Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world.
Its total population in 2013 was 21,150,000. The city proper is the 2nd most populous in the world.
Beijing Municipality is surrounded by Hebei Province with the exception of neighboring Tianjin Municipality to the southeast; together the three divisions form the Jingjinji metropolitan region and the national capital region of China.
Beijing is the second largest Chinese city by urban population after Shanghai and is the nation's political, cultural and educational center.It is home to the headquarters of most of China's largest state-owned companies, and is a major hub for the national highway, expressway, railway, and high-speed rail networks. The Beijing Capital International Airport is the second busiest in the world by passenger traffic.
The city's history dates back three millennia. As the last of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, Beijing has been the political center of the country for much of the past eight centuries.
The city is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, parks, gardens, tombs, walls and gates, and its art treasures and universities have made it a center of culture and art in China.
It was the seat of the Ming and Qing dynasty emperors until the formation of a republic in 1911. Beijing is the political, educational and cultural center of the country and as such it is rich in historical sites and important government and cultural institutions.
The city is well known for its flatness and regular construction. There are only three hills to be found within the city limits (in Jingshan Park to the north of the famous Forbidden City). Like the configuration of the Forbidden City, Beijing has concentric "ring roads", which are actually rectangular, that go around the metropolis.
Beijing is a dynamic, changing city. There is a mix of old and new all around (especially within the 3rd and 2nd Ring Roads). Here you can see the most modern, envelope-pushing technologies and social innovations butting heads with the most ancient cultural norms and social settings. The people here can seem a bit cold, but once you break the ice you will find that they are very friendly and engaging.
Beijing has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, Zhoukoudian, Great Wall, and the Grand Canal.
Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics and was chosen to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will make it the first and only city to ever host both events.
|POPULATION :||City: 21,516,000 / Metro: 24,900,000|
|TIME ZONE :||(UTC+7)|
|LANGUAGE :||Han Chinese, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Mongol|
|RELIGION :||Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Christian 3%-4%, Muslim 1%-2%|
|AREA :||16,410.54 km2 (6,336.14 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||43.5 m (142.7 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||39°55′N 116°23′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48.80%
• Female: 51.20%
|ETHNIC :||Han Chinese 96%, Manchu 2%, Hui 2%, Mongol 0.3%|
|AREA CODE :||10|
|POSTAL CODE :||100000–102629|
|DIALING CODE :||+86 10|
At the historical heart of Beijing lies the Forbidden City, the enormous palace compound that was the home of the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Forbidden City hosts the Palace Museum, which contains imperial collections of Chinese art. Surrounding the Forbidden City are several former imperial gardens, parks and scenic areas, notably Beihai, Shichahai, Zhongnanhai, Jingshan and Zhongshan. These places, particularly Beihai Park, are described as masterpieces of Chinese gardening art, and are popular tourist destinations with tremendous historical importance. In the modern era, Zhongnanhai has also been the political heart of various Chinese governments and regimes and is now the headquarters of the Communist Party of China and the State Council.
From Tiananmen Square, right across from the Forbidden City, there are several notable sites, such as the Tiananmen, Qianmen, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, the Monument to the People's Heroes, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. The Summer Palace and the Old Summer Palace both lie at the western part of the city, contains a comprehensive collection of imperial gardens and palaces that served as the summer retreats for the Qing imperial family.
Among the best known religious sites in the city is the Temple of Heaven (Tiantan), located in southeastern Beijing, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties made visits for annual ceremonies of prayers to Heaven for good harvest. In the north of the city is the Temple of Earth (Ditan), while the Temple of the Sun (Ritan) and the Temple of the Moon (Yuetan) lie in the eastern and western urban areas respectively. Other well-known temple sites include the Dongyue Temple, Tanzhe Temple, Miaoying Temple, White Cloud Temple, Yonghe Temple, Fayuan Temple, Wanshou Temple and Big Bell Temple. The city also has its own Confucius Temple, and a Guozijian or Imperial Academy. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, built in 1605, is the oldest Catholic church in Beijing. The Niujie Mosque is the oldest mosque in Beijing, with a history stretching back over a thousand years.
