Beijing is a city of opposites, with one foot in the past and another in the present. Nowhere is this duality visible than in its architecture, where traditional and modern styles coexist and bold designs blend with vintage structures from bygone eras.
Here are three spots to enjoy the ancient architecture as well as spring blooms in Beijing.
Sitting at the back of Longevity Hill, the Flower Pavilion and Glass Tower are hidden spots in the Summer Palace where you can breathe in the colorful spring in quietude. The Flower Pavilion was built in 1754, and the Glass Tower in the pavilion was a gift from emperor Qianlong to celebrate his mother's 60th birthday.
The pavilion was destroyed by British and French soldiers in 1860 while the colorful tower survived. The original Flower Pavilion is in ruins but the flowers in the garden still blossom every spring.
Close to the Flower Pavilion, the Jingfu Pavilion on the top of the Longevity Hill is also worth a visit. The Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) used to enjoy the rain and gaze at the Moon here.
The Imperial Garden
The Imperial Garden in the Forbidden City was only enjoyed by members of the royalty, but now its beauty can be appreciated by the public. The pink apricot blossoms in front of the palaces have witnessed the change of history.
Drum Tower and Bell Tower
Beijing's Bell and Drum Towers lie on the northern end of the central axis of the inner city. Looking at each other for hundreds of years, the two towers are surrounded by hutongs and trees.
The best place to enjoy the spring views of the old city is to find an accessible hutong roof, such as a coffee shop or a restaurant, where you can see the spring flowers blossoming against the towers.