Photo: The Forbidden City

Framed by an intricate screen, the Forbidden City's grand Hall of Supreme Harmony sits across a broad courtyard.

Photograph by Guang Niu/Getty Images

A city in the midst of reinventing itself and continuing to build on the success of the 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing is a place of frenzied construction. New housing, new roads, and new sports venues seem to spring up overnight. At the same time, the capital of the People’s Republic of China remains an epicenter of tradition, with the treasures of nearly 2,000 years as the imperial capital still on view—in the famed Forbidden City and in the luxuriant pavilions and gardens of the Summer Palace. From the massive austerity of Tiananmen Square to the bustling new business and shopping districts that gleam as brightly as any in the West, Beijing is a city that intrigues, inspires, and rewards.

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