The Berlitz Beijing Pocket Guide covers all the major sights of China's historic capital, area by area. Descriptions of Beijing's attractions for visitors include the Forbidden City, Beihai Park, and Tiananmen Square and excursions to the Great Wall and Ming Tombs. The guide also contains background historical information, advice on shopping and entertainment and the low-down on Chinese cuisine. There is an A-Z of practical information, listings of recommended hotels and restaurants and useful expressions in Mandarin. You can read special features on topics ranging from the palace eunuchs to cycling around Beijing. Detailed maps on the back cover flap show the Forbidden City and Central Beijing, and there are dozens of colour photographs throughout the book.
Situated at the northern apex of the North China Plain, Beijing is the most visited of all Chinese cities. As the primary residence for three major dynasties, Beijing has amassed a vast array of imperial treasures. The Forbidden City, where the emperors resided from 1420 to 1924, remains intact, and the best-preserved portions of the Great Wall still guard the city's northern approach. Inheriting the best of Chinese history and art, Beijing protected these treasures during the deaths of dynasties and the throes of revolutions. Now, as the capital of a new China, the city can present them to the world as the relics of Old Cathay. Crossing the vast courtyards of Beijing's palaces and pavilions, you can almost hear the heart of the Middle Kingdom beating. As you peer into the recesses of tile-roofed halls, you can imagine the emperors rising from the Dragon Throne. For five centuries this was the home of China's most powerful dynasties, including the Ming and the Manchu. China's last emperor abandoned the Forbidden City early in the 20th century. But the imperial walls have survived, as have the palaces of the 'Great Within'.