King Wu was the first to declare Beijing the capital city in 1057 BC. Subsequently,
the city has gone by the names of Ji, Zhongdu, Dadu, and finally Beijing when the Ming Dynasty Emperor ChengZu chose the name
in 1421. Before 1949, Beijing was known as Peking by the Western world. After 1949, the city's name returned to Beijing, as
it is known today.
Situated in northeast China, Beijing adjoins the Inner Mongolian Highland
to the northwest and the Great Northern Plain to the south. Five rivers run through the city, connecting it to the eastern
Bohai Sea. Administratively, the Beijing municipality equals the status of a province , reporting directly to the central
As the capital of the People's Republic of China, Beijing is the nation's
political, economic, cultural and educational center as well as being the most important center in China for international
trade and communications. It has been the heart and soul of politics and society throughout its long history. By the time
of the Warring States Period (476 BC - 221 BC), it was serving as the capital of the Yan Kingdom. Because of its role in the
life and growth of China, there is an unequalled wealth available for travelers to discover as you explore Beijing's ancient
past and enjoy its exciting 21st Century world. In 2008 when Beijing hosts the Olympic Games, Beijing will show the world
something so special that everyone will be awestruck by Beijing's latest accomplishments combined with its ancient history.
The magnificent Forbidden City is the world's largest and best-preserved
imperial palace complex. Surrounded by a moat that is six meters deep and a ten-meter high wall are 9,999 rooms – just
one room short of the number that ancient Chinese believed represented divine perfection.
For a peaceful and interesting stroll, visit one of Beijing's many beautiful
parks, such as Beihai Park, which was probably built by the Great Khan centuries earlier than the Forbidden City. Another
park that is a definite "must see" is the Summer Palace, a famous classic imperial garden with breathtaking beauty. Boldly
and generously designed, the northern gardens skillfully blend into the exquisite delicacy of the southern gardens. The Summer
Palace holds a special place in the history of Chinese gardens.
Beijing has many beautiful temples that at one time served as the focus
for religious life. Temple of Heaven is the largest group of structures in the country dedicated to rituals that pay homage
to heaven. This temple was built specifically for the worship of heaven and prayers for good harvests during Ming and Qing
The largest city central square in the world, the solemn and respectful
Tian’anmen Square is not only the symbol of Beijing but also the symbol of China. This immense courtyard is the site
of many historic events. The square is surrounded by a variety of significant edifices: Chinese Revolution History Museum,
Mao Mausoleum, the Great Hall of the People, the elegant and beautiful Tian’anmen (Heavenly Peace Gate), and Qianmen
(Front Gate). The daily flag ceremony at the square, performed at sunrise and sunset each day, is most exceptional and well-worth
making time to view.