Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China, is the nation’s political, cultural and international exchange center. In the summer of 2008, Beijing successfully hosted the 29th Olympic Games.
Beijing has jurisdiction over 16 districts and counties, with an area of about 17,000 square kilometers and a permanent population of 19.612 million. Located in the northern part of the North China Plains, Beijing has a semi-temperate and semi-moist climate with four distinct seasons, short spring and autumn, and long summer and winter.
Beijing is a famous historical and cultural city in the world, and one of the seven ancient capitals in China. Some 700,000 years ago, Peking Man, a type of early man from the Pleistocene age, lived at Zhoukoudian. In 938 Beijing served as the attendant capital of Liao Dynasty (907–1125); and later as the capital of Jin (1115–1234), Yuan (1206–1368), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1616-1911) dynasties, totaling 800 years. Therefore this ancient capital in the East boasts a great number of places of scenic and historic interest, which enjoy a high reputation in the world because of their large sizes and outstanding positions, such as the Palace Museum (or called Forbidden City), the largest complex of palace buildings in the world; the Great Wall, known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World; the Temple of Heaven, the largest temple for worshipping Heaven in the world; the Ming Tombs, the densest imperial mausoleums in the world; and the Summer Palace, the largest imperial garden in the world. Like sparkling stars, they are the embodiments of ancient Chinese culture and the nation’s feelings, nurturing Beijing’s tourism resources with profound connotation.
Along with the development of urban construction, a number of old and new scenic spots are open to the public in succession, such as Qianmen Street, Shichahai Bar Street and 798 Art Zone. They join the Olympic venues such as the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube and the National Center for the Performing Arts and CCTV building to show the extraordinary charm of the metropolitan city of Beijing. Meanwhile, Hutong and Quadrangle are the right places where you can see how ordinary Beijingers live their lives. A rickshaw ride around Hutong area could be great fun. All of them add radiance, beauty and charm to Beijing, an ancient and modern city.
Surrounded by high mountains, the suburbs of Beijing have beautiful natural scenery, which consists of green trees, ancient temples, flowing steams, overhanging waterfalls, and simple and unsophisticated villages. Hence the suburbs of Beijing are very attractive to Chinese and foreign tourists.
Beijing is a world-renowned tourist city, and its tourist corresponding facilities are being improved with each passing day. By 2010, Beijing has opened over 200 tourist attractions. Now in Beijing, 407 of 456 designated hotels which own 84,000 guest rooms are star-rated hotels. And there are 456 travel agencies with more than 5,000 guides, providing services in 21 major languages.
This is Beijing, both an ancient capital and a city full of modern flavor. Only if you are in Beijing, can you appreciate its charm and the quintessence of the traditional Chinese culture.
The best time to visit Beijing is from late August to early November every year, when the autumn weather is pleasant.