The political and cultural center of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing, which is also called simply as the Jing, which means the Capital, can also be used to refer to the country’s leadership.
The region around Beijing has historical roots dating as far back as 500,000 years. The city is one of the seven ancient capital cities of China and is located on the northwest edge of the North China Plain, adjoining Tianjin City to its east and Hebei Province to its north, west and south. Beijing has 16 districts and two counties under its jurisdiction, covering an area of 16,800 square kilometers. In the Warring States period (403 – 221 BC), the state of Yan established its capital here, as such, Beijing is also commonly called Yanjing to this day.
The modern People’s Republic of China as we know of today is founded in 1949. The victorious communist government shifted the capital from Nanjing to the present day Beijing, re-establishing the city’s status as the national capital, a role it has played for over 700 years. In the meantime, Beijing became the center for politics, culture, and international exchange. It is one of the cities, which has the most colleges and the most advanced educational level. It has the world-famous universities, such as Peking University and Tsinghua University. In this famed historical and cultural city, cultural heritage sites and scenic spots are to be found everywhere. Ancient palace groups, temples, parks, ancient pagodas with rock carvings, imperial gardens and tombs, former residences of historic personages throng the city side by side with modern buildings of museums and memorial halls.
In terms of cultural heritage sites, Beijing has 7,309 of them. Of these, The Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian are on the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In addition, Beijing has over 200 scenic spots open to visitors, including the Beihai Park, the Summer Palace, the Ming Tombs, the Temple of Heaven, the Tanzhe Temple, Fragrant Hills, the Ruins of the Yuan Ming Yuan, the Eight Great Sites, etc.
It is important to know when you are coming to Beijing as the city has distinctive four seasons which provide different experiences: short spring and autumn as well as longer winter and summer. The average annual temperature is 13 deg C (averaging 25 – 20 deg C in July, the hottest month, and 3.7 deg C in January, the coldest month). The average annual rainfall is 508 millimetres and the frost-free period is 180-200 days.