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Have you ever wanted to know what Beijing is really like? The modern and the traditional seamlessly juxtaposed.

Beijing, an ancient city, has its own unique quality, character and history.

Part 1 Ancient buldings

 

It acted as the capital of China for hundred years.So many historic and cultural buldings lies here.Like

Beijing is unarguably one of the most visited places in the world. Every year finds millions of people come to Beijing to see the capital of China, a fast changing metropolitan city of old and new…

The Summer Palace of Beijing began construction in 1750…

Like the Forbidden City and the Great Wall, hutongs are an exclusive feature of Beijing…

For centuries, Siheyuan were centers of family life and the lives of the common people in Beijing…

Beijng has both excellent and classical architecture but few distinguished modern buildings…

Part 2 Delicioous food

Food is caused of popular interest from the coming of human beings.It has different styles and changes every time.Like

Long-term residents may have fond memories of the old Ritan Restaurant in Beijing, a foreigner-friendly, Sichuan home-style joint snuggled into the southwestern corner of Ritan Park…

A mianbao taxi from 1997. The driver is happy and there would be a hole in the floor and the rear might open up and lose diners at any moment…

Realtors agree: The hottest retail spot in town is indisputably Wangfujing…

No matter in which country, the State Banquet seems to be mysterious and solemn…

 Part 3 Beijing’s culture

Live in Beijing,you will be affected by it’s strong culture.Let you feel you are an beijinger who live in the ancient century.Like

On April 2, 2007, the Beijing Dongcheng District Cultural Center held a special vocal concert displaying traditional Peking Opera in honor of the Olympics…

The ongoing exhibition on the development of China’s comics and animation industry shows a lot of animation works from recent years…

There are 1,517 museums now in China…

Part 4 Tips of living in Beijing          

Finding an apartment as well as finding roommates in China isn’t as easy as it seems, albeit much easier than in your own country. Strangely enough, most of us end up living with complete strangers out of necessity…

The currency of the People’s Republic of China has the generic name of Renminbi , which means “people’s money” and is abbreviated as RMB. The basic currency unit is the yuan , often referred to by the informal term kuai , which means “piece [of money]”. One yuan can be split into 10 jiao  or mao [informal] . The jiao can be further divided into 10 fen (100 fen = one yuan)…

For full information about Chinese visa types, see ’’Visas and travel regulations’ in our Visiting China section…

Multifunctional post offices can be easily found in almost every city in the country…

Private GPs are few and far between in Beijing, so for a consultation you will generally have to visit a hospital (yiyuan)…

There are some really excellent reasons for not owning a car in China. These include the mind-snapping problems that arise if you have an accident, as well as the threat to your mental health if you live in Beijing and decide to take to the roads…

Taking a taxi is normally quite all right in Beijing. But still be aware for illegal taxis…

Part 5 foreigners in Beijing

Nowadays, there is an increasing number of foreign people choose to live in China as China become more and more important both in politic and economy…

The Summer Palace of Beijing began construction in 1750. It was badly damaged during the war in 1860, but was repaired on its original site in 1886. Its man-made landscapes including the pavilions, the Long Corridor, palaces, temples and bridges and its natural hills and extensive lake surface perfectly and harmoniously combine together, and make it an excellent work of China’s scenery garden and park design.

Long Corridor (Chang Lang)

The Long Corridor was originally built in the 15th year of Emperor Qianlong’s reign (1750) and then rebuilt in the 12th year of Emperor Guangxu’s reign (1886) because the Anglo-French Allied Forces burned it down in 1860.

It starts from Inviting the Moon Gate in the east and ends at Shizhang Pavilion in the west, covering a distance of 728 meters with its 273 sections. Of all the corridors in Chinese classical gardens, the Long Corridor is the longest. On the beams are more than 8,000 colorful paintings depicting stories from Chinese classical novels, folk tales, landscapes as well as flora and fauna. Four pavilions, “Mesmerizing Scenery”, “Harmonizing with the Lake”, “Autumn Water” and “Clear and Carefree”, with octahedral structures and double eaves, were built intermittently along the corridor.

