Great Wall of China – UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Eight Wonders of the World. The world’s longest wall, built primarily for the purpose of protecting the Chinese Empire from invasions. It stretches across North China from east to west, across 15 provinces including deserts, mountain peaks and ravines.
In Beijing the Great Wall extends over 630km and is one of the best places to view and walk the wall.
The 3 main dynasties involved in building the Great Wall were; Qin Dynasty (first dynasty in China) headed by Emperor Qin Shi Huang who built a 5,000km long wall by joining up the existing walls put up by warring provinces. This was followed by the Han Dynasty which made it 10,000km and finally the Ming Dynasty at 6,000km. Most of the walls seen today are from the Ming Dynasty. In 2012 after 4 years of investigation the accurate length was said to be 21,196.18km
Forbidden City (also known as the Palace Museum and Gu Gong in Chinese) – Another UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the centre of Beijing and surrounded by a 52m wide moat and 10m high wall. China’s largest and best preserved collection of ancient buildings and the largest Palace complex in the world covering 178 acres and consists of 90 palaces and courtyards. The Forbidden City was the Chinese Imperial Palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty (1420 – 1912) and so named as it was forbidden to ordinary people.
There are permanent exhibitions which can be found in different halls or palaces, such as; painting and calligraphy, ceramics gallery, stone drum gallery, gold and silver gallery and the treasure gallery.
Temple of Heaven – UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site – located in the Chongwen District of Beijing and covering an area of 2,700,000 square metres it is larger than the Forbidden City. First built in 1420 and enlarged and rebuilt during the reigns of the Ming Emperor Jiajing and the Qing Emperor Qianlong. The complex of religious buildings is where the emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties held the Heaven Worship Ceremony and the Temple of Heaven is considered to be the most holy of Beijing’s imperial temples, which is why complex numerological permutations operate within its design especially the number 9, considered to be the most powerful.