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National Grand Theatre Tour

The National Grand Theatre at Night

Rating5 star #17of 27 attractions in Beijing

Tickets RMB 30

Tour Time 2~3 Hours

Features Completely modern, but not offensive; A magnificent and gigantic project in Beijing;A structure as a symbol of a pearl--a treasure of China; a cultural island in the middle of a lake

Brief introduction to National Grand Theatre

National Grand Theatre (the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), and colloquially described as The Egg) is an opera house in Beijing. The Centre, an ellipsoid dome of titanium and glass surrounded by an artificial lake, seats 5,452 people in three halls and is almost 12,000 m2 in size in floor space and aims to provide an iconic building for China's capital on a par with the iconic Sydney Opera House. It was designed by French architect Paul Andreu. Construction started in December 2001 and the inaugural concert was held in December 2007.

The National Grand building is surrounded by a pool and gives the impression of floating on the surface of the water. The main north entrance is an 80m corridor running under the pool. The south entrance and other entrances are all built under the surrounding water.

The reelection of the theater in the water surrounding creates the egg-shaped impression and hence the building’s recently coined nickname of the "The Egg". When the building is lit at night the effect is even more dramatic.

The building also includes a 2,017-seat concert hall and a smaller 1,040 capacity theater

The exterior of the theater

 The exterior of the theater is a titanium accented glass dome that is completely surrounded by a man-made lake. It is said to look like an egg floating on water, or a water drop. It was designed as an iconic feature, something that would be immediately recognizable.

The dome measures 212 meters in east-west direction, 144 meters in north-south direction, and is 46 meters high. The main entrance is at the north side. Guests arrive in the building after walking through a hallway that goes underneath the lake. The titanium shell is broken by a glass curtain in north-south direction that gradually widens from top to bottom.

The interior of the theater

  • The Opera Hall is used for operas, ballet, and dances and seats 2,416.
  • The Music Hall has 2,017 seats.
  • The Theater Hall is used for plays and the Beijing opera. It has 1,040 seats.

About designer of the theater and its controversy

Paul Andreu, designer of National Grand Theatre of China, is well known as a designer of airports around the world including Abu Dhabi International Airport, Dubai International Airport, and the Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports in Paris. His design won the 1998-99 international competition to construct the new building.

From the beginning, the building of the theater with futuristic design aroused many disagreements and construction even shutdown for a period. Some people felt that the new building would clash with all the profound traditions and ancient architecture in Beijing.

Paul Andreu countered that although there is indeed value in ancient traditional Chinese architecture, Beijing must also include modern architecture, as the capital of the country and an international city of great importance. His design, with large open space, water, trees, was specially designed to complement the red walls of ancient buildings and the Great Hall of the People, in order to melt into the surroundings as opposed to standing out against them.However now it is complete and has become a symbol of Beijing.

Location: No. 2, West Chang'an Avenue, Xicheng District, Beijing

Opening hour:  9:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. / Mon.-Fri.

How to get there?

National Centre for the Performing Arts is located right at Tian'anmen West Station (Exit C) on Beijing's line 1 subway route. Therefore, you can take subway line 1. Or you can take buses: No.1, 4, 10, 20, 37, 52, 726, 728 and 802 all stop at Tian'anmen West. .

Weather/Best Time to Go

Beijing enjoys four distinctive seasons owning to its humid continental climate, ranging from very warm during the summer: 28ºC to 38ºC (82ºF to 93ºF), to chilly and dry during the winter: -10ºC to 10ºC (14ºF to 50ºF).

All of the year is suitable for your National Grand Theatre Tour. A sunny day is much better if you want to tour outsite the theater, but if you want to stay in the theatre, a rainny day is ok. You can learn more about the weather from forecast Beijing weather

Travel tips:

  • * The box office of the National Centre for the Performing Arts is located at the north entrance of centre. It is open between 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. every day. We accept cash, Master Card, Visa and Union Pay debit cards.
  • * Tickets may be purchased by calling our hotline on +86 10 6655 0000 between 9:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. every day. A delivery service is available or tickets may be collected 24 hours after placing your order. Please remember to bring your order number when picking up your tickets.

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