Beijing contains several well-preserved pagodas and stone pagodas, such as the towering Pagoda of Tianning Temple, which was built during the Liao Dynasty from 1100 to 1120, and the Pagoda of Cishou Temple, which was built in 1576 during the Ming Dynasty. Historically noteworthy stone bridges include the 12th-century Lugou Bridge, the 17th-century Baliqiao bridge, and the 18th-century Jade Belt Bridge. The Beijing Ancient Observatory displays pre-telescopic spheres dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Fragrant Hills (Xiangshan) is a popular scenic public park that consists of natural landscaped areas as well as traditional and cultural relics. The Beijing Botanical Garden exhibits over 6,000 species of plants, including a variety of trees, bushes and flowers, and an extensive peony garden. The Taoranting, Longtan, Chaoyang, Haidian, Milu Yuan and Zizhu Yuan parks are some of the notable recreational parks in the city. The Beijing Zoo is a center of zoological research that also contains rare animals from various continents, including the Chinese giant panda.
There are 144 museums and galleries (as of June 2008) in the city. In addition to the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City and the National Museum of China, other major museums include the National Art Museum of China, the Capital Museum, the Beijing Art Museum, the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution, the Geological Museum of China, the Beijing Museum of Natural History and the Paleozoological Museum of China.
Located at the outskirts of urban Beijing, but within its municipality are the Thirteen Tombs of the Ming Dynasty, the lavish and elaborate burial sites of thirteen Ming emperors, which have been designated as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Three styles of architecture are predominant in urban Beijing. First, there is the traditional architecture of imperial China, perhaps best exemplified by the massive Tian'anmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace), which remains the People's Republic of China's trademark edifice, the Forbidden City, the Imperial Ancestral Temple and the Temple of Heaven.
The religious heritage of Beijing is rich and diverse as Daoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam and Christianity all have significant historical presence in the city.
The earliest traces of human habitation in the Beijing municipality were found in the caves of Dragon Bone Hill near the village of Zhoukoudian in Fangshan District, where Peking Man lived. Homo erectus fossils from the caves date to 230,000 to 250,000 years ago. Paleolithic Homo sapiens also lived there more recently, about 27,000 years ago. Archaeologists have found neolithic settlements throughout the municipality, including in Wangfujing, located in downtown Beijing.
The first walled city in Beijing was Ji, a city-state from the 11th to 7th century BC. Within modern Beijing, Ji was located south of the present Beijing West Railway Station. This settlement was later conquered by the state of Yan and made its capital under the name Yanjing.
After the First Emperor unified China, Beijing became a prefectural capital for the region. During the Three Kingdoms period, it was held by Gongsun Zan and Yuan Shao before falling to Cao Cao's Wei Kingdom. The AD 3rd-century Western Jin demoted the town, placing the prefectural seat in neighboring Zhuozhou.
During the Sixteen Kingdoms period when northern China was conquered and divided by the Wu Hu, Beijing, as Jicheng was briefly the capital of the Xianbei Former Yan Kingdom.
The Liao fell to the Jurchen Jin dynasty in 1122, which gave the city to the Song Dynasty and then retook it in 1125 during its conquest of northern China. In 1153, the Jurchen Jin made Beijing their "Central Capital", called Zhongdu. The city was besieged by Genghis Khan's invading Mongolian army in 1213 and razed to the ground two years later.Two generations later, Kublai Khan ordered the construction of Dadu (or Daidu to the Mongols, commonly known as Khanbaliq), a new capital for his Yuan dynasty to be located adjacent to the Jurchen Jin ruins. The construction took from 1264 to 1293, but greatly enhanced the status of a city on the northern fringe of China proper. The city was centered on the Drum Tower slightly to the north of modern Beijing and stretched from the present-day Chang'an Avenue to the Line 10 subway. Remnants of the Yuan rammed earth wall still stand and are known as the Tucheng.
In 1368, soon after declaring the new Hongwu era of the Ming dynasty, the rebel leader Zhu Yuanzhang sent an army to Khanbaliq and conquered it.Since the Yuan continued to occupy Shangdu and Mongolia, however, a new town was established to supply the military garrisons in the area. This was called Beiping and under the Hongwu Emperor's feudal policies it was given to Zhu Di, one of his sons, who was created "Prince of Yan".
The early death of Zhu Yuanzhang's heir led to a succession struggle on his death, one that ended with the victory of Zhu Di and the declaration of the new Yongle era. Since his harsh treatment of the Ming capital Yingtian (Nanjing) alienated many there, he established his fief as a new co-capital. The city of Beiping became Shuntian– now Beijing in 1403. The construction of the new imperial residence, the Forbidden City, took from 1406 to 1420, this period was also responsible for several other of the modern city's major attractions, such as the Temple of Heaven and Tian'anmen. On 28 October 1420, Beijing is officially designated the capital of the Ming Dynasty on the same year that the Forbidden City is completed.Beijing became the empire's primary capital (Jingshi) and Yingtian – or called Nanjing – became the co-capital.