Taking the Hall that Dispels the Clouds as the center, the Long Corridor stretches symmetrically to the east and the west along the foot of the hill and the water bank, linking all the structures scattered along the Longevity Hill side into a whole.

Kunming Hu (Kunming Lake)

Kunming Lake, once a natural lake where numerous mountain springs in the northwest of Beijing converged, was previously known as Great Lake, Jar Hill Lake, etc. After Beijing became the capital city of the Yuan Dynasty, Guo Shoujing, an expert in irrigation works at the time, supervised the redirection of the spring water from the Divine Mountains in Changping, to the lake. The spring water, drawing in the tributary waters along the way, made the lake into a reservoir that greatly facilitated the transportation of grain.

During the Ming Dynasty, a large number of lotus flowers were planted in the lake. In the surrounding area were rice paddies, temples, pavilions and other finely built structures, creating a great view that resembled the landscape of south China. For this reason it became known as the West Lake, after its namesake in the southern city of Hangzhou. With construction of the Garden of Clear Ripples during Emperor Qianlong’s reign (1736-1795), the lake was expanded to its current size. Emperor Qianlong then named it “Kunming”, inspired by Emperor Liuche of the Han Dynasty, who once constructed an artificial lake called the “Kunming Pool” to practise battles on the water.

The current lake covers an area of over 200 hectares, making up three quarters of the whole garden. In accordance with the “three islands in one pool” principle for the design of water features in imperial gardens, three islands were built on the lake, namely, the “South Lake Island”, the “Mirror of Government Tower” and the “Hall of Recognition of Talent Island”. The West Causeway, imitating the Su Causeway of the West Lake in Hangzhou, was also constructed.

The glistening waters, the meandering banks, well-arranged islands, and a host of architectural structures in different styles, both near and far, all combine to present a wonderful view of the Summer Palace landscape, a view dominated by Kunming Lake. Scientific research in the 1990s showed that the lake dates back over 3,500 years.

Shiqi Kong Qiao (Seventeen-Arch Bridge)

Built in the 15th year of Emperor Qianlong’s reign (1750), this 150-meter bridge links the east bank and the South Lake Island. It is the longest bridge in any Chinese imperial garden and was named for its seventeen arches. Over 500 stone lions in different poses are carved on the posts of the bridge’s railings. At both ends of the bridge are carved four strange animals. Strong and powerful, they are outstanding evidence of Qing stone carving.

ESL jobs in Beijing

As a country that pays great attention to courtesy, our cuisine culture is deep rooted in China’s history. As a visitor or guest in either a Chinese home or restaurant you will find that table manners are essential and the distinctive courtesies displayed will invariably add to the enjoyment of your meals and keep you in high spirits!

Respect First

It is really an admirable custom to respect others at the table, including the aged, teachers and guests while taking good care of children.

Chinese people stress filial piety all the time. The practice of presenting the best or fine food first to the senior members of the family has been observed for countless generations. In ancient times the common people led a needy life but they still tried their best to support the elder mother or father who took it for granted.

Although the hosts in China are all friendly and hospitable, you should also show them respect. Before starting to eat dinner, the host may offer some words of greeting. Guests should not start to eat until the host says, ’Please enjoy yourself’ or something like that, otherwise it suggests disrespect and causes displeasure.

When hosts place dishes on the table, they will arrange the main courses at the center with the supporting dishes evenly placed around them. When the main dishes are prepared in a decorative form either by cut or other means they will be placed facing the major guests and elder people at the table. This also embodies virtue.

On Chopsticks

China is the hometown of chopsticks. The culture of chopsticks has a long history in China. The tradition of using chopsticks as tableware was introduced to many other countries in the world such as Vietnam, North Korea and South Korea.

The invention of chopsticks reflects the wisdom of Chinese ancient people. A pair of chopsticks, though they look simple, can nip, pick, rip and stir food. Nowadays, chopsticks are considered to be lucky gifts for marriage and other important ceremonies.

For more details, please click Chinese Chopsticks.

