Legation Quarter Beijing – Opening Hours, Highlights, and Tips

legation quarter beijing

The Legation Quarter was a foreign enclave located in the heart of Beijing, China during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was established after the signing of the Beijing Convention in 1860, which ended the Second Opium War and granted extraterritorial rights to various Western powers. The Quarter was comprised of 13 foreign legations, each with its own distinct architectural style, and served as the center of diplomatic activity in China.

The Legation Quarter was a unique and diverse community, with inhabitants ranging from diplomats and missionaries to journalists and adventurers. It was also the site of numerous historical events, such as the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, during which the foreign legations were besieged by Chinese nationalists. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Legation Quarter was dismantled and many of its buildings were converted for government use.

Today, the former Legation Quarter is a popular tourist destination, offering visitors a glimpse into China’s past as a center of global diplomacy and cultural exchange. Many of the original buildings have been preserved and restored, and the area is now home to a variety of museums, galleries, shops, and restaurants.


Table of Contents


Basic Information

Estimated Length of TourAbout 2 hours
Ticket PriceFree
Opening HoursThe quarter is accessible 24 hours a day, but most museums operate from 9.00 – 17.00 and close on Monday.

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Location and Transportation

The Legation Quarter was located in the Dongcheng District of Beijing. It was situated just east of Tiananmen Square and south of the Forbidden City, and covered an area of approximately 50 hectares. You can get easily by public transport.

Bus: Take bus 41 or 60, get off at Zhengyi Road South (正义路南口), and you will be standing at the center of the Legation Quarter.

Subway: Take subway line 2 or 5, get off at Chongwenmen Station (崇文门), and walk about 100 meters to the north to reach the eastern edge of the Legation Quarter.


Highlights of Legation Quarter

Architecture

architecture in legation quarter beijing

The architecture in the Beijing Legation Quarter is a unique blend of Chinese and Western styles, reflecting the cultural exchange that occurred during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The buildings in the Quarter were constructed by various foreign powers, each with its own distinct architectural style. Some of the most notable buildings include the French Legation, which features neoclassical columns and a Mansard roof, and the British Legation, which features a combination of Victorian Gothic and Chinese traditional elements.


Historical Sites

historical sites in legation quarter beijing

The Legation Quarter in Beijing is home to several historical sites that offer visitors a chance to explore China’s rich cultural heritage. One of the most notable sites is the Dongjiaominxiang Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in Beijing, which features traditional Chinese architecture with Islamic influences. Another important site is the former residence of Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China, which has been converted into a museum showcasing his life and legacy. Additionally, the Legation Quarter is home to several parks and gardens, including the former gardens of the British and French Legations, which offer a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.


Cultural Events

cultural events in legation quarter beijing

The Legation Quarter in Beijing is a vibrant cultural center that hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year. One of the most notable events is the annual Beijing Design Week, which brings together local and international designers to showcase the latest trends in art, fashion, and design. The Quarter is also home to a number of music and performance venues, which host regular concerts and theatrical productions. Additionally, the Legation Quarter is a popular destination for food festivals and markets, such as the annual Beijing International Food Festival, which features cuisine from around the world.


Museums

museums in legation quarter beijing

The Legation Quarter in Beijing is home to several museums that offer visitors a chance to learn about China’s rich cultural heritage and its diplomatic history. One of the most notable museums is the Beijing Museum of Diplomatic History, which is housed in the former American Legation and showcases the role of foreign diplomacy in China’s modern history. Another important museum is the China Numismatic Museum, which features a collection of Chinese coins and currency from ancient times to the present day.


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Useful Tips Summarized from Reviews

Architecture and Photography: The Legation Quarter boasts Western-style buildings that make for excellent photo opportunities. Visitors can capture beautiful images in this area. Exploring the lane typically takes only around half an hour due to its compact size.

Attire: To enhance the photo-taking experience, consider wearing red clothing or accessorizing with red elements. Red can add vibrancy and contrast to the surroundings, making your photos stand out.

Recommended Time to Visit: The best time to visit the Legation Quarter is during late autumn or early winter. During this period, the foliage begins to change color, creating a picturesque backdrop for photographs. The soft, gentle lighting during this time also contributes to a pleasant atmosphere, making it popular among couples for vintage-style wedding photoshoots.


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