Beijing Theaters and Palaces

Opera houses and theaters

As the traditional place of origin of the famous “Peking Opera” (see under “Special features of the city”), Beijing is of course also home to various theaters. First of all, the People’s Theater and the Beijing Concert Hall, which is simply a unique address for musical events, must be mentioned. The city also shows Chinese translations of plays coming from the West.

Chaoyang Theater

This theater is very suitable for foreign visitors and can easily be booked through any major hotel. It offers acrobatic performances.

Liyuan Theater

This is quite a tourist theater and offers more or less performances of the Beijing opera for beginners without prior knowledge. It is more like a cinema than a theater, but there are also morning performances of the famous Kung Fu (gongfu), shown directly by Shaolin monks.

Old Station Theater

This new theater is located on the top floor of the Old Station Building and mainly offers performances of the famous Beijing Opera on Sundays (as matinees), but also during the week. There is a discount for senior citizens and students.

Wan Sheng Theater

West of the Temple of Heaven, it offers Beijing’s best acrobatic program. It is performed by the Beijing Acrobat Group.


Old Summer Palace
In the north-west of the city is the old summer palace built in the 12th century. Even Jesuits were employed by Emperor Qianlong to help build other European-style palaces. This also included fountains and baroque statues. During the 2nd Opium War (1856-1860) British and French troops destroyed the palace. Only these picturesque ruins remain.

New Summer Palace (Yihéyuán)
According to aristmarketing, the new Summer Palace is one of the largest tourist attractions in the northwestern part of Beijing and only a few hundred meters from the ruins of the old one. Erected by Emperor Qianlong between 1751 and 1764 as a present for his mother, it became the imperial residence of choice during the hot summer months. On October 17 and 18, 1860, during the Second Opium War, it was destroyed by an invading army of English and French. He thus shared the fate of the old summer palace. It was rebuilt between 1885 and 1895 at the behest of the Dowager Empress Cixi and Prince Yi Xuab, colonel of the emperor’s navy, but was again destroyed in the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. A second reconstruction followed in the years to come and the reopening in 1924. The gigantic park around the palace is the most visited. which requires at least half a day to visit. It is littered with pavilions, temples and Kunming Lake. Once it was the place for the imperial court who wanted to escape the hot and humid summer.

Forbidden City
Probably the best-known and still most mysterious tourist attraction is the “Forbidden City” (Zijincheng) or the Imperial Palace (Gugong) in the center of Beijing on Tiananmen Square, from where the Chinese Ming and Qing emperors ruled until they ruled in 1911 the Xinhai Revolution had been forced to abdicate. The name “Forbidden City” comes from the fact that the ordinary people of Beijing were forbidden to enter the area of ​​the palace at the time. In 1406 it was the third Ming emperor, Yongle, who began building the Forbidden City. More than a million workers were involved in the energy-sapping construction of this masterpiece of Chinese architecture, and the palace was already finished in 1420, although the emperor’s successor had extensive renovation and extension work carried out. In the revolutionary turmoil of 1911, Pu Yi, the last emperor, abdicated and was forced to leave the Forbidden City in 1924. In the same year the common people were allowed to visit the city.

The architecture of the huge complex with its 720 square kilometers is unique and enchantingly beautiful; As a symbol of power of imperial rule and according to the views of the Middle Kingdom at the time, according to which China was the exact center of the world, the complex was laid out like a chessboard and housed the imperial palace in its exact center. No house in Beijing was allowed to be higher than the Forbidden City, on the grounds of which there are 890 palaces with countless pavilions with 9,999 rooms. The number 9,999 is amazing and not chosen randomly. This emphasized the height of the imperial ruler, because above him there was only the sky, which according to legend alone was allowed to have a palace with 10,000 rooms. The high level of craftsmanship and the required standards are evident in the marble balustrades, the glazed roof tiles, the roofs, ceilings and the red walls. The latter are 10 meters high, surrounded by a 52-meter-wide and around 4,000-meter-long whale ditch and extend over 3,400 meters around the entire Forbidden City, interrupted only by four large gates, each with a tower. The main entrance gate is the “Five Phoenix Gate”. The walls echo the sound, so that the sounds from outside can be heard throughout the Forbidden City. which are each provided with a tower. The main entrance gate is the “Five Phoenix Gate”. The walls echo the sound, so that the sounds from outside can be heard throughout the Forbidden City. which are each provided with a tower. The main entrance gate is the “Five Phoenix Gate”. The walls echo the sound, so that the sounds from outside can be heard throughout the Forbidden City.

The Forbidden City is divided into two areas: the “Neiting” (inner courtyard), in which the imperial family and the gigantic court lived, and the “Waichao” (outer courtyard), which faces south and was the official area. The names sound mysterious and poetic: “Hall of Middle Harmony”, “Hall of Safeguarding Harmony”; from here was ruled. Accession to the throne of every new emperor, special celebrations and most important determinations took place in the “Hall of Supreme Harmony”, a 35 meter high, 2.4 km2 large and wonderful hall supported by 24 columns, which is closed by the “Gate of Supreme Harmony” is entered and in the middle of which stands the dragon throne guarded by bronze lions.
Despite its historical value, there is a branch of the “Starbucks Coffee” chain in the middle of the Forbidden City. This branch was integrated into one of the old buildings of the Forbidden City and looks a bit tasteless, albeit interesting, because who can claim to have ordered a “coffee to go” in a former imperial city.

Beijing Theaters

About the author