By the 15th century, Beijing had essentially taken its current shape. The Ming city wall continued to serve until modern times, when it was pulled down and the 2nd Ring Road was built in its place. It is generally believed that Beijing was the largest city in the world for most of the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. The first known church was constructed by Catholics in 1652 at the former site of Matteo Ricci's chapel, the modern Nantang Cathedral was later built upon the same site.
The capture of Beijing by Li Zicheng's peasant army in 1644 ended the dynasty, but he and his Shun court abandoned the city without a fight when the Manchu army of Prince Dorgon arrived 40 days later.
During the Second Opium War, Anglo-French forces captured the city, looting and burning the Old Summer Palace in 1860. Under the Convention of Peking ending that war, Western powers for the first time secured the right to establish permanent diplomatic presences within the city. In 1900, the attempt by the "Boxers" to eradicate this presence, as well as Chinese Christian converts, led to Beijing's reoccupation by foreign powers. During the fighting, several important structures were destroyed, including the Hanlin Academy and the (new) Summer Palace.
The fomenters of the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 sought to replace Qing rule with a republic and leaders like Sun Yat-sen originally intended to return the capital to Nanjing. After the Qing general Yuan Shikai forced the abdication of the last Qing emperor and ensured the success of the revolution, the revolutionaries accepted him as president of the new Republic of China. Yuan maintained his capital at Beijing and quickly consolidated power, declaring himself emperor in 1915. His death less than a year later left China under the control of the warlords commanding the regional armies. Following the success of the Nationalists' Northern Expedition, the capital was formally removed to Nanjing in 1928. On 28 June the same year, Beijing's name was returned to Beiping.
In the final phases of the Chinese Civil War, the People's Liberation Army seized control of the city peacefully on 31 January 1949 in the course of the Pingjin Campaign. On 1 October that year, Mao Zedong announced the creation of the People's Republic of China from atop Tian'anmen. He restored the name of the city, as the new capital, to Beijing, a decision that had been reached by the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference just a few days earlier.
Beijing has a monsoon-influenced humid continental climate , characterized by higher humidity in the summers due to the East Asian monsoon, and colder, windier, drier winters that reflect the influence of the vast Siberian anticyclone.
Spring can bear witness to sandstorms blowing in from the Gobi Desert across the Mongolian steppe, accompanied by rapidly warming, but generally dry, conditions.
Autumn, like spring, is a season of transition and minimal precipitation.
The monthly daily average temperature in January is −3.7 °C (25.3 °F), while in July it is 26.2 °C (79.2 °F).
|Daily highs (°C)||2||5||12||20||26||30||31||30||26||19||10||4|
|Nightly lows (°C)||−8||−6||0||8||14||19||22||21||15||8||0||−6|
Humidity is low except during the summer
Beijing is situated at the northern tip of the roughly triangular North China Plain, which opens to the south and east of the city. Mountains to the north, northwest and west shield the city and northern China's agricultural heartland from the encroaching desert steppes. The northwestern part of the municipality, especially Yanqing County and Huairou District, are dominated by the Jundu Mountains, while the western part is framed by Xishan or the Western Hills. The Great Wall of China across the northern part of Beijing Municipality was built on the rugged topography to defend against nomadic incursions from the steppes. Mount Dongling, in the Western Hills and on the border with Hebei, is the municipality's highest point, with an altitude of 2,303 metres (7,556 ft).
Major rivers flowing through the municipality, including the Chaobai, Yongding, Juma, are all tributaries in the Hai River system, and flow in a southeasterly direction. The Miyun Reservoir, on the upper reaches of the Chaobai River, is the largest reservoir within the municipality. Beijing is also the northern terminus of the Grand Canal to Hangzhou, which was built over 1,400 years ago as a transportation route, and the South–North Water Transfer Project, constructed in the past decade to bring water from the Yangtze River basin.
The urban area of Beijing, on the plains in the south-central of the municipality with elevation of 40–60 m, occupies a relatively small but expanding portion of the municipality's area. The city spreads out in concentric ring roads. The Second Ring Road traces the old city walls and the Sixth Ring Road connects satellite towns in the surrounding suburbs. Tian'anmen and Tian'anmen Square are at the center of Beijing, directly to the south of the Forbidden City, the former residence of the emperors of China. To the west of Tian'anmen is Zhongnanhai, the residence of China's current leaders. Chang'an Avenue， which cuts between Tiananmen and the Square, forms the city's main east-west axis.
