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Beijing in the Eyes of Foreigners
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By Catherine E. Wood
Photos by Celine Chen, Catherine E. Wood and William Curtis
Staff Reporters of China.org.cn

As China focuses more attention on sharing their rich culture and history with the world, more and more foreigners come to Beijing annually. Beijing, a city with over 3000 years of history, has many favorite tourist attractions like The Great Wall, the Ming Tombs, Summer Palace, and 2008 Olympic venues; just to name a few. These tourists bring with them a fresh perspective on what many Beijingers take for granted every day, and opportunities like "Photo Contest: Beijing in the Eyes of Foreigners" allows them to tell their story through the lens of a camera.

Focusing: A visitor is taking pictures in the Temple of Ancient Monarchs. [photo by Celine Chen]

"Beijing in the Eyes of Foreigners" hopes to bring a fresh perspective to Beijing tourism sites as well as promote tourism in some of the less-visited sites around the city. The photo contest was run by Beijing People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, from March 10 through July 15, 2009 and invited tourists to tell their stories of modern-Beijing through images.

One of the activities in this contest: Beijing People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries invited 30 foreign employees from China International Publishing Group (CIPG) to visit several scenic spots in Beijing to take photographs on July 10.

Travelers were taken to sites like the Temple of Ancient Monarchs, built by Emperor Jiajing of the Ming Dynasty. This temple became the worship house of 188 past emperors and holds the title for most figures worshiped in a single temple.  The temple is located on Fuchengmennei Avenue.

Another destination for the photographers of "Beijing in the Eyes of Foreigners" is the White Dagoba Temple. The White Dagoba, completed in 1279, is one of the two famous dagobas in Beijing (The other is in Beihai Park,) and functioned as the imperial temple in the Yuan Dynasty. It is the earliest and largest Tibetan Dagoba and stands as a reminder of the friendship between Nepal and China.

In order to show the modern side of Beijing, travelers were also taken on a visit to Beijing Financial Street. From the top of the Bank of Beijing, visitors were given a panoramic view of the city, and a real taste of the business sector and modern flair of Beijing. This street showcases the commerce and hustle-bustle of a new-age China, and serves as a reminder that Beijing has a lot to offer.

Through the tour of the city, photographers were able to see a little of the past, and the future of Beijing. Their stories bring with them a reminder to never take for granted the rich heritage of the city that is all around us, and to take note of the intricate marriage Beijing has made with the old and the new.

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