“Beijing City Master Plan (2004-2020)” defines the city of Beijing as the capital of the People’s Republic of China, the national political and cultural center, world-famous ancient capital and modern international city. The goal of Beijing is to develop the national capital into a “livable city.”
Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China, has a construction history of over 3000 years and a history of being the capital for more than 850 years. Beijing is also one of most famous historical and cultural cities, and ancient capitals in the world. Beijing used to be the imperial city during the Liao, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. The People’s Republic of China was founded on October 1, 1949. Since then, Beijing has become the capital of New China.
Beijing has a large number of cultural relics, some of which are listed as world cultural heritage by the United Nations; including, Forbidden City, the Great Wall, ape-man site at Zhoukoudian, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, and Ming Tombs. By the end of 2011, the whole city had 162 museums, in which the collection of cultural relics added up to 4.3 million pieces, and the number of visitors reached 35 million.
Beijing is a mix of ancient and modern. The garden sites, ancient temples and imperial mausoleums inject a profound historical connotation into Beijing. Numerous talented individuals, cultural relics, and former residences solidify the essence of Chinese art and culture. While steep cliffs, winding rivers, beautiful springs, and plunging waterfalls put on a layer of mysterious veil for the suburb. The busy pedestrian streets and star-studded commercial areas add new vitality of the era to this old city.
Today’s Beijing has further developed into a modern international metropolis. Financial Street has long been the veritable financial management center of China; Beijing Central Business District has specially become the symbol of Beijing’s openness to the outside world and economic strength. In addition, China National Grand Theater, Beijing Capital International Airport Terminal 3, China Central Television headquarters, “Bird’s Nest” and “Water Cube” have become the modern symbols of new Beijing.
The earliest name of Beijing referred in literature is Ji (a state enfeoffed by West Zhou Dynasty in 11th century BC), with a history dating back over 3,000 years. It had always been the capital of Yan during spring and autumn period and warring-states period, and later once became the alternate capital or important city of Liao and Jin dynasty. The new capital “Yuan Dadu” was built in the early Yuan dynasty, and since then, it replaced the former ancient capitals; Chang’an, Luoyang and Bianliang, and became China’s political center, which continued to the Ming and Qing dynasties. Beijing has a capital history of more than 850 years; Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties all established their capital here.
Hutong and quadrangle courtyard are not only places to live, but also a kind of culture form, which is close but yet compatible. The whole family lives together in it, modestly and courteously, showing priority in rank, and also immerse in happiness. Although this kind of traditional lifestyle is on the decline, its cultural essence has deeply been implanted into the blood of Beijingers, and will never go away. The cultural life in Beijing is rich and colorful. A variety of Quyiforms are unusually brilliant as well as storytelling, crosstalk, bass drum and acrobatics, each doing its magic. Peking opera is the most famous one among them. It is known as “the quintessence of Chinese culture” with a history of over two hundred years. Gorgeous costumes, beautiful singing, and ever-changing facial makeup make it very impressive.
Beijing is also an ideal place for many young people, so today there is a saying, “drifters in Beijing.” The people pursuing their dreams are everywhere, in Sanlitun, at 798 Art District, around the major colleges and universities, in the subway stations, and by the road. Perhaps this is a unique scene of New Beijing.
Beijing is located at 39º56´N, 116º 20´E, in the northern part of the North China Plain, covering an area of 16,410.54 square kilometers. Beijing’s terrain is high in northwest, low and even in southeast. The west, north and northeast of it are endless mountains; the southeast is a gently sloping plain to the Bohai Sea. Adjacent to Tianjin in the east, the rest of the municipality borders Hebei Province. The five major river systems of Beijing formed by natural river runs from west to east: Jumahe river system, Yongdinghe river system, North Canal river system, Chaobaihe river system, Jiyunhe river system. Beijing has no natural lakes. The whole city has 82 reservoirs, among which the large ones include Miyun Reservoir, Guanting Reservoir, Huairou Reservoir, and Haizi reservoir.
Beijing is in the warm temperate zone, semi-humid climate region, with four distinctive seasons, short spring and autumns, long summer and winters. The average temperature of 2011 was 13.4 ℃, while in July, the hottest time, was a scorching 27.5 ℃. The annual rainfall in 2011 was 720.6 mm, most of which was concentrated in the summer.
Beijing has a typical semi-humid continental monsoon climate in North Temperate Zone, characterized by hot and rainy summers, cold and dry winters, short springs and autumns. Annual frost-free period is 180-200 days; it is shorter in the western mountainous area. Seasonal distribution of precipitation is very uneven with 80% of the annual precipitation concentrated in the summer months of June, July and August; the latter two months have heavy rain.
Holiday arrangements (the same as China’s legal holidays)
New Year’s Day January1st - January 3
Spring Festival New Year’s Eve to the sixth day of the lunar January
Tomb-sweeping Day April 2 - April 4
Labor Day April 30 - May 2
Dragon Boat Festival June 9 - June 11
Mid-autumn Festival September 15 - September 17
National Day October 1st - October 7