As the capital of modern China, Beijing is fast becoming a popular destination. As you fly into the city, the Great Wall rises up beneath, slithering its way like a dragon along the tops of the mountains. Gradually, other city sites are in view, neatly ordered and arranged in a grid.
As the center of 1000 years of imperial rule, Beijing was built to awe the power of the emperor. The central axis of the city is 7.5 km long, cutting through Beijing in a line from north to south. On this central line, are Yongding Gate, Qianmen Gate and Tian¡¯anmen (The Gate of Heavenly Peace).
Tian¡¯anmen is the front entrance to the imperial city. Going north through Tian¡¯anmen, you arrive at the Forbidden City. On the south end of this axis, are the Temple of Heaven and Xiannongtan Temple. Almost all of Beijing¡¯s streets are constructed according to this axis. It¡¯s a good idea to take a walk along the axis and appreciate the harmony of the design.
And if you want to know Beijing deeper, explore the sites that are less well known. The small windy alleyways (known as Hutongs) between the city¡¯s main boulevards are delightful.