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Beijing travel guide — Beijing tourism and travel information

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about Beijing

Beijing (北京, Hanyu Pinyin: Běijīng, Wade-Giles: Pei-ching; Postal System Pinyin: Peking), is the capital city of the People's Republic of China.

Beijing is one of the 4 municipalities of the People's Republic of China, which have a provincial-level status, and is under the direct control of the central government. Beijing has been a municipality since the beginning of the PRC.

Beijing is one of the largest cities in China, second only to Shanghai as the nation's biggest. It is also a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and expressways connecting the capital city in all directions.

Beijing geography

Beijing borders Hebei province to the north, west, south, and for a tiny fraction to the east. The southwestern part borders Tianjin municipality. Hills dominate the scene to the north, northwest and west of Beijing.

The city's climate is harsh, characterized by hot, humid summers (due to the East Asian monsoon), and cold, windy, dry winters (reflecting the influence of the vast Siberian anticyclone, or high-pressure system).

The urban area of Beijing spreads out in bands of concentric ring roads. Tian'anmen is right at the centre of Beijing, and is directly to the south of the well-known Forbidden City, and to the east of Zhongnanhai, current residence of the paramount leaders of the People's Republic of China. Running through central Beijing is the famous Chang'an Avenue.

Most of the area of Beijing Municipality, however, is found outside the urban area of Beijing, and extends in all directions, especially northwards into the Yanshan Mountains.


Major neighbourhoods in urban Beijing include:

Beijing history

The metropolitan area of Beijing had been settled in the 1st millennium BC and the capital of Kingdom Yan (燕) was established there, who named it Ji (蓟). Ji has often been claimed to be the beginning of Beijing; but in reality Ji had been abandoned no later than the 6th century. The exact location of Ji remains unknown despite much effort in recent decades to identify the site.

During the great Tang and Song dynasties, only townships existed in this area. Numerous ancient poets came here to mourn the lost city, as testified by their surviving compositions.

By the early 10th century, Kingdom Liao had set up a "secondary capital" in the city proper, and called it Nanjing ("the Southern Capital").

The Jin Dynasty that annexed Liao and ruled northern China built its capital there, called Zhongdu (中都), or "the Central Capital".

Mongol forces burned Zhongdu to the ground in 1215 and rebuilt its own "Grand Capital" (大都) to the north of the Jin capital in 1267, which was the true beginning of contemporary Beijing. Apparently, Kublai Khan, who wanted to become a Chinese emperor, established his capital in Beijing instead of more traditional sites in central China because Beijing was closer to his power base in Mongolia. The decision of the Khan greatly enhanced the status of a city that had been situated on the northern fringe of China proper.

In 1403, the 3rd Ming emperor Zhu Di(朱棣), who had just grabbed the throne by killing his nephew after a bloody civil war and moved the capital from southern China to his own power base in the north, renamed the city Beijing (北京), or "Northern Capital".

The Forbidden City was constructed soon after that (1406-1420), followed by the Temple of Heaven (1420), and numerous other construction projects. Tian'anmen, which has become a state symbol of the PRC in modern times, was burned down twice during the Ming Dynasty and the final reconstruction was carried out in 1651.

The shape and form of Beijing as) took form after the Ming Dynasty settled in Beijing and made it its capital.

While on the mainland, the Republic of China established its capital in Nanjing. During the early days of the Republic, Yuan Shikai seized power in Beijing and declared an empire nation from Beijing (the Beiyang Government). In 1928, Nanjing was officially made the capital of the Republic of China, and Beijing was renamed Beiping. (See "Name" section, above)

During the second Sino-Japanese War, Beiping fell to Japan on July 29, 1937. During the occupation, Beiping was renamed Beijing, and made the seat of the North China Executive Committee, a puppet state that ruled Japanese-occupied North China. This lasted until Japan's surrender in World War II, on August 15, 1945, and Beijing's name was changed back to Beiping.

On January 31, 1949, during the Chinese Civil War, communist forces entered Beiping without a fight. On October 1 of the same year, the Communist Party of China, under the leadership of Mao Zedong, announced in Tian'anmen the creation of the People's Republic of China in Beijing. Just a few days earlier, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference decided that Beiping would be the capital of the PRC, and that its name be changed back to Beijing.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Beijing".

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