Travel guide to China’s city clusters: Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region

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Editor’s note: China plans to strengthen its transportation sector over the next 15 years. Because it creates a new framework for domestic transport, it becomes an easy task to tour a city cluster in a weekend. The first in a series of travel guides to China’s four major city clusters introduces the northern Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

Starting from the capital Beijing, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in northern China extends over an area of ​​216,000 square kilometers, about the size of Great Britain. Not only is it of political and economic importance, but it also boasts of its rich history and culture.

The undated photo shows the bird’s nest or the national stadium in Beijing. / CFP

The undated photo shows the bird’s nest or the national stadium in Beijing. / CFP

Beijing: Capital mixes old and new

As the political and cultural center of the country, Beijing was founded as the capital over 3,000 years ago. Today it is better known for being home to the imperial palaces and temples of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. like the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven.

The Forbidden City in the heart of Beijing is the largest and most complete ancient wooden architectural complex in the world and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987. It is also known as the Palace Museum and houses over 1.8 million cultural relics. The palace is one of the hottest tourist destinations in China. If you want to visit it, remember to book the ticket online in advance.

About 10 kilometers north of the Forbidden City are the Bird’s Nest (National Stadium) and the Water Cube (National Aquatics Center). The two boldly designed modern architectures represent Beijing as the venue for the 2008 Olympic Games and are now the venue for major sporting events and shows.

Two men host a talk show at a tea house in Tianjin Township on February 6, 2021. / CFP

Two men host a talk show at a tea house in Tianjin Township on February 6, 2021. / CFP

Tianjin: Experience exotic and local cultures

It takes a half-hour bullet train ride from Beijing to Tianjin Township. The important port city shows traces of the foreign concessions from 1860 to 1945. The Five Great Avenues feature more than 2,000 buildings with a variety of architectural styles, including British, French, Italian, German, and Spanish, and are therefore hailed as the “World’s Fair.”

Fans of the local culture can see a cross-talk show at a local tea house, as the city has sponsored many famous cross-talk artists from Ma Sanli to Guo Degang. Perhaps you will meet the next generation of cross-talk masters at the fair.

If you’re looking to buy some souvenirs, Chinese New Year pictures or Nianhua are good choices. You can find them in the ancient city of Yangliuqing on the northern outskirts. Nianhua’s woodcut handicraft has flourished for nearly 400 years and is recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage. Traditional Chinese gifts will definitely impress your family and friends.

People ski in a ski resort in Zhangjiakou, north China’s Hebei Province, Jan. 1, 2019. / CFP

People ski in a ski resort in Zhangjiakou, north China’s Hebei Province, Jan. 1, 2019. / CFP

Hebei Province: Olympic spirit in the air

Hebei Province surrounds Beijing and Tianjin. The mountain resort and its remote temples in Chengde City are a must-see in northeast Hebei. The Imperial Palace, which was usually used by the Qing Dynasty emperors for short summer stays, is the largest of its kind in China and features various gardens, pagodas, temples and palaces from different regions of the country. A visit will help you better understand the history and culture of the feudal dynasty and the life of the royal family.

The city of Zhangjiakou in Hebei Province will host the 2022 Winter Olympics together with Beijing, so the ski resorts have become increasingly popular in recent years. With various professional ski slopes and well-equipped facilities, it is an amusement park for winter sports enthusiasts. Why not catch the tail of winter and go skiing?

Continue reading: Four city clusters not to be missed in the 1-2-3 Travel Circle in China

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