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 Overview
Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China. It is the nation's political center, as well as its economy, cultural, scientific, educational heart and a key transportation hub. Beijing has served as the capital of the country for more than 800 years, and she has not only the most but also the best universities and research institutes of China. Beijing is an open, liberal, convenient and safe international metropolis. 29th Olympic Games was held in Beijing in 2008 demonstrating her enchanting charm in front of the whole world.
Geography and Climate
Beijing is located on the western coast of China on the Pacific Ocean. Beijing stands at the northern tip of the North China Plain. Tian'anmen Square in the center of Beijing is situated at 39°56" North Latitude and 116°20" East Longitude. Beijing lies at approximately the same latitude as Philadelphia in U.S. and Madrid in Spain. Time used in Beijing and all over China is called Beijing Standard Time, and it is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT + 8) and 13 hours ahead of New York time. The city is 39% flat land and the other 61% is quite mountainous area. Beijing is surrounded by the Yanshan Mountains on the west, north and east while the small alluvial plain of the Yongding River lies to its southeast. The climate of Beijing is typical northern temperate continental monsoon climate with cold and dry winter. The summers are hot owing to warm and humid monsoon winds from the southeast bringing Beijing most of its annual precipitation. The duration of frost-free period is between 180 days and 200 days. Mean annual precipitation of Beijing is 470 to 660mm, and Beijing is one of the areas with most precipitation in North China. In Beijing, 80% rainfall is concentrated within June, July and August, and heavy rain is very frequent in July and August.
History and Place of Interest
Beijing is an ancient city with a long history. Back in 3000 years ago in Zhou dynasty, Beijing, which was called Ji at the moment, had been named capital of Yan. Thereafter, Liao, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasty all made Beijing their capital. Therefore, Beijing was famous for "Capital of a thousand years".
The long history leaves Beijing precious cultural treasure. Winding for several kilometers in Beijing area, the Great Wall is the only man-made structure that could be seen in the space. The Summer Palace is a classic composition of ancient royal gardens, and the Forbidden City is the largest royal palaces in the world. Tiantan is where the emperor used to fete their ancestors, and also the soul of Chinese ancient constructions. The four sites above has been confirmed world’s cultural heritage by UNESCO. However, the best representatives for Beijing are the vanishing Hutongs and Square Courtyards. Through hundreds of years, they have become symbol of Beijing's life. Tian'anmen Square being still brilliant today with cloverleaf junctions and skyscrapers everywhere, the old-timey scene and modern culture is combined to present a brand new visage of Beijing.
Beijing Opera
Beijing Opera or Peking Opera, which is regarded as the quintessence of Chinese Culture, is a kind of Chinese opera. It arose in the mid-19th century and was extremely popular in the Qing Dynasty. It is one of the cultural treasures of China. Beijing and Tianjin are respected as the base cities of Beijing opera in the north while Shanghai is the base in the south. Beijing opera’s two main melodies, Xipi and Erhuang, originated from Anhui and Hubei operas. Much dialogue is also carried out in an archaic dialect originating partially from those regions. It also absorbed music and arias from other operas and musical arts such as the historic Qinqiang as well as being very strongly influenced by Kunqu, the form that preceded it as court art. It is regarded that Beijing opera was born when the Four Great Anhui Troupes came to Beijing in 1790. Beijing opera was originally staged for the court and came into the public later. In 1828, some famous Hubei troupes came to Beijing. They often jointly performed in the stage with Anhui troupes. The combination gradually formed Beijing opera’s main melodies.
Food and Cuisine
As the capital of China, all kind of Chinese food can be found in Beijing. Furthermore, western cuisine is also widespread in Beijing. Foods from France, Russia, Italy and America are very popular among Beijing citizen. The most famous food of Beijing Cuisine is Beijing Roast Duck, and it is known as the “No.1 Cate of China”. The best restaurant to have a taste of Beijing Roast Duck is Quanjude Roast Duck at Qianmengwai, Hepingmen and Wangfujing. This restaurant was founded 130 years ago. Royal court dish is the base of Beijing Cuisine reflecting Beijing’s history as the capital of China for more than 800 years. Due to the cold weather in winter, hotpot is one of the favorite food of Beijing citizen. Local snack of Beijing is very unique absorbing the essence of other snack of China, and local snack of Beijing, including Beijing Wonton, Beef Wrapped in Pancake, Instant-boiled Mutton, Beijing BBQ, Wheaten Cake Boiled in Meat Broth, Chinese Cabbage in Mustard, Deep-fried Dough Cake, Baked Sesame Seed Cake, Bean Jelly, Tanghulu, Fried Ring etc., is extremely abundant. There are so many snack bar all around Beijing, and snack stands are always the most intriguing place in Spring Festival, Temple Fair and Flower Fair.