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Beijing Travel Guide

Beijing Overview

Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China, it is not only the nation’s political center, but also a cultural, scientific and educational heart as well as a key transportation hub. Beijing has served as a capital of the country for more than 800 years. The city has many places of historic interest and scenic beauty.

Beijing is a city crowded with tourists from China and all over the world. Since 1989, many things have changed and Beijing has been growing into a huge metropolitan area with around 16 million people living in an ever expanding area. The old residential neighbourhoods, the Hutongs, are being almost entirely replaced by apartment buildings and shopping malls.

Beijing is one of the most important cities in China from a cultural and political standpoint. The Forbidden Palace, and Tiananmen square are good examples; but hidden between the high rise buildings and 10-lane motorways are some other magnificent examples of culture and religion, like the Temple of Heaven and the Temple of the Sleeping Buddha.

Close to the city are other significant historical attractions like the Ming Tombs and of course the biggest structure on earth ever built by humans: The Great Wall of China.

Beijing Facts
Beijing History
Best Time for Beijing Travel
Top Things to Do in Beijing

Basic Information

• Chinese Name: 北京
• Location: North of China
• Dialing code: (+86) 010
• Zip code: 100000
• Beijing Gov website: www.ebeijing.gov.cn
• Main attractions in Beijing: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Badaling/Mutianyu Great Wall, Ming Tombs, etc.

Administration Distribution

Beijing is divided into 14 administrative districts and 2 counties, including Dongcheng District, Xicheng District, Chaoyang District, Haidian District, Chaoyang District, Fengtai District, Shijingshan District, Tongzhou District, Shunyi District, Changping District, Daxing District, Mentougou District, Fangshan District, Pinggu District, Huairou District, Miyun County and Yangqing County. City center districts include, Dongcheng, Xicheng, Xuanwu, Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai and other districts. The Second Ring Road traces the old city walls and the Sixth Ring Road connects satellite towns in the surrounding suburbs. With the expansion of the city, Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai and Shijingshan Districts are also considered as the city area.

Two districts, Xicheng and Dongcheng District, Beijing are located within the Second Ring Road and are the traditional inner-city and the busiest places in the city. Xicheng means West City and Dongcheng means East City. Xicheng District is the center of the bustling area. Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Bell Tower, the Temple of Heaven and other famous attractions in the central axis of the city are located in the Dongcheng District. Xicheng District homes the heads of the party and the state authorities, as well as offices of financial, business and other economic events.

Haidian District is located northwest of downtown. This district is home to many historic attractions and beautiful royal garden scenery. There are more than one hundred private gardens in this district, including the famous Old Summer Palace, Summer Palace, Fragrant Hills Park-a Holy Land to enjoy red leaves in fall. It is also the scientific and cultural education center of the city. Famous universities like Peking University, Tsinghua University, Renmin University of China and other institutions of higher education are sited in this area.

Tourist resource is also quite rich in the two counties. Yanqing County is the northwest gate of the capital. The world-famous Badaling Great Wall is sited in this county. Huairou County is home to famous attractions like Hongluo Temple, Mutianyu Great Wall, etc.

The earliest remnants of human habitation in the Beijing municipality are found in the caves of Dragon Bone Hill near the village of Zhoukoudian in Fangshan District, where the Peking Man lived.

Beijing’s history dates back several thousand years but it first became notable in Chinese history after it was made the capital of the State of Yan under the name Yanjing. Yan was one of the major kingdoms of the Warring States Period, some 2,000 years ago. After the fall of Yan, during the later Han (206BC-220), Jin (265-420) dynasties and Tang dynasties (618-907), the Beijing-area was a major prefecture of northern China. Han, and

In 936, the Later Jin Dynasty (936-947) of northern China ceded a large part of its northern frontier, including modern Beijing, to the Khitan Liao Dynasty. In 938, the Liao Dynasty set up a secondary capital in what is now Beijing, and called it Nanjing (the “Southern Capital”). In preparation for the conquest of all of China, Yuan (Mongol) Dynasty founder Kublai Khan made this his capital as Dadu

After the fall of the Yuan Dynasty in 1368, the city was later rebuilt by the Ming Dynasty and Shuntian (順天) prefecture was established in the area around the city. In 1403, the third Ming Emperor Yongle moved the Ming capital south to Nanjing (Nanking) from the renamed Beiping (北平). During the Ming Dynasty, Beijing took its current shape.

For 40 days in 1644, Li Zicheng led a peasant uprising against the Ming regime. Following the end of Li’s control of the city, the Manchus captured Beijing. After the Manchus overthrew the Ming Dynasty and established the Qing Dynasty in its place, Beijing remained China’s capital throughout the Qing period. The Qing dynasty was overthrown in the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 but the capital of the newly founded Republic of China remained in Beijing as former Qing general Yuan Shikai took control of the new government from revolutionaries in the south. Yuan and successors from his Beiyang Army ruled the Republic from Beijing until 1928.

Spring and autumn is the best time to visit Beijing, especially in April, May, September and Octover.

♦ Spring (March to May): Spring has comfortable temperature. And it is flower season and is the perfect time for outdoor activities. But it is a little dry and windy in spring in Beijing, with sometimes sand storm in April.
♦ Autumn (September to October) is perfect time to travel to Beijing. Although autumn is quite short in the city, it has comfortable temperature with less rain and wind than other season. Travelers can appreciate red leaves yellow gingko leaves in Fragrant Hill and Diaoyutai, where is the perfect time for photographers.
♦ Winter (November to next February): winter in Beijing is very cold. If you are lucky enough, you can see the beautiful view covered with white snow. Skiing, snowball fight or other activities are available. Generally, winter is regarded as the tourist off season in Beijing. You can get discounted hotel rate and tour price while traveling during the time period, except for Spring Festival. Tour price during Spring Festival is high, but there are abundant temple fairs. It is the best time to experience festival atmosphere.

Walk the Great Wall: On Trip Advisor in 2018, the top #1 and #3 things to do in Beijing are visiting the Mutianyu and Badaling Great Wall sections.

Explore the Forbidden City: the second most popular attraction in Beijing. It is hard to get an idea of the great size of the imperial palace until you are in it.

Savor the Summer Palace — where one palace was forbidding, this one is inviting! Wander where the royals relaxed in the warmer months.

Discover the enchanting hutongs. Sightsee, shop, and dine in ancient residential and shopping streets.

Enjoy entertainment that’s some of the best in the East;acrobatics and martial arts performances, Beijing opera, etc.

Dine on duck, Peking style, and other tasty Beijing cuisine.