Beijing's economy ranks among the most developed and prosperous in China.
Due to the concentration of state owned enterprises in the national capital, Beijing in 2013 had more Fortune Global 500 Company headquarters than any other city in the world.Beijing ranks 9th in the world in the International Financial Centres Development Index published by the Xinhua News Agency, Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Dow Jones & Company, and 29th in the world in the Global Financial Centres Index published by Z/Yen and the Qatar Financial Centre Authority.The city also ranked No. 4 in the number of billionaire residents after Moscow, New York and Hong Kong. In 2012, PricewaterhouseCoopers rated Beijing's overall economic influence as No. 1 in China.
The city has a post-industrial economy that is dominated by the tertiary sector (services), which generated 76.9% of output, followed by the secondary sector (manufacturing, construction) at 22.2% and the primary sector (agriculture, mining) at 0.8%.
The services sector is broadly diversified with financial services, wholesale and retail, information technology, commercial real estate, scientific research, and residential real estate each contributing at least 6% to the city's economy in 2013.
The single largest sub-sector remains industry, whose share of overall output has shrunk to 18.1% in 2013. The mix of industrial output has changed significantly since 2010 when the city announced that 140 highly-polluting, energy and water resource intensive enterprises would be relocated from the city in five years. The relocation of Capital Steel to neighboring Hebei province had begun in 2005. In 2013, output of automobiles, aerospace products, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, and food processing all increased.
Beijing has a total of 14 districts and 2 counties. In 2010, Xuanwu District was merged into Xicheng, and Chongwen District was merged into Dongcheng. Wikivoyage continues to use the old districts.
Central districts and inner suburbs
The two central districts are located within or just beyond Ring Road Two. This is the location of the old walled city of Beijing and is where you will find most of the sights and also a good deal of sleeping, eating and drinking and entertainment options. The districts are:
covering the western half of the central city area to just beyond ring two in the west and up to ring three to the north. Includes Beihai Park, the Houhai area, Beijing Zoo and National Concert Hall. The southern third of Xicheng is the former Xuanwu District (宣武区;Xuānwǔqū).
|Dongcheng District (东城区; Dōngchéngqū)
covering the eastern half of the central city area approximately up to Third Ring Road to the north and Second Ring Road to the east and south. This is the most important tourist district of Beijing, including Forbidden City and Tian'anmen Square. Chongwen (崇文区; Chóngwénqū) is a former district covering the southern third of Dongcheng, including the Temple of Heaven. Other important areas are Wangfujing (Walking Street), Gulou (the Drum Tower and Nanlougouxiang), Yonghegong (Yonghe Lama Temple),Dongzhimen and Tiananmen.
The next four districts are also fairly close to the centre. They are often referred to as the inner suburbs. This is were you will find parts of the Western Hills, universities, Olympic venues, business and embassy areas, entertainment and bars as well as art districts. The districts are:
|Shijingshan District (石景山区; Shíjǐngshānqū)
covering the area just west of the central city area. Includes parts of the Western Hills
|Haidian District (海淀区; Hǎidiànqū)
covering the northwest of the main urban area. About half of Haidian district is made up of the Zhongguancun high technology industry and business cluster and Beijing's major concentration of universities. Includes the Summer Palace
|Chaoyang District (朝阳区; Cháoyángqū)
covers a large area east of the central city area stretching from Second Ring Road until slightly beyond Fifth Ring Road to the east. Includes the CBD,Sanlitun (the Village and Workers' Stadium), Olympic Green (Birds Nest, Water Cube and other Olympic venues), 798 Art Zone, Chaoyang Park, Ritan Park and various embassy areas
|Fengtai District (丰台区; Fēngtáiqū)
covering the area south end west of Beijing. Includes Beijing West Railway Station
Rural Beijing and outer suburbs
|Northern suburbs(Changping, Shunyi)|
|Western and southern suburbs(Mentougou, Fangshan, Daxing)|
|Rural Beijing(Yanqing, Huairou, Miyun, Pinggu)
The Great Wall passes through this northern mountainous area
Free WiFi can be found in Costa Coffee, Charlie Brown Café, Starbucks (after a pin has been sent to your mobile phone), McDonald's (30 minute time limit after registration), and many other small independent cafés. These cafés can look like restaurants from the outside, but most any place that is called a café will have WiFi. WiFi is also common in hostels and hotels. Most of those wifi connections are weak and unstable. If Internet is important for you, choose an AirBnb home with good wifi.
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