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Your destination : China / Beijing


Beijing is the capital of the most populous country in the world, the People's Republic of China. It was also the seat of the Ming and Qing dynasty emperors until the formation of a republic in 1911. Beijing is the political, educational and cultural centre of the country and as such it is rich in historical sites and important government and cultural institutions. The city is well known for its flatness and regular construction. There are only three hills to be found in the city limits (in Jingshan Park to the north of the famous Forbidden City). Like the configuration of the Forbidden City, Beijing has concentric "ring roads", which are actually rectangular, that go around the metropolis. Beijing literally means Northern Capital, a role it has played many times in China's long history. Beijing's history dates back several thousands of years and it became notable in Chinese history after it was made the capital of the State of Yan, one of the major kingdoms of the Warring States Period in Chinese history 2,000 years ago; it was known as Yanjing. After the fall of Yan, during the later Han and Tang dynasties, the area was a major prefectures of northern China. In 938, Beijing was conquered by the Khitans and was established as the capital of the Liao Dynasty. The city was later taken over by the Mongols in 1215 and from 1264 Beijing served as the capital of a united China let by Kublai Khan's victorious Mongol forces who had set up a capital named the Great Capital to rule their new empire, from a northern location closer to the Mongol homelands. During this period, the walled city was enlarged and palaces and temples were built within the wall. After the fall of the Mongol Yuan dynasty in 1368, the capital was moved back to Nanjing, but in 1403, the 3rd Ming emperor Zhu Di moved it to Beijing again and also gave the city its present name. This was Beijing's golden era: the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and many other Beijing landmarks were built in this period. The capital developed into a huge city becomming the religious and cultural centre of Asia. In the 17th century, the Ming dynasty declined and was overthrowned by the Manchus who established the Qing dynasty in 1644. Despite the changing political climate, Beijing remained the capital into the Qing era, and the Manchus imperial family moved into the Imperial City in the heart of the city. During the Qing Dynasty, both the Summer Palace and Old Summer Palace were built, serving as summer retreat for the Qing emperors. During the 19th century, Western countries established foreign legations, which came to an end during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900.