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Beijing (Peking) Holidays Overview
Beijing which is also known as Peking is the capital of People’s Republic of China.
This vibrant city was the focal point of the world’s eyes all throughout the month of August 2008 when it put on a spectacular show for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. The Beijing summer Olympic Games went down in history as the not only the most expensive but also the most well-planned and executed games in the history of the Olympics and they helped created a huge interest in the Chinese capital city which is home to over 16 million people.
Beijing whose name translates as northern capital is a modern city whose skyline is peppered with towering skyscrapers and construction cranes as this city which is the second largest city undergoes rapid modernization. However aside from these modern edifices, Beijing encompasses many cultural and historical attractions like the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace and the remains of the Peking man at Zhoukoudian most of which are UNESCO endorsed world heritage sites that are exceedingly popular with tourists.
The history of Beijing dates back nearly 700,000 years as estimated from the fossils of the Peking man which were discovered at Zhoukoudian near Beijing in 1926-1927. Beijing which is located in northeastern China was initially established as a garrison town in the 12th century which was built to thwart Mongol invaders. The city has always had a prominent place in Chinese history and it served as the seat of power for the Qing and Ming dynasties that ruled China from the 14th century onwards. In 1912, the capital of China was shifted to Nanjing but when China came under the rule of the communists in 1949, Chairman Mao once again shifted the capital to Beijing.
Today Beijing which is governed as independent municipality under the central government is the political, educational, and cultural epicenter of the People's Republic of China.
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holidays - Top Events
Longqing Gorge Ice and Snow Festival
This winter festival is held in Yanqing County which is located 80km to the north of Beijing. The Longqing Gorge Ice and Snow Festival is a three day festival which is usually held during the months of January or February. The festival features several sporting events like ice fishing and various snow sports and it also features displays of intricately carved ice sculptures and ice lanterns. The festival also features a spectacular fireworks show.
The Beijing International Marathon
The Beijing International Marathon was first held in 1981 and it today attracts over 30,000 competitors from all over the world. The race( which is officially recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) kicks off at Tiananmen Square on the designated day . The marathon which features several different categories is usually held in the month of October when the weather in Beijing is conducive to long distance running events.
The Beijing Spring Festival
The Beijing Spring Festival is usually celebrated during the Chinese Lunar New Year. This festival is the most important festival for Chinese people and the event is celebrated with great fan fare by Asian communities which are located all over the world. Chinese New Year according to the Gregorian calendar falls between late January and mid February and extends for fifteen days. The Spring Festival is a fabulous event in Beijing which features many cultural performances like lion and dragon dances, street performers, musical concerts, food shows and spectacular firework displays. Beijing usually gets caught up in party mode during the event during which businesses and offices all over the city shut shop for three days.
holidays - How to Get There
Air China provides a direct connection to Beijing from Sydney. The flight time of this journey is approximately 11 hours. China Eastern, Qantas, Asiana Airlines and Singapore Airlines are the other airlines that provide air links between the Australian cities of Melbourne and Sydney and the pulsating Chinese capital city.
The Australian embassy in Beijing is located in its international quarter of Sanlitun Bei Lu.