Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China. With a population of 21.5 million people, it is the nation's second-largest city after Shanghai. It was also the political, educational and cultural centre of the country and as such it is rich in historical sites and important government and cultural institutions. It is home to the headquarters of most of China's largest state-owned companies, and is a major hub for the national highway, expressway, railway, and high-speed rail networks. The Beijing Capital International Airport is the second busiest in the world by passenger traffic.
Few places on earth can match the extraordinary historical panorama on display in Beijing. There are six Unesco world heritage sites in this city alone. At its heart is the magnificent Forbidden City, a royal palace on a scale like no other. The enchanting Hutong are the ancient alleyways that teem with life today, as they did hundreds of years ago. There are much more to be discovered in Beijing.
Climate and weather
Beijing has a monsoon-influenced continental climate with hot, humid summers and a cold, dry winter which makes September and October the best time to visit Beijing in a year. Spring is the season for dust storms and is otherwise warm and dry. Summer can be oppressively hot. Smog is at its worst, however, in winter, which is cold and dry with infrequent, but beautiful, snow.
Beijing is well-known for the seriousness of traffic congestion so tourists are encouraged to make use of the subway. The Beijing Subway, which began operating in 1969, now has 17 lines, 227 stations, and 456 km of track and is the third longest subway system in the world and first in annual ridership with 3.21 billion rides delivered in 2013. Other than that, there are nearly 1,000 public bus and trolleybus lines in the city, including four bus rapid transit lines.
Local menus will have you salivating over succulent Peking duck, delicious dumplings and awesome noodles, but there’s food from every corner of China to be sampled too. From fiery Sìchuānese to Turkic–inspired Uighur cuisine, Běijīng's restaurants have got it covered.
Quanjude is the most famous restaurant for Peking Duck. For quality and authentic Peking Duck, only two Quanjude restaurants should be patronized: one in Qianmen and one in Hepingmen. Beijing is also known for its mutton hotpot which originally came from the Manchu people and emphasizes mutton over other meats. It is a cook-it-yourself affair in a steaming pot in the center of the table.
Some of the cheapest and most delicious meals can be had on the streets. Savory pancakes are one of the most popular street snacks, eaten from morning till night with most carts operating during the morning commute and then opening again at night for the after-club crowds and night-owls. Candied haw berries are dipped in molten sugar which is left to harden in the cold and sold on a stick which has long been the most favorite snack among the kids.
There are lots to see, to do and to know in Beijing while the most important palace may be the Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty. It is located in the center of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost 500 years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government. Unlike many other historical sites, the Forbidden City was relatively untouched during the Cultural Revolution.
The centre of the city and most important landmark is Tiananmen Square. This is the world's largest public square and a must see for all visitors from abroad and from elsewhere in China. First built during the Ming Dynasty in 1420, Tiananmen is often referred to as the front entrance to the Forbidden City. However, the Meridian Gate is the first entrance to the Forbidden City proper, while Tiananmen was the entrance to the Imperial City, within which the Forbidden City was located. Tiananmen is located to the north of Tiananmen Square, across the street from the plaza from Chang'an Avenue. It is also home to the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall and the Monument to the People's Martyrs and was also the site of the infamous massacre of student activists by the Peoples Liberation Army in 1989.
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China in part to protect the Chinese Empire or its prototypical states against intrusions by various nomadic groups or military incursions by various warlike peoples or forces.The Badaling section is the most famous, but also over-restored and crowded. Jinshanling, Huanghuacheng and Simatai are more distant but offer a better view of the wall away from the crowds.
The Old Summer Palace, known in Chinese as Yuan Ming Yuan, and originally called the Imperial Gardens, was a complex of palaces and gardens in Beijing. The Old Summer Palace was known for its extensive collection of garden and building architectures and other works of art.