the city is enjoying a new-millennium renaissance and it's taking the rest of China with it. Think MTV rather than Mao and you’ll have some idea about how much has changed. Old hutongs (alleys) and buildings are being demolished and replaced with contemporary architecture at an astonishing speed. This hectic new youth fuelled lifestyle doesn't please everyone - the old comrades may not like the rate of change but the capital of the People's Republic of China doesn't look like it's slowing down any time soon. But there are still plenty of impressive cultural icons to see.

The Forbidden City is Beijing’s finest monument, dating back to the fifteenth century. Here, as in the Summer Palace, you can catch a glimpse of China’s imperial past. Don’t miss the ornamented Lama Temple with its sumptuous landscaped gardens, frescoes and tapestries or a visit to The Great Wall of China. Of course, Beijing is now a fast modern city but at its heart lays the now infamous Tiananmen Square, which is surrounded by cultural monuments including the Mao Mausoleum and the Chinese Revolution and History Museum. The past is there and you’ll still find the locals sitting outside playing chess and, no doubt, marveling at the speed of light rate of change in this confident modern city.

Date Created: 13/12/2013

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