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Tourists now come to Bird's Nest to roost
By Xin Dingding (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-10-24 09:15

Move over Palace Museum and Summer Palace, Bird's Nest and Water Cube are here.

The two "modern wonders" pushed the historical landmarks to fourth and fifth spots in a poll on the must-see attractions in Beijing.

The top tourist attraction, however, is still the Great Wall (Badaling section).

Built for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the Bird's Nest (or National Stadium) and the Water Cube (or National Aquatics Center) left many a famous landmark by the wayside to come in second and third in an opinion poll, released at the opening of the 11th Beijing International Tourism Festival on Friday.

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The Palace Museum (or Forbidden City), from where the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) emperors ruled, and the Summer Palace were followed by Tian'anmen Square, Temple of Heaven, and Wangfujing.

"This reflects tourists' choice," Yang Yang, general manager of Beijing Spring International Travel Services, said. "Since October last year, almost all the tourists who have come to Beijing in groups have visited the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube."

"They were very high on the must-see list even before this poll," he said.

The other tourist hotspots include Shichahai Lake (No 9), Happy Valley theme park (No 10) and the National Center for the Performing Arts, popularly called the Egg Shell (No 15).

The poll was organized by the Beijing Tourism Administration, and 14 million netizens, both from home and abroad, voted in May and June to choose the 30 most important tourist spots. Tourism industry experts then shortened the list to 16 attractions.

In a similar poll organized in 1986. Tian'anmen Square had topped the list, followed by the Palace Museum, the Great Wall, Beihai Park, the Summer Palace and Fragrant Hill.

Fragrant Hill, Shidu (a national karst geological park in Fangshan district), and the Grand View Garden (where the film based on the classic novel Dream of the Red Chamber was shot), among the top tourist spots on the 1986 list, have disappeared from the new list.

"The new list reflects a more vibrant, modern Beijing," Beijing resident Zhang Wei said.

Tourists now come to Bird's Nest to roost