As an ancient capital and a modern cosmopolitan city, Beijing is home to many “record holders”. Today we will examine some of them to find their unique charms.
Remotest villages in Beijing: Huayuan village in Miyun, Yudouquan village in Fangshan, Shifosi village in Daxing and Shidongzi village in Huairou.
Among the four villages, Huayuan village is a folk village where you can see the first drop of sunshine in Beijing, Yudouquan village boasts natural beauty, Shifosi village was named after Shifo Temple in the village, and Shidongzi village got its name for a natural stone cave in the village.
Temple with the largest number of stone scriptures: Yunju Temple in Shijingshan (Stone Scriptures Mountain)
There are two wonders in Shijingshan, firstly Shijingshan is the highest level site, where the royal family organized to engrave scriptures on the stones for the longest time throughout the seven dynasties of Sui, Tang, Liao, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing, and secondly Jinxiangongzhu Tower on the top of Shijingshan is a rarely-seen delicate Tang Dynasty (618 — 907 AD) stone pagoda in China and one of the eight existing Tang Dynasty stone pagodas in Beijing.
The most fashionable market: Sanyuanli Market
At a glance of the market, the clean stalls orderly categorized by goods sell fresh food of extremely international varieties. It features a lot of food items rarely seen in other markets in Beijing, such as the distinct fruits and vegetables from home and abroad, rich aquatic products from different countries, various unnamed sweetgrass, authentic spices and exotic food seasonings.
The most commercialized museum: Wanfeng Snack
Located in the Lize International Financial Zone in Fengtai District, Wanfeng Snack is dedicated to be an important window displaying traditional Chinese food culture for tourists home and abroad. It was rated as the largest snack shop in the world by China World Records Association in 2010.
The most artistic mall: Parkview Green FangCaoDi
Art is the building Parkview Green FangCaoDi’s most distinctive feature. More than 500 artworks are exhibited in its dynamic space including Spanish master Salvador Dali’s and most of these works are sculptures. There are more than 40 pieces of sculptures of Dali which it is said that only Barcelona in Spain can be matched with it from the aspect of number of collections.
Lamp posts with the most functions: Multifunctional lamp posts installed in Zuoanmen Xijie
Besides lighting, these lamp posts also possess functions like smart security monitoring, WIFI coverage, and IntelliSense of PM 2.5 through linkage with the smart city access platform. Some also have electronic screens where the date, time, temperature, humidity and wind speed of the day are shown. What’s more, the lamp posts are also equipped with charger interfaces.
The smallest temple: Miaojue Temple
On the Back Hill and at the north bank of Suzhou River in the Summer Palace lies a small temple – Miaojue Temple. The tiny temple built in the Qing Dynasty consists of a mount gate, a flagpole base, a main hall decorated with colored paintings and temple wall. It is said that the temple was built for the sake of landscaping. Covering about 60 square meters, Miaojue Temple is the smallest temple in Beijing.
The lowest hill: Yangshan
There is an artificial hill called Yangshan in Olympic Forest Park， 86.5 meters above sea level, the peak of Yangshan is even lower than that of Jingshan. Lying on the Central Axis of Beijing, the hill commands a good view. Here you can have a panoramic view of such Olympic landmarks as Olympic Tower, Bird’s Nest and Water Cube.
The highest mountain: Lingshan Mountain
Titled as “the first mountain of Beijing”, Lingshan Mountain in northwest of Mentougou is 2,303 meters above sea level. Its altitude is even higher than that of such famous mountains as Mount Lu, Mount Tai and Mount Huang. Thus those who love mountaineering must not miss Lingshan Mountain.
The highest building: The headquarters building of CITIC Group
The headquarters building of CITIC has another name -“Zhongguo Zun”(China Zun). As the name suggests, the building emphasizes Chinese characteristics. Situated in the CBD of Chaoyang, the building will be the highest skyscraper in Beijing and has been included in the “top ten modern buildings of China”.
The earliest railway station: Zhengyangmen East Railway Station
Designed by the British and built in 1903, Zhengyangmen East Railway Station, also known as old Qianmen Railway Station, used to be the largest railway station in China then. The European-style station is adjacent to Dongjiao Minxiang and Qianmen commercial district, and has two storeys underground, three storeys above ground as well as three platforms and waiting rooms at the west end. Today the over-100-year-old railway station is the Zhengyangmen branch of China Railway Museum.
The bridge with the largest number of stone lines: Seventeen-Arch Bridge
Lugou Bridge and the Seventeen-Arch Bridge stand out among the exquisite bridges in Beijing. Both of the two bridges are known for their numerous stone lions. Built during Emperor Qianlong’s reign in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the Seventeen-Arch Bridge connecting the East Causeway and South Lake Island has altogether 544 stone lions featuring different postures and expressions on its guard rails, 59 more than those on Lugou Bridge.
The largest archway: The archway in front of Dongyue Temple
Dongyue Temple, reputed as the first Taoist temple in North China, is the largest temple of Zhengyi school of Taoism in northern China. As a building attached to Dongyue temple, the archway in front of the temple is located south of Chaoyangmenwai Dajie. First built in 1602 in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the archway is said to be funded by the eunuchs. The northern side of the archway reads “yong yan di zuo” (everlasting empire) and the southern side reads “zhi si dai zong” (offering sacrifices to God of Mount Tai). There was a wooden archway on its east and west sides respectively and it is a pity that both of the wooden archways have been dismantled.
The earliest shopping mall: Dongan Department Store
With a history of over 100 years, Dongan Department Store in Wangfujing Dajie is the earliest comprehensive shopping mall in Beijing. In the past, Dongan Department Store offered not only food and drink but also entertainment. As Donganmenwai Dajie was close to the Forbidden City, many royal members and high officials built houses there. The street which was also lined with many shops and stalls was often congested. To ease the congestion, the stalls were relocated to the drill ground to the southeast, and thus Dongan Department Store was born.
The shortest hutong: Yichi Dajie
Being the shortest hutong in Beijing, Yichi Dajie is only dozens of meters long. In spite of its shortness, the alleyway is said to be “an epitome of the hutongs in Beijing”. With a history of at least over 70 years, the alleyway originally was home to six shops – a liquor shop, a blacksmith’s shop, a barber’s shop and three seal carving shops. If you are interested in Beijing hutong, don’t forget to pay a visit to Yichi Dajie when you come to Liulichang.