Municipalities of China: Beijing - Capital of China
General informationArea (City) 1,368 square km Area (Metro) 16,800 square kmPopulation: 17.55 million (2009)Nationalities: Han (96%), Manchu (2%), Hui (2%), and Mongolian (0.3%)Average temperature: In January around 10C, and 300C in July. The highest recorded was 420C and the lowest was -270C.Administrative divisions: 10 districts and 8 countiesNeighboring areas: Hebei Province and Tianjin Municipality.Tourist attractions:Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Great Wall, Summer PalaceBeijing (pronounced /beɪˈdʒɪŋ/, Chinese: 北京; pinyin: Běijīng), also known as Peking (pronounced /piːˈkɪŋ/ or /peɪˈkɪŋ/), is a metropolis in northern China, and the capital of the People's Republic of China. Governed as a municipality under direct administration of the central government, Beijing borders Hebei Province to the north, west, south, and for a small section in the east, and Tianjin Municipality to the southeast. Beijing is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China.Beijing is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and motorways passing through the city. It is also the destination of many international flights arriving in China. Beijing is recognized as the political, educational, and cultural center of the People's Republic of China, while Shanghai and Hong Kong predominate in economic fields.The city hosted the 2008 Olympic Games.
Geography of BeijingBeijing 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 of the municipality is framed by the Xishan Mountains. The Great Wall of China, which stretches across the northern part of Beijing Municipality, made use of this rugged topography to defend against nomadic incursions from the steppes. Mount Dongling in the Xishan ranges and on the border with Hebei is the municipality's highest point, with an altitude of 2303 m. Major rivers flowing through the municipality include the Yongding River and the Chaobai River, part of the Hai River system, and flow in a southerly direction. Beijing is also the northern terminus of the Grand Canal of China which was built across the North China Plain to Hangzhou. Miyun Reservoir, built on the upper reaches of the Chaobai River, is Beijing's largest reservoir, and crucial to its water supply.
Climate of BeijingThe city's climate is a rather dry, monsoon-influenced humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dwa), characterised 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 Mongolian steppe, accompanied by rapidly warming, but generally dry, conditions. Autumn, like spring, sees little rain but is crisp and short. January averages −3.7 °C (25.3 °F), while July averages 26.2 °C (79.2 °F). Annual precipitation is around 570 mm (22.4 in), and the majority of it falls in the summer months. Extremes have ranged from −27.4 to 42.6 °C .
Economy of BeijingBeijing is amongst the most developed cities in China with tertiary industry accounting for 73.2% of its GDP; it was the first post industrial city in mainland China. Finance is one of the most important industries of Beijing. By the end of 2007, there were 751 financial organizations in Beijing that generated 128.6 billion RMB revenue accounting for 11.6% of the total financial industry revenue of the entire country. It is also accounts for 13.8% of Beijing's GDP, the highest percentage of that of all Chinese cities. Beijing is home to 26 Fortune Global 500 companies, the third most in the world behind Tokyo and Paris. In 2009, Beijing's nominal GDP was 1.19 trillion RMB (US$174 billion), a year-on-year growth of 10.1% from the previous year. Its GDP per capita was 68,788 RMB (US$10,070), an increase of 6.2% from the previous year. In 2009, Beijing's primary, secondary, and tertiary industries were worth 11.83 billion RMB, 274.31 billion RMB, and 900.45 billion RMB. Urban disposable income per capita was 26,738 yuan, a real increase of 8.1% from the previous year. Per capita pure income of rural residents was 11,986 RMB, a real increase of 11.5%. Per capita disposable income of the 20% low-income residents increased 16.7%, 11.4 percentage points higher than the growth rate of the 20% high-income residents. The Engel's coefficient of Beijing's urban residents reached 31.8% in 2005 and that of the rural residents was 32.8%, declining 4.5 percentage points and 3.9 percentage points, respectively, compared with 2000.
History of BeijingBeijing is a great city noted for the rich heritage of oriental history and culture. As early as three thousand years ago, a primitive tribal community started to take shape here. A tone had already come into being two thousand years ago. From 900 A.D. onward, Beijing served first as the secondary capital of the Liao Dynasty (916-1125) and then capitals of the Jin (1115-1234), Yuan (1271-1368), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1919)Dynasties successively. Beijing was made the capital of the People's Republic of China which was founded on October 1, 1949.
