The Bird's Nest (Niǎocháo, 鸟巢)—officially known as Beijing National Stadium (Guójiā Tǐyùchǎng, 国家体育场)—was easily the best known of Beijing's Olympic structures and, as such, was the crown jewel of the Olympic Green. Herzog & de Meuron's architectural masterpiece, derived from an original concept by controversial artist Ai Weiwei, features monstrous steel elements weighing up to 350 tons a piece intertwined in such a fashion that this gargantuan structure actually looks quite delicate.
The building has received both praise and criticism for its unconventional and potentially risky design—over 70% of the building's weight hangs over the audience's head. It also received a dose of controversial coverage when Ai Weiwei, disgusted with government policies in the lead up to the Olympics, publicly disowned his own role in the building's design in protest.
Since the end of the Beijing Olympics, the stadium has played host to a number of international sports events (the price tag is somewhat higher than domestic sports teams can manage) and taken turns as an indoor snow park and Segway race track (RMB 150 for 20 minutes). Outside of more international sporting events, the future of this vacant landmark remains undetermined.
Only a 70 km (44 mi) drive from Beijing, Badaling (Bādálǐng, 八达岭) is the most visited section of the Great Wall. Constructed during the Ming Dynasty, Badaling..
Fragrant Hills Park (Xiāngshān Gōngyuán, 香山公园) is located some 20 km (12 mi) northwest of Beijing, not far from the Summer Palace. Though the name..
Home to the biggest bell in China, the Great Bell Temple (Dàzhōng Sì, 大钟寺) was built in 1733 during the Qing Dynasty. The bell itself, known as..
The Temple of Heaven (Tiāntán, 天坛), completed in 1420 during the reign of the Ming Emperor Yongle, was the most sacred space in which the..