Also known as the Imperial Palace, or Gugong, the Forbidden City is the second most famous symbol of ancient China after the Great Wall. Home to 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties, this incredible residence of almost 600 years took 17 years to build. The city covers 170 acres and includes 8,706 rooms. Filled with furniture, porcelain, clocks and jewelry, it is a veritable imperial museum. Any visitor to Beijing cannot afford to miss this historic landmark. The Forbidden City is just ten minutes walking distance from the hotel.
The Tian’anmen Square is directly adjacent to the palace and is considered the “heart” of China. The square quadrupled in size shortly after Chairman Mao Zedong declared the founding of the People’s Republic from the rostrum that bears his magnificent portrait. The famous square can hold up to a million people and is the world’s largest square in area at 440,000 square meters.
Originally built in 1665, St. Joseph’s Cathedral is one of the oldest Roman Catholic churches in Beijing. It is located on the south side of the hotel. Mass is in Mandarin at 6:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m., Monday through Friday. Sunday Mass is at 6:15 a.m., 7:00 a.m., and 8:00 a.m.