Administrative divisionsBeijing Municipality comprises 16 administrative sub-divisions, county-level units governed directly by the municipality (second-level divisions). Of these, 14 are districts and 2 are counties. On July 1, 2010 Chongwen District (崇文区) and Xuanwu District (宣武区) were merged into Dongcheng District and Xicheng District respectively. The urban and suburban areas of the city are divided into six (6) districts: * Dongcheng District 东城区 * Xicheng District 西城区 * Chaoyang District 朝阳区 * Haidian District 海淀区 * Fengtai District 丰台区 * Shijingshan District 石景山区The following six districts encompass the more distant suburbs and satellite towns, constituting part of the metropolitan area: * Mentougou District 门头沟区 * Fangshan District 房山区 * Tongzhou District 通州区 * Shunyi District 顺义区 * Changping District 昌平区 * Daxing District 大兴区 * Huairou District 怀柔区 * Pinggu District 平谷区The other two districts and the two counties located further out govern semirural and rural areas: * Miyun County 密云县 * Yanqing County 延庆县
Places of Interests and Tourist Attractions of Beijing
Tiananmen Square and the Tiananmen GateTiananmen Square, with an area of 98 acres and a capacity of up to one million people, is the world's largest public square. It was originally designed in 1651 and cemented and quadrupled in size in 1958. In the center is Mao's Memorial Hall and the Monument to the People's Heroes, where on national days China's leaders stand to review the parades and festivities. It is also surrounded by other famous places: the Museum of the Chinese Revolution and Chinese History to the east; the impressive Qianmen Gate to the south; the Great Hall of the People, seat to China's congress, to the west; and the Tiananmen Gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace) to the north, from whose balcony the imperial edicts were read in ancient times.
The Tiananmen GateTheTiananmen Gate is represented as the symbol of the revolutionary new China, and it leads to the Forbidden City. It was built as early as 1417 and is also mentioned as the main gate of the former Imperial Palace, Chengtian Men. The gate is surrounded by a ring-moat, the Golden Water Spring, which was arranged to guard the Imperial Palace.The 33.7-meter-high Tiananmen Gate was used by the emperor for grand ceremonies, for the lauching of military expeditions under his personal command, and for his royal wedding. Imperial edicts were issued from the gatertower. In front of the entire complex stands two ornamental columns with carved decorations on the white marble. They are symbols of heavenly peace and the emperor's authority.
The Forbidden CityMagnificent and awe-inspiring, that is how every visitor would describe the Forbidden City, which served as the seat of imperial power during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911). Every year, millions of Chinese and foreigners throng to the huge palace grounds to see the treasures and precious objects as well as the power, splendor, abundance, and extravagance of former emperors.The Forbidden City, the home and audience hall of 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties, was originally built from 1406 to 1420. It contains 9999 buildings, a symbolic number that wishes a long life and rule to the emperor, and covers over 720,000 square meters of land. It is surrounded by a 50-meter-wide moat and a 10-meter-high wall (having a total length of 3,400 meters) with watch towers at each of the corners. Inside the stately buildings of red and golden yellow, the imperial color, are displayed historic relics from all over China. These include jadewares, bronze containers, gold and silver utensils used by imperial families, clocks, paintings, and carvings. Rich in color and elaborate in form, they fully reflect the splendor and luxury in which the emporers had lived. The Forbidden City was as it is called--a special area that was off limits to ordinary people, an interior city that no one could enter except for the emperor. Today, however, its many palaces are open to the public.
The Summer PalaceYi He Yuan, or the Summer Palace, lies in a northwestern suburb of Beijing. This is one of the largest and best preserved imperial Chinese gardens. With a concentration of the best ancient buildings as well as styles of gardening, it is an outstanding example of classical Chinese gardening and landscaping. Man-made Kunming Lake, Longevity Hill, and man-made hills as well as halls, pavilions and temples blend harmoniously together in the Summer Palace inspite of their individual styles.
The Temple of HeavenThe Temple of Heaven is located in the southeastern part of Beijing, about 2 kilometers southeast of the Forbidden City. This compound is one of the largest parks in the city, covering 1.44 million square meters, two times the size of the Forbidden City. It is an outstanding representative of Chinese traditional architecture for its clever design and harmonious colors. Emperors of the Ming and Qin dynasties came here to pray for a good harvest in spring and for rain in summer as well as to offer sacrifices to the heavens in winter.
