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CCTV Headquarters


Known locally as Da Kucha (大裤衩, Big Pants), the 234m-tall CCTV Tower is an architectural fantasy that appears to defy gravity. Designed by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren, the building has become an icon of the Beijing skyline since being completed in 2008 in time for the Olympics.

There's no access to the site, but you can take great photos from Rosewood Beijing and the terrace bars of China World Mall, such as Migas Mercado.

In February 2008, midway through CCTV's own Chinese New Year celebrations, a stray firework set alight the attached Television Cultural Center tower. Despite burning for five hours with spectacular ferocity, none of this was shown on TV, with CCTV famously censoring its reporting of the huge conflagration (Beijing netizens dryly noted how CCTV created one of the year’s biggest stories only to not cover it). The as-yet-unopened Beijing Mandarin Oriental, a visitor’s centre and theatre were destroyed in the blaze, but Big Pants itself escaped un-singed.