Since dynastic times, Beijing has been an image-conscious city – anxious to portray a particular face to its citizenry, and to the world at large. In the early days of Communist rule, Soviet functionality predominated, though things have recently taken a turn towards the cool and stylish – indeed, Beijing has undergone the kind of urban transformation usually only seen after a war. Esteemed architects from across the globe have been roped in for a series of carte blanche projects and, though the overall results have been hit and miss, some of the buildings are truly astounding. The best include the fantastic Olympic venues from 2008 (the “Bird’s Nest” and “Water Cube”); Paul Andreu’s National Theatre (the “Egg”); and, perhaps most striking of all, the CCTV headquarters (the “Twisted Doughnut”) by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, which appears to defy gravity with its intersecting Z-shaped towers.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

China features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Video: 10 Taiwanese street foods you need to try

Video: 10 Taiwanese street foods you need to try

Street food in Taiwan has a charm that restaurants just can't match. There's a distinct pleasure to be found in wandering through the labyrinthine stalls glo…

03 Aug 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
7 Chinese street foods you need to try

7 Chinese street foods you need to try

Thanks to China’s sheer enormity, travelling through the country is as much a tastebud odyssey as it is a history lesson. And eating your way around the stre…

27 Jul 2017 • Aimee White insert_drive_file Article
An expert's guide: the best area to stay in Hong Kong

An expert's guide: the best area to stay in Hong Kong

Hong Kong floats between old China and the west; its futuristic harbour has become one of Asia's most famous views but you'll also find pockets of traditiona…

28 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month