At Important Moments

To celebrate the birthday is important moment in one’s life. When one is young, usually he will eat noodles before his birthday, because the long noodles indicate the longevity in China, and birthday cake on the actual day. After middle age, his birthday will grander. In addition to the above, peaches in many forms will be added symbolizing the longevity and immortality, as well as delightful couplets and candles.

On the wedding day, it is also customary to serve Chinese dates, peanuts, longan and chestnuts together as wish that the couple will soon have a baby in accord with the Chinese proclamation.

To most Chinese people, returning home after long absence or departure from home are both significant and there are food customs associated with this. The return home is greeted with noodles and off home while a farewell is offered with dumplings. This is especially popular in northeast China.

During the Dragon Boat Festival, though many people cannot reach the river zone to watch the boat race, almost all of them eat the unique food -zongzi, a pyramid-shaped dumpling made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. The festival on that day it is to venerate the patriotic poet Qu Yuan and the people fearing his lack of food, made the special meal for him. Now the food is made in various shapes and sorts.

On the eighth day of the last month in the Chinese lunar calendar, people will enjoy a nourishing porridge called ’La Ba Zhou’. In ancient times, monks would kindly share all sorts of food grains with people and made them flavorful porridge on this particular day. People still keep this convention.

In Central China, when a baby is born, the happy father will send red boiled eggs to announce the news. Eggs with a black pointed end and dots in an even number such as six or eight, indicates a boy’s birth; those without a black point and in an odd number like a five or seven will say the baby is a girl.

In addition to these, fish has always been used to suggest the accumulation of prosperity and wealth with meals on New Year’s Eve.

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Together with European architecture and Arabian architecture, ancient Chinese architecture is an important component of the system of world architecture. During its long development, it gradually formed into a style which featured timberwork combining stone carving, rammed earth construction, bucket arch buildings and many other techniques. Industrious Chinese laboring people created many architectural miracles such as the Great Wall, Forbidden City and the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor.

Chinese Architecture Features:

The most significant characteristic of ancient Chinese architecture is the use of timber framework. Paintings and carvings were added to the architectural work to make it more beautiful and attractive.

Architecture Style:

There were many different styles of ancient Chinese architecture. All of them are unique and equally exquisite.

Chinese Imperial Architecture

Being an important component of the Chinese gorgeous culture, the imperial architecture  records the great intelligence and creation of the laborious ancient people that had a profound influence on the design of modern architecture at home and abroad. Generally speaking, it features the highest achievement of the Chinese ancient architecture that includes imperial palace, imperial mausoleum and garden architecture.

1Imperial Palace

The long Chinese feudal society saw the construction of numerous palaces, built to satisfy the emperors’ extravagant lifestyles and protect the stateliness of their reign.The Forbidden City is a typical example of imperial palace.

2Imperial Mausoleum Architecture

Architecture of the imperial mausoleum is another important component of Chinese imperial architecture, revealing the imposing majestic manner of royalty. Chinese emperors hoped to continue their luxurious imperial life after death. Stately mausoleums hence were built to satisfy their greed. Many were built with a sacred pathway before the tomb and at the underground palace.  Emperor Qin’s Tomb is a typical representation of this.

3Imperial Garden Architecture

The imperial garden architecture mainly has three characteristics: stylish, super splendor scales and harmonious unity of human with nature.The present famous imperial garden architecture also include: Beihai Park in Beijing and The Mountain Resort of Chengde.

Beihai Park

Chinese Buddhist Architecture

The development of Chinese Buddhist architecture can be traced back to the introduction of Buddhism. The main Buddhist architectural items include temples, pagodas, and grottos. Buddhist architecture is regarded as a great art treasure where calligraphy, sculpture and painting combine. Being the spiritual symbols of Buddhism, they are not only monastic holy places, but also serve as sacred land that can purify souls.

1Buddhist Temples

The Buddhist temple is the holy place where Buddhist doctrine is maintained. Differing from other religions’ temples, Chinese Buddhist temples have many characteristics of their own. For example, similar to Chinese palaces and dwelling houses, they are comprised of a number of small yards. The oldest temple in China – White Horse Temple is a typical example of this.

