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CITY OF BEIJING

ABOUT BEIJING

Beijing, sometimes romanized as Peking, is the


capital of the People's Republic of China and one of
the most populous cities in the world. The population
as of 2013 was 21,150,000. The city proper is the 3rd
largest in the world.

At the historical heart of Beijing lies the Forbidden


City, the enormous palace compound that was the
home of the emperors of the Ming and Qing
dynasties. Surrounding the Forbidden City are several
former imperial gardens, parks and scenic areas,
notably Beihai, Shichahai, Zhongnanhai, Jingshan and
Zhongshan. These places, particularly Beihai Park,
are described as masterpieces of Chinese gardening
art, and are popular tourist destinations with
tremendous historical importance; in the modern era,
Zhongnanhai has also been the political heart of
various Chinese governments and regimes and is
now the headquarters of the Communist Party of
China and the State Council. From Tiananmen
Square, right across from the Forbidden City, there
are several notable sites, such as the Tiananmen,
Qianmen, the Great Hall of the People, the National
Museum of China, the Monument to the People's
Heroes, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. The
Summer Palace and the Old Summer Palace both lie
at the western part of the city.

CULTURE

People native to urban Beijing speak the Beijing


dialect, which belongs to the Mandarin subdivision
of spoken Chinese. This speech is the basis for
putonghua, the standard spoken language used in
mainland China and Taiwan, and one of the four
official languages of Singapore.

Beijing or Peking opera ( , Jngj) is a


traditional form of Chinese theater well known
throughout the nation. Beijing opera is performed
through a combination of song, spoken dialogue,
and codified action sequences involving gestures,
movement, fighting and acrobatics. Much of Beijing
opera is carried out in an archaic stage dialect
quite different from Modern Standard Chinese and
from the modern Beijing dialect.

Beijing cuisine is the local style of cooking. Peking


Roast Duck is perhaps the best known dish. Fuling
Jiabing, a traditional Beijing snack food, is a
pancake (bing) resembling a flat disk with a filling
made from fu ling, a fungus used in traditional
Chinese medicine. Teahouses are common in
Beijing

PLACES OF INTEREST

Forbidden City

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. It served as the home of emperors
and their households as well as the ceremonial
and political center of Chinese government for
almost 500 years.

Built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of


980 buildings and covers 72 ha (180 acres).
The palace complex exemplifies traditional
Chinese palatial architecture, and has
influenced cultural and architectural
developments in East Asia and elsewhere.

PLACES OF INTEREST

Great Wall of China

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 to
protect the Chinese states and empires against the
raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of
the Eurasian Steppe. Several walls were being built as
early as the 7th century bc; these, later joined
together and made bigger and stronger, are now
collectively referred to as the Great Wall. Since then,
the Great Wall has on and off been rebuilt,
maintained, and enhanced; the majority of the
existing wall is from the Ming Dynasty.

Other purposes of the Great Wall have included


border controls, allowing the imposition of duties on
goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or
encouragement of trade and the control of
immigration and emigration. Furthermore, the
defensive characteristics of the Great Wall were
enhanced by the construction of watch towers, troop
barracks, garrison stations, signaling capabilities
through the means of smoke or fire, and the fact that
the path of the Great Wall also served as a
transportation corridor.

PLACES OF INTEREST

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square is a large city square in the


centre of Beijing, China, named after the
Tiananmen gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace)
located to its North, separating it from the
Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square is the fourth
largest city square in the world (440,000 m2
880500 m or 109 acres 960550 yd). It has
great cultural significance as it was the site of
several important events in Chinese history.

Outside China, the square is best known in


recent memory as the focal point of the
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, a prodemocracy movement which ended on 4 June
1989 with the declaration of martial law in
Beijing by the government and the shooting of
several hundred or possibly thousands of
civilians by soldiers.

PLACES OF INTEREST

Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven, literally the Altar of Heaven


(simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ;
pinyin: Tintn), is a complex of religious buildings
situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing.
The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming
and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to
Heaven for good harvest. It has been regarded as a
Daoist temple,[1] although Chinese heaven worship,
especially by the reigning monarch of the day,
predates Daoism

The temple complex was constructed from 1406 to


1420 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor, who was
also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden
City in Beijing. The complex was extended and
renamed Temple of Heaven during the reign of the
Jiajing Emperor in the 16th century. The Jiajing
Emperor also built three other prominent temples in
Beijing, the Temple of Sun ( ) in the east, the
Temple of Earth ( ) in the north, and the Temple of
Moon ( ) in the west . The Temple of Heaven was
renovated in the 18th century under the Qianlong
Emperor. Due to the deterioration of state budget, this
became the last large-scale renovation of the temple
complex in the imperial time.

PLACES OF INTEREST

Beijing Hutong

In Beijing, hutongs are alleys formed by lines of siheyuan,


traditional courtyard residences.[1] Many neighbourhoods
were formed by joining one siheyuan to another to form a
hutong, and then joining one hutong to another. The word
hutong is also used to refer to such neighbourhoods.

During Chinas dynastic period, emperors planned the city


of Beijing and arranged the residential areas according to
the social classes of the Zhou Dynasty (1027 - 256 BC). The
term "hutong" appeared first during the Yuan Dynasty, and
is a term of Mongolian origin meaning "town".

In the Ming Dynasty (early 15th century) the center was the
Forbidden City, surrounded in concentric circles by the Inner
City and Outer City. Citizens of higher social status were
permitted to live closer to the center of the circles[citation
needed]. Aristocrats lived to the east and west of the
imperial palace. The large siheyuan of these high-ranking
officials and wealthy merchants often featured beautifully
carved and painted roof beams and pillars and carefully
landscaped gardens. The hutongs they formed were orderly,
lined by spacious homes and walled gardens. Farther from
the palace, and to its north and south, were the
commoners, merchants, artisans, and laborers. Their
siheyuan were far smaller in scale and simpler in design and
decoration, and the hutongs were narrower