Beijing’s interconnected transport network has welcomed new additions to its ever-expanding subway system: western-end stations of Line 6 that open more ways to visit the capital’s remote historic sites and make commuting easier for those who live in western neighborhoods.
The western extension of Subway Line 6 opened on December 30, 2018 with six underground stations from the previous terminus and transfer station of Haidian Wuluju 海淀五路居站:
– Jin’anqiao 金安桥 (transfer to the S1 Line)
– Pingguoyuan 苹果园 (transfer to Line 1, currently closed)
– Yang Zhuang 杨庄
– Xihuang Cun 西黄村
– Liaogong Zhuang 廖公庄
– Tian Cun 田村
The 10.3-kilometer extension further links Shijingshan to the city’s main subway arteries and helps accommodate more commuters from western neighborhoods who were previously served by Line 1 and the S1 maglev line. Currently, the trains pass through the Pingguoyuan transfer station as subway authorities are preparing its Line 1 interchange for widening and further upgrading that will begin in February 2019.
From Pingguoyuan, the stations Yang Zhuang, Xihuang Cun, Liaogong Zhuan, and Tian Cun serves dense residential areas between the Northwest Fourth and Fifth Ring Roads. Meanwhile, the current terminus Jin’anqiao Station is linked to the low-speed S1 maglev line that runs further west to Mentougou District. From the terminus, there are several places of interest for tourists, or for families with older children wanting to explore the western suburbs of the capital for day trips.
The first eastbound train from Jin’anqiao to Lucheng leaves at 5.08am. The last eastbound train is at 10.25pm.
The Quaternary Glacial Relics Exhibition Museum of China (中国第四纪冰川遗迹陈列馆)
Dubbed in China as the “world’s only display hall of glacier relics“, the Quarternary Glacial Relics Exhibition Museum houses stone samples and photographs of relics from the Pleistocene glacial period, known as the “Ice Age” in Earth’s history. The museum’s display hall itself is situated beside a glacier site first discovered by a Chinese geologist in 1954, which was subsequently listed as a cultural heritage protection unit by the Beijing municipal government.
The museum was first opened in 1987 and has since been expanded to its present 4,200sqm area to accommodate 48 rare collections, including fossils of mammoths, that help visitors understand the history of ice ages, as well as the relationship between humans and climate change. The spacious area also means the museum can be used for workshops or summer camp activities for primary to middle school pupils.
Tue-Sun 9am-4pm. RMB 10 (adults), RMB 5 (students). No. 28, Moshikou, Shijingshan District, Beijing 北京市石景山区模式口28号 (8872 2585)
Going further north of the Quarternary Glacial Relics Exhibition Museum will bring you to the Fahai Temple, described as having China’s most complete and largest Ming Dynasty murals, comparable to the frescoes of the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang in Gansu Province. It was built in 1439 by an imperial eunuch.
The 236.7-meter mural area shows various Buddhist folklore, including meticulously painted images of the “Ten Buddhists” and has been kept intact for more than 560 years due to the ancient artists’ craftsmanship and quality of paint they used. Temple caretakers have also made efforts to keep natural light from coming to the frescoes to maintain the quality of the painting.
Aside from the famous murals, visitors can also see centuries-old bronze bells and white-bark pine trees believed to have been standing there for a thousand years. The temple is situated at the foot of Cuiwei Mountain in Shijingshan, so a short temple visit could also double as a nature excursion.
Tue-Sun 9am-4.30pm during the winter months, 9am-5pm during summer. RMB 20 (entrance), additional RMB 100 for an English-speaking guide. RMB 10 (students). No. 28, Moshikou Village, the southern foot of Cuiwei Mountain, Shijingshan District 石景山区翠微山南麓模式口28号. (8871 5776)
Cheng’en Temple (承恩寺 Chéng’ēn Sì)
Founded during the Sui Dynasty (581-618), this Buddhist temple has been rebuilt several times. The current complex includes stone Buddha sculptures and clock and drum towers that date from the early 1500s. Legend has it that the temple was built by eunuchs and served as a military and spy base during the Ming Dynasty.
The Cheng’en Temple has been transformed into a folk art museum, housing an important collection of religious murals and arts. The temple is currently closed for renovation but there are local tourists who have entered it and said the collections and murals are well preserved.