The two faces of Bejing: Present and past
© Cristóbal Schmal

Bejing – One city, two faces

  • ILLUSTRATION CRISTÓBAL SCHMAL

Avant-garde galleries, trending neighborhoods, magnificent new architecture: ­Beijing is one of the most thrilling cities in the world. For all that, the rich ­history of the 3000-year-old metropolis is in evidence everywhere, too. We show you both sides.

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Curtain up on acting, singing, dancing and martial arts: 210-year-old Huguang Guild Hall is just one venue where you can enjoy Chinese myths in Peking opera form.

Air show

he kites zipping in the wind over Beijing are not children’s toys, but cultural heritage in action. The China Culture Center runs kite-building courses.

Easy does it

Tai chi is a martial art that’s far more difficult than it looks. People come along to Beijing’s Jingshan Park every day to practice within sight of the Forbidden City.

Precious finds

Thousands of vendors at vast Panjiayuan antique market sell antique furniture, calligraphies, statues of Buddha and all manner of other devotionals of Old China.

More than a game

Want to get in touch with the locals fast? A good way to do it is by playing a traditional game of mahjong! Several language schools run courses for foreigners.

More than a park

A stroll through Beihai Park conjures up dreams of days gone by. Dotted with temples, pagoda and spires, the park has been in existence for about 840 years.

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Made in Germany

Beijing has a cosmopolitan art scene. The exhibition Deutschland 8 is showing new German art – not just at the Today Art Museum.

Tastes Chinese

Oolong tea, Szechuan pepper, cinnamon: These are the flavors Great Leap Brewery uses in its beers. It is Beijing’s first microbrewery.

New look

Who needs Prada, Gucci and Chanel when media icon Hong Huang’s Brand New China boutique showcases new Chinese designers?

Sounds new

Chinese independent music is coming into its own. Go to Rockland music store for young bands like Nova Heart and Duck Fight Goose.

Hot spot

Hipsters both Chinese and foreign head to Gulou near the old Drum Tower, where the streets are lined with music clubs, bars and boutiques.

Biking experience

Get a smart, sturdy bamboo-­frame model – or build your own during the two-day workshop run by Bamboo Bicycles Beijing.