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The Hot Snow Capital


   It seems Beijing is void of tourist peak and off seasons, for the city is rarely at a lack of tourists. However, its winters, especially after snowfall, offer a particular fiavor. Many newer Beijing residents admit that their love affair with the city began after witnessing their first snowfall. The snow makes everything a bit more tranquil, providing an opportunity to feel the heart of the city.

   Snowy Beijing has a distinctive atmosphere. You may hear the touting of an old knife grinder or bump into a young man selling sugarcoated haw sticks in hutongs, which deliver an unparalleled feeling of old Beijing. In winter, many scenic spots offer drastically different allure than in other seasons.

  Native Beijing residents believe winter is the best time to visit the Forbidden City, especially in the early afternoon after snowfall. The relative scarcity of tourists better embodies the solemnity and dignity of the palace which served as home t0 24 emperors. When surrounded by crowds of tourists under the scorching sun, visitors often quickly lose appetites for history and culture. Many movies and TV series related to Beijing choose to shoot in the Forbidden City after snowfall, in an effort to restore the aura of the time-honored structure. Thus, if it snows while you visit Beijing, you should rush to the Forbidden City to savor China´s heavy history in the vast square of the royal family.

   Although its name is Summer Palace, the well-pre-served imperial garden remains picturesque in winter. The Summer Palace offers a snowy scene as gorgeous as that of West Lake, which is well-known throughout China, and its beauty is not restricted to one structure, but rather composed by the entire poetic atmosphere. When Longevity Hill is covered by snow and Kunming Lake freezes, tourists can walk down the same long corridor where princesses and princes passed long ago.

   Along with Forbidden City and Summer Palace, the Great Wall is another must-visit with Beijing snow. The popular Badaling and Mutianyu sections offer substantially magnificent views. However, for more ambitious travelers, the beautifully preserved Gubeikou and Jiank ou sections can be even more stunning. When snow and ´ frost cover the bricks, some rave about the nostalgic feeling. However, climbing to the steep stretches at Gubeikou and Jiankou is more difficult in winter. Thus, a guide is still necessary for those with less experience or little hiking equipment.

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