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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 3rd most populous in the world. The metropolis, located in northern China, is governed as a direct-controlled municipality under the national government with 16 urban, suburban, and rural districts. Beijing Municipality is surrounded by Hebei Province with the exception of neighboring Tianjin Municipality to the southeast; together the three divisions form the Jingjinjimetropolitan 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 politicalcultural 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,expresswayrailway, 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.  Beijing has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Forbidden CityTemple of HeavenSummer PalaceMing TombsZhoukoudianGreat 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.

Climate

Beijing has a rather dry, monsoon-influenced humid continental climate , characterized by hot, humid summers due to the East Asian monsoon, and generally cold, windy, dry 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, sees little rain, but is crisp and short.

Culture

Beijing or Peking opera  is a traditional form of Chinese theater well known throughout the nation. Commonly lauded as one of the highest achievements of Chinese culture, Beijing opera is performed through a combination of song, spoken dialogue, and codified action sequences involving gestures, movement, fighting and acrobatics. Beijing cuisine is the local style of cooking. Peking Roast Duck is perhaps the best known dish.

Places of interest

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 BeihaiShichahaiZhongnanhaiJingshan 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. 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.

 

Update Date:2016-05-03