From Yesterday's to Tomorrow's China
With its incomparable historical heritage, ever-growing number of cars, and 23 million people who aspire to rise socially and improve their quality of life, Beijing offers a striking contrast between its labour class and those who are benefiting from China's rapid growth.
In this historic capital, each neighbourhood in Beijing reflects its millennial heritage. From the fervour within its ancient temples to the charm of the intertwined lanes in the old town, the different districts are following their own path, faithful to what has always been their identity.
As the political capital of the Middle Kingdom, Beijing was home to emperors for centuries. It is the pulse of are fined, erudite country and the iconic headquarters of the powerful Chinese Communist Party. Everywhere in the city, you will perceive the contrast between these two worlds, which coexist astonishingly closely.
It is the artistic capital of a country rediscovering its audacity. You will appreciate the abundance of contemporary creations, one of whose expressions is architecture. The Olympic facilities provided the impetus for dazzling artistic freedom, expressed since then in Pharaonic constructions such as the Beijing Opera house, known as ‘the Egg' or the CCTV tower, nicknamed ‘Big Pants'.
Beijing is a capital city of paradox, too, in which old men take their birds to the city's lakes and fountains an image of yesteryear and rhinestone-studded luxury cars parade the streets an image of tomorrow.
Capital of nightlife, Beijing never stops completely. You will end your evenings in the exclusive district of Sanlitun, where gilded youth and the expatriate community like to eat out. Everyone goes to its neighbourhood bars, or just a bit further, to Xiu to dance until dawn. There are also popular suburbs like Nanluoguxiang, where young people spend their evenings lulled by music from around the world.
Beijing is also a culinary capital, because, here, you will discover real Chinese food, from street-food stalls to large renowned restaurants. In a country where the pleasures of eating are far from empty promises, dining possibilities in Beijing are endless and satisfy even the most discerning palate.
And, finally, Beijing is the capital of renewal, as the city changes day by day. Within weeks, buildings spring up, city blocks become unrecognisable and lanes disappear in favour of grid-patterned streets.
Between tradition and modernity, Beijing is still finding its way. A city of contrasts in which the past and the present collide, Beijing's future remains to be written: in its political choices, the future growth of the country, and its nascent openness to the world. It is this diversity you will discover during your stay, and it will awaken in you a feeling of China at its deepest and most profound.
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