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Beijing is the
capital of the People's Republic of China and is the nation's center of
government, economy, culture, and international activities. It has 18 districts
and counties, with an area of 16,800 square kilometers and a population
of 11 million. Beijing (meaning Northern Capital ) is a place of both ancient
history and dazzling modernity. The city itself is traversed by freeways
and hundreds of flyovers. High-rises adorn the length of this city making
it a major metropolis within China. Beijing, however, is a city of
bewildering juxtapositions. Despite the urban construction that makes it
modern, Beijing has a long history. Itâ€™s history started as
early as 500 000 years ago, when Peking Man lived there. It is an ancient
cultural city that served for more than 800 years as the capital of the Liao, Jin, Yuan, Ming, and Qing
dynasties. Beijing is now known for
its many special places of interest.
While the Forbidden City
and Tiananmen Square represent the heart of Beijing, Beijing is a sprawling
city without a defined central downtown. The Chaoyang District makes up
the northeast section of Beijing. The Sanlitun area features a few embassies,
many foreign businesses and a variety of bars as well as nightclubs.
It is regarded as the embodiment of nightlife in the city.
From the magnificent Forbidden
City, with its stunning wealth of treasures, visitors can begin their journey
through the streets and lanes of Beijing. Moving outside the center, one
moves away from the hustle of daily life, and into the tranquil
pace of ancient times and traditions. Palaces, parks, narrow alleyways and ancient sites
such as the YongheGong, reveal a different side of
Beijing. The Temple of Heaven's vast grounds are a pleasure to visit year-round, and
are enchanting during a snowstorm.
Visitors can find refuge
in the suburbs,in such places as the Summer Palaces and the Western
Hills, which have been favored retreats since imperial times.
While visiting Beijing,
take some time to hike outside of the city. Excursions may involve
a visit to the Ming Tombs or perhaps a simple picnic amid the historic ruins. The
Great Wall, a site not to be missed, encompasses many small villages. Visitors should also consider traveling into the countryside
and taking a glimpse of village life. Overall, Beijing is a city that is fascinating and is rich in cultural treasures. It provides visitors with a cosmopolitan view of urban
modernity, as well as imparting a deep respect for times past.