White Horse Temple

2Pagoda,symbol of Buddhism, where people climb to have a bird’s-eye-view, is often erected in temples. Pagodas can be made of stone, wood, colored glaze or metal. Pagodas have an odd number of layers.

Pagodas

3Grotto, another type of Buddhist architecture, is often chiseled into cliffs.

The four famous grottoes in China are: Mogao Caves, Longmen Grottoes, Yungang Grottoes and Maiji Caves. They are well preserved and attract many visitors from home and abroad.

Longmen Grottoes

Taoist Architecture

Taoism is a religion native to China. Laozi, (also spelled Lao-Tse, Lao Tsu, Lao Tzu, etc.) a famous thinker living in 6th Century BC, established this philosophy and came to be regarded as the father of Taoism. It formed mainly during Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220). Many Taoist ideas and thoughts are greatly reflected in Taoist architecture.

Taoist architecture includes temples, palaces, nunneries, altars and huts where religious activities are performed and the power that envelopes and flows through all things, living and non-living, is worshipped.

Famous Taoist Holy Mountains in China include Mt. Wudang, Mt. Longhushan, Mt. Qingcheng and Mt. Laoshan. And Famous Taoist Holy Temples are Qingyang Temple, Taoist Temple of the Eight Immortals (Ba Xian An) and Wong Tai Sin Temple.

the Eight Immortals

Chinese Garden Architecture

Classification

Depending on their geographical locations, Chinese gardens can vary. Generally speaking, they can be divided into two groups that would include the Imperial Garden Architecture in north China and the Private Garden Architecture in south China. Imperial gardens are noteworthy for their grand dimensions, luxurious buildings, and exquisite decorations.

1Northern Imperial Garden

With material resources and generous financial support combined with supreme power, emperors were able to construct Imperial Gardens with almost unlimited extravagance.

In northern China, Beijing is one of the better known areas for these beautiful gardens. ‘Summer Palace’ and ‘Old Summer Palace’ (Ruins of Yuanmingyuan) are typical  examples of this period.

Summer Palace

2Southern Private Garden

The whole scenery presents a peaceful and pleasant atmosphere. Famous gardens belonging to this type are popular in Jiangsu Province. Some of the more noteworthy would be ‘Garden of the Master of Nets’, ‘Li Garden’, ‘Canglang Pavilion’, ‘Lion Grove’, ‘Garden for Lingering’, and ‘Humble Administrator’s Garden’.

Lion Grove

 Temples

Temples symbolize the long history and rich culture of China, and are regarded as valuable art treasures. There are many different religions in China, such as the Buddhism, Christianity and Islam introduced from other regions, as well as Taoism and Confucianism, the native-born religions. Of course, temples or houses of worship of different religions differ.

Chinese temples want to express the concept of the integration of heaven and humanity, that is, human beings is a part of nature. Followed by this idea, many Chinese temples actively embrace themselves into nature. The building integrated with nature is exactly the embodiment of the integration of heaven and humanity. This is to explain why many Chinese temples are located in mountains and forests.

 

Architecture and culture:

Architecture and culture are closely related to each other. Many architectural buildings contain cultural connotations. The cultural facts will help people better understand the structure and the design of architecture.

Fengshui

Fengshui is a Chinese traditional discipline which studies the way in which human beings co-exist in harmony with nature.

There are three principles of Fengshui: The unity of human beings with nature, the balance of Yin and Yang, and the attraction and repulsion of five elements – metal, wood, water, fire and earth. These principles are set up to help people pursue good fortune and avoid disaster, thus improving their living standard.

Memorial Arch (Paifang)

Paifang, or arch in English, is a wooden or stone archway built mainly to commemorate  the great achievements or loftiness of a family’s ancestors. It is often erected in front of a tomb, temple, and ancestral hall or along the road. Many beautiful lucky birds or beasts, exquisite flower patterns, or characters written by celebrities are carved on the arch.