The Yuanming GardensThe Yuanming Garden lies on the northwestern outskirts of the city, north of Beijing University and only 500 meters from the Summer Palace. It was built during the Qing Dynasty over a period of 150 years and included three gardens: Yuanming Yuan (the Garden of Perfect Splendor), Changchun Yuan (the Garden of Eternal Spring), and Qichun Yuan (the Garden of Gorgeous Spring). They were laid out seperately, yet in a way that they complement each other harmoniously. The peaks of the Western hills formed the background, while the hills and lakes were man-made. Countless springs flowed, feeding small canals as they wound their way through lovely valleys. White marble bridges spanned the water here and there. Palaces, halls, pavillions, and temples stood amidst emerald green woods and were linked by covered walkways. It was referred to as the "Garden of Gardens," since it displayed a combination of different styles, both Chinese and Western.The three-in-one garden was considered a masterpiece of Chinese gardening. In 1860, however, it was looted and torched by the allied forces of Great Britain and France. After the most valuable treasures had been stolen, the whole complex was turned over to plundering soldiers and finally went up in flames. A once wondrous garden was reduced to ruins. Visitors today can see a few blocks of stone and broken marble that once belonged to the European palaces constructed under Emperor Qianlong between 1740 and 1747.
The Ming TombsThe Thirteen Ming Tombs are located in hills 50 kilometers northwest of Beijing. Construction of the tombs started in 1409 and ended with the fall of the Ming Dynasty in 1644. In over 200 years, the tombs were built over an area of 40 square kilometers that is surrounded by walls. Each tomb is located at the foot of a separate hill and and is linked with the other tombs by a road called the Sacred Way.Thirteen of the sixteen Ming emperors and their wives and second wives are buried here. Two of them are now open to visitors.
Tai Ye Chi and Beihai ParkOn the west side of the Forbidden City is a wide expanse of water called Tai Ye Chi. Tai Ye Chi is divided into three parts: Zhonghai Lake in the middle, Nanhai Lake in the south, and world-renown Beihai Lake in the north, which was turned into a royal garden. The designs of the three lakes can be traced back to an ancient legend, which says that there were three celestial mountains in the Beihai Sea inhabited by immortals. Rulers took to constructing these "celestial mountains" on the water space just outside the royal palace, turing legend into reality.Inside the Beihai ParkBeihai Park is the world's earliest royal garden, for its history goes back more than 800 years. In the 10th century, an imperial residence was built here. When Beijing became the capital of the Yuan Dynasty, the first Yuan emperor, Kublai Khan, had the park splendidly designed. The large, picturesque stones on the park grounds were brought here from the Imperial Garden of the Northern Song Capital, Kaifeng.
The Great WallBadaling (Chinese: 八达岭; Chinese: 八達嶺; Chinese: Bādálǐng) is the site of the most visited section of the Great Wall of China, approximately 50 miles (80 km) northwest of urban Beijing city in Yanqing County, which is within the Beijing municipality. The portion of the wall running through the site was built during the Ming Dynasty, along with a military outpost reflecting the location's strategic importance. The highest point of Badaling is Beibalou (traditional Chinese: 北八樓), approximately 0.63 miles (1,015 m) above sea level.The portion of the wall at Badaling has undergone heavy restoration, and in 1957 it was the first section of the wall to open to tourists. Now visited annually by millions, the immediate area has seen significant development, including hotels, restaurants, and a cable car. The recently completed Badaling Expressway connects Badaling with central Beijing. Line S2, Beijing Suburban Railway, served people who wanted to go to the Great Wall from Beijing North Railway Station. People can buy tickets at Beijing North Railway Station to Badaling Station. A bus also runs frequently from Deshengmen to Badaling.Other attractions in Beijing are: the Great Wall of China, the White Pagoda Temple, the Eight Great Sights of the Western Hills (Chang'an Temple, Lingguang Temple, Sanshang Nunnery, Dabei Temple, Dragon King Hall, Xiangjie Temple, Pearl Cave, and Zhenguo Temple) , Fragrant Hills Park, the Temple of the Sleeping Buddha, Cherry Vale, Juma River, Longqing Gorge, Reed Gully Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge), and Stone Flower Cave.
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