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Qinhuangdao Combines the Games and the Beach
    2008-07-25 16:18:34     Xinhua

The 2008 Beijing Olympics belongs not only to metropolises with skyscrapers and flyovers.

There's another choice that could allow you to enjoy a beach vacation without missing the excitement of the Games, just two hours by train from Beijing.

Qinhuangdao, a co-host city of the 2008 Games, is one of the few seaside resorts in northern China.

Bordered on the north by Yanshan Mountain and the south by the Bohai Sea, it provides tourists with a 126 km coastline.

Qinhuangdao is the only city in China that takes its name after the ancient emperor. Legends say that the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty traveled east to the coast after he united China and then sent envoys to the sea in search of methods for immortality. Thus, the name of the city.

On the city's southern coast, a huge statue of the first emperor stands high, holding a cup of wine to the sea, as if to propose a toast.

The Great Wall originates here. Dubbed the "head of the dragon, " the moss-covered brick wall rose up from the sea, high up westward onto the mountain, to the first fortress -- Shanhaiguan, or literally the "Mountain and Sea Pass".

It was once the most important stronghold of China. More than 300 years ago, northern nomads entered the gate and conquered the country. They established the last dynasty in Chinese history, the Qing Dynasty.

As a World Cultural Heritage site, the fortress has preserved intact the architecture of ancient defense, including a watch tower.

Back to the present: the city's coast has the softest, finest sand in northern China.

You can buy all sorts of live, fresh seafood at very reasonable prices in the market, bring them to any restaurant and pay a few yuan to get the meal cooked. It's a delight to sit in the sea air, eating crabs and chatting with your friends and family.

The city has built a special Olympic theme park, where you can find the hand and foot prints of 30 Chinese Olympic champions. The Olympic Sports Center Stadium, where the soccer games will be played, is near the sea.

The audience can get a clear view of the sea while sitting inside the stadium, the only Olympic facility to provide this experience.

 
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