Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Peninsula Beijing

Iran's Opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi called for another day of demonstrations after what he called a rigged election on Thursday, and is considered to be a direct challenge to the Islamic cleric-led government and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Mousavi maintains that he won the election and called for rallies to continue, which was claimed to be won by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “A number of our countrymen were wounded or martyred,” Mousavi announced on a website, as protests continued to build.

While we might not be vacationing in Iran, there are plenty of places to view with political sites of interest that get every history buff going. Heading to Beijing, China means that you'll be able to examine one of the most fascinating spots in the Eastern world--the Great Wall is just an hour away by car or bus. One stop even closer to your Beijing hotel is the Forbidden City, which contains the largest number of wooden structures in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site was unseen by plebeians until the walls were breached and the occupants forced out in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Try a rented guided tour headset if you're by yourself and sans guide, and then explore Tiananmen Square to check out monuments and notable political structures. Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, located in the square's center, is worth the line-waiting if you'd like to zip by Mao's coffin and see the leader for yourself. Stay until sunset to watch the Five Star Red Flag raising ceremony for the full effect of the square.

Wondering where you'll stay when soaking up all this political stuff in Beijing? The Park Hyatt Beijing has 360-degree views of the city and is part of the Beijing Yintai Center, the tallest skyscraper in the famous business district. Balancing the super modern with visits to UNESCO sites is the smart way to get extra energy before you trek around Beijing and outlying areas. Following the same train of thought, The Peninsula Beijing combines a traditional exterior with a modern interior and is a quick walk away from Beijing's Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Finely appointed hotel rooms with the perfect high-tech additions will thrill the gadget junkie who needs to load up the iPod or research on the internet before the next day of sightseeing. Both of these locations also feature Exclusive Complimentary Perks through WhataHotel!, so you simply can't go wrong.

With political turbulence around the globe, and many changes in the air, why not check out China's past on your next vacation?

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