Updated：2008-05-04 11:30 | Source：China Travel Guide
Beijing, Jing for short, is the nation's political, economic, cultural and educational center as well as China's most important center for international trade and communications. Together with Xian, Luoyang, Kaifeng, Nanjing and Hangzhou, Beijing is one of the six ancient cities in China. It has been the heart and soul of politics and society throughout its long history and consequently there is an unparalleled wealth of discovery to delight and intrigue travelers as they explore Beijing's ancient past and enjoy its exciting modern development.
As the capital of the People's Republic of China, Beijing is located in northern China, close to Tianjin Municipality and partially surrounded by Hebei Province. The city covers an area of more than 16,410 square kilometers (6336 square miles) and has a population of 14.93 million people.
Beijing is a city with four distinct seasons. Its best is late spring and autumn. But autumn is taken as the golden tourist season of the year since there is sometimes in the spring of recent years, a yellow wind. We suggest tourists visit Beijing during the months of May, September, and October when people can enjoy bright sunshine and blue skies. An abundance of international class performances are presented in May. If you like winter, you will have other chances to appreciate another landscape of Beijing. After skiing in Beihai and viewing the snowy sights on West Hill, enjoying the steaming hotpot is the best choice, which is really the fun of tour in Beijing. Please keep warm and remember to bring your down garments and sweaters when you visit Beijing in the winter.
How can one city boast so many phenomenal places? Beijing's long and illustrious history started some 500,000 years ago. It is here that the ancestors of modern Homo sapiens, Peking men, lived in caves. Records show that Beijing has been an inhabited city for more than three thousand years and has endured invasions by warlords and foreign powers, devastating fires, the rise and fall of powerful imperial dynasties and has emerged each time as a strong and vibrant city. For more than 800 years, Beijing was a capital city - from the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368) to the Ming (1368 - 1644) and Qing (1644 - 1911) dynasties. Thirty-four emperors have lived and ruled the nation in Beijing and it has been an important trading city from its earliest days.
Although now Beijing is a modern and fashionable city complete with a full 21st Century vitality, you can experience authentic Beijing life and become acquainted with 'old Beijing' by exploring its many teahouses, temple fairs, Beijing's Hutong and Courtyard and enjoy the Peking Opera. Add any or all of these to your Beijing tour and you will leave with a feeling of special appreciation in your heart for this ancient city that has truly seen it all and tells its story with matchless grace, charm and vigor.
With the biggest central square in the world - Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City that is the largest and best-preserved imperial palace complex, a superbly preserved section of the Great Wall,as well as the largest sacrificial complex in the world - the Temple of Heaven, Beijing attracts both domestic and foreign visitors who all come to wonder at its century-old history and unique cultural relics.
Dwelling too much on the historical past of Beijing may give tourists the false impression that it is little more than an ancient city in style but this is definitely not so! Strolling around Beijing, you'll find it has much in common with any other great metropolis elsewhere in today's world. There are towering skyscrapers; busy shopping malls and an endless stream of traffic that makes the city much the same as others. The most famous and popular commercial circles and commercial pedestrian streets are predominantly located near the Yansha Shopping Mall, Tiananmen and Wangfujing Street, Guomao Shopping Mall, Qianmen Street and Xidan Street, etc. However, although you will find multinational chains with their own brands to offer, nowhere else on earth will you find such a variety of gourmet Chinese restaurants offering the very best of the eight different styles of Chinese cuisine as well as western style dishes. Modern hotels abound, each offering the highest standards of service and convenience.
After a day's Beijing tours, nighttime can hold other surprises for you. These can vary from traditional performances such as the Beijing Opera, acrobatics and martial arts to modern ones including concerts, ballroom dancing, pubs and clubs. Each and every one has its individual enchantment for the tourist. No description of our capital city is complete without mention of the friendly people who throng the streets. Everywhere you will encounter smiling faces and a warm welcome, especially from the children who love to say 'Hello!' All these things add up to truly make your visit a cultural experience of a lifetime.
Editor : Zhang