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Beijing, the political heart of ancient and modern China

Map of the provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions and SAR of China. Source: chokkicx / Getty Images

The municipality of Beijing is the capital of China and the political heart of the country. Its name literally means “North Capital”, as opposed to Nanjing, the South Capital. Beijing became the capital of a unified China only since Yuan dynasty – but it was already an important city before. As a matter of fact, the city was in a important position. It is close to China’s borders and yet far enough to be more easily defended.
The capital of China is often opposed to Shanghai. While the latter is the economic center of China, the former is the political center of the PRC.

Beijing’s territory

Hebei province surrounds entirely Beijing municipality. The territory varies, as it includes plain areas and mountains. On the north, parts of the famous Great Wall are visited by millions of people every year. Beijing also has a direct canal connection to Hangzhou through a canal with 1400 years of history. The population is about 24 million people, and Han are the vast majority. Minorities include Hui, Manchu and Mongol.

Source: Wikipedia

A service-based economy

Beijing has the highest GDP per capita in the country, without considering the SAR of Macau and Hong Kong. Three fourths of the economy are based on tertiary enterprises. Agriculture and mining influence less than 1% of the economy of the municipality. Many industries that were in Beijing moved to Hebei. This was in order to improve the air quality of the capital.
Many business in fields such as IT, real estate, scientific research and professional services have their core base in Beijing.
Obviously there are also many special economic and technological development zones. Some are providing a better environment for IT start ups, others are related to banking and logistic services, and so on.

The historical center seen from the Forbidden City. Source: Wikipedia

Beijing, Capital of China

It is quite clear that Beijing has one of the most interesting variety of cultural experiences around China. The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, the Summer Palace (both the old and the rebuilt one), Tiananmen Square, Zhongnanhai are just few of the typical tourist spots. Other interesting experiences are watching Beijing Opera and eating the Beijing Duck. There are more than a hundred museums scattered around the city. The modern city is also very interesting to visit.

One can see both the ancient history and the future of the country unfold in the same city. While Beijing is certainly a very modern city, its historical spots are well maintained.

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