Beijing, the capital of the People's Republic of China, is the center of the nation's politics, culture and international exchanges and a modem metropolis full of vitality. The world's earliest record of Beijing came from the travel notes by Marco Polo, the young Italian traveler in the 13th century. His description of people's civilized and well to do life in Beijing and his admiration for the beauty of the beauty of the city has for hundreds of years attracted the reverie of numerous people about this ancient capital of civilization in the East.
Some 600,000 years ago, Peking Man, man's forefathers lived at Zhoukoudian, 48 kilometers southwest of Beijing. The history of Beijing as a city may be traced back to about 3000 years ago when a small town appeared on the present site of southwestern Beijing. It was named Ji and then changed to Yan. At the beginning of the 10th century, it was the second capital of the Liao Dynasty. From then on, the city had been the capital of the Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties until 1911. A long history has left numerous famous historical sites which possess great aesthetic and cultural valleys. The Great Wall. A huge project begun more than 2000 years ago, meanders through mountains and valleys for hundreds of kilometers in the region of Beijing. On the Shijing Mountains, there are more than 340 volumes of 15000 stone tablets carved with Buddhist scriptures. The Big Yongle Bell cast at one go with over 23000 characters on it Weighs 46.5 tons and shows exquisite casting technology of ancient China. The Forbidden City, the largest ancient architectural complex extant today, is splendid crystallization of ancient Chinese architectural art. Walking in the city, one may find many places where many historical events took place, every day, hundreds of thousands of people, domestic and foreign, come to Beijing to visit its grand palaces and graceful gardens and to enjoy its marvelous art.
Beijing is situated at 40 degrees north latitude and 116 degrees of longitudes. It is 43 meters above sea level and 183 kilometers from the sea. Beijing covers an area of 16,800 square kilometers, 38% of it is flat land and 62% mountains.
Beijing has a continental climate. Annual rainfall averages nearly 700 millimeters, most of it comes in July and August. Winter is dry and has little snow. The frost -free period is 185 days. the best time to visit Beijing is May, September and October, when people enjoy bright sunny day.
Beijing has a population of 10.855 million, about 5 million live in the city proper and the rest on the outskirts. It is divided into 12 districts and 6 counties.
Through more than 40 years of construction, Beijing has changed from a consumer-city to a major city with various industries. Beijing ranks second among the top 50 cities in China in terms of comprehensive power, and is the first among the 40 best cities in China in terms of investment enviroment.
With China's reform and opening up, Beijing is improving urban construction on an unprecedented scale. Its speed of development is astonishing and it brings about changes day by day. Around this graceful ancient capital, a large number of key national projects, massive infrastructure buildings and modem residential houses have sprung up. Wasteland and low, dilapidated houses are gradually disappearing, replaced by newly-built residential quarters of different styles and surrounded by greenbelts. Wide and smooth highways, magnificent overpasses and expressways link Beijing with its neighboring provinces and cities. And eye-catching green trees and gardens have made Beijing resemble a huge scroll of painting pleasing to both the eye and the mind.
There are nearly 100 institutions of higher learning such as the famous Beijing University, Qinghua University, over 1000 middle schools and 4500 primary schools in Beijing, with total enrollment of over 2 million. Much attention is being paid to special schools with total about 600 now. more than 500 scientific research Institutions, over 300 publishing houses, as well as well as hundreds of newspapers and periodicals. In medical and health care, the city has more than 500 hospitals, about 65600 sick beds, with around 121000 medical workers.
Tian'anmen Square, located in the city center, is a symbol of both Beijing and China. The solemn flag-raising ceremony has become a sacred daily celebration. Standing in the world's largest city square and looking far east and west up and down the Chang'an Avenue, one can see a centuries-old architectural complex standing side by side with newly-built modern-style buildings, torrent of bicycles flooding by and awareness that Beijing is a mix of modem and ancient.
Welcome to Beijing!