Beijing is located in the north of China, specifically the North China Plain, and lies adjacent to Tianjin in the East and Hebei in the west. Not only is Beijing a mega city (though with an area of 16,410 km², and a registered population of 21,893,095, it’s not actually the biggest in China), but you’ve probably heard of it because it’s China’s capital and the center of China’s politics, culture, international communication, and science and technology innovation.
Beijing’s altitude ranges widely, from high in the northwest to low in the southeast. It is surrounded by ountains to the west, north, and northeast, and the southeast is a plain that slowly inclines to the Bohai Sea. Most of the rivers that flow through the territory, the Yongding River, Chaobai River, and North Canal, originate from the mountains in the northwest, meander to the southeast, flow through the plains, and finally flow into the Bohai Sea.
Beijing’s climate is the typical warm, temperate, semi-humid climate, and it is hot and rainy in summer and cold and dry in winter, with a short spring and autumn.
“What says ‘Beijing’ to me in one word?”
Let’s take a look at travel in Europe. From France to Germany, for example, it might be an hour by bus – hop on another bus for an hour, and you’re in Poland. But Beijing?
Spend an hour on a bus on a typical morning commute and you may not even have left the city district you started in! The average Beijing office worker 52 miles every day by public transporation which, if you add up over the course of the year, is as if they’ve traveled once around the globe!
Beijing’s fame as a city with thousands of years of history and culture is not limited to local influence. When you step into the city you’ll find it has been shaped by wonderful combinations of ancient and modern, tradition and technology, East and West. Beijing’s culture of exclusivity extends to age, gender, wealth, race, nationality, and religious beliefs, meaning that people of all stripes coexist well in this city.
Okay, okay, maybe it’s not one word, but how can you mention Beijing without mentioning the Great Wall? With its 2,000-year history, this amazing feat of human engineering and construction ranks first among the “new seven wonders” in the world, and with good reason: the Great Wall very literally shaped the course of China’s development.
Bú dào cháng chéng fēi hǎo hàn.
不 到 长 城 非 好 汉。
One who fails to reach the Great Wall is not a hero.
Sure Beijing is the modern capital of China, but it’s position of import stretches back many years: the Imperial Palace was the seat of power in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Located in the center of Beijing, it is the pinnacle of China’s ancient palace architecture, and is crowned (no pun intended) as the largest imperial palace complex in the world.
This symbol of the city whose name is a combination of the words “heaven” (天 tiān), “peace” (安 ān) and “gate” (门mén). It’s place in ancient and modern Chinese history cannot be understated, and make it a must-see for domestic and foreign tourists alike. Also, as should come as no surprise by now if you’ve made it this far in the article, Tiananmen Square is the largest city center square in the world.
There are really many (91!) universities in Beijing, of which the most well-known are Peking University, Tsinghua University, Renmin University of China, and Beijing Normal University, though there are many others that hundreds of thousands of students from around the country seek spots in every year.
Wǒ xī wàng míng nián kě yǐ dào běi jīng dà xué zuò jiāo huàn shēng .
我 希 望 明 年 可 以 到 北 京 大 学 做 交 换 生。
I hope to be an exchange student at Peking University next year.
A bird flying over the streets of Beijing would see that, no matter the time of day, Beijing’s streets are ALWAYS busy. While of course there are the standard “rush hours” as with any metropolis, the number of people in the city means that someone is always on their way to somewhere to do something… never a moment’s rest!
Wǒ xū yào jìn kuài shì yìng běi jīng de kuài jié zòu shēng huó.
我 需 要 尽 快 适 应 北 京 的 快 节 奏 生 活。
I need to adapt to the fast pace of life in Beijing as soon as possible.
“Beijing in a word”? Oops, looks like that was a big ask, but I hope that this overview shows that no matter what you’re looking for – culture, education, technology, tranquility, history – you can find it in this amazing city. There truly is something for everyone. As people across the country sang during the 2008 Summer Olympics, “北京欢迎你 Běi jīng huān yíng nǐ”… Beijing welcomes you!