Beijing is located at the northeast border of East Asia’s largest alluvial plain i.e. North China Plain. The literal meaning of the word Beijing is ‘Northern Capital’. The name ‘Beijing’ was adopted by Empire of the Great Ming, the dynasty which ruled China for about 276 years. This name was used to make a distinction from another Chinese city called Nanjing which signifies ‘Southern Capital’.
Beijing is one of the world’s most populous cities. The economy of Beijing is also one of the most advanced and developed in China. Not only this, this city is the financial hub of China as it houses Beijing Financial Street which is the most important region for financial activity in China. This street is also referred to as Wall Street of China. Built in 1442, Beijing Ancient Observatory is one of the world’s most ancient observatories. Now let’s discover more about this ancient city of China!
Official Status: Capital City of China
Official Abbreviation: BJ
Highest Point: Mount Dongling
Famous Cuisine: Peking Duck (with pancakes)
- The evidence of earliest humans on this city can be traced back as far as 230,000 to 250,000 years ago.
- The ancient city-state of Beijing from 11th to 7th centuries BC is known as Ji. It was the first such city every built in this capital.
- During the period from 1600 to 1800, Beijing was known by the name of Peking.
- The word Beijing was adopted officially on 1 January, 1979.
- During Jurchen Jin dynasty this city was known as Zhongdu which means ‘Central Capital’. This name was adopted in 1153.
- During Yuan dynasty (Mongol Empire), which was founded by Kublai Khan, Beijing was the capital of this dynasty and known as Dadu (or Khanbaliq).
- Beijing is home to the ancient imperial palace of China from years 1420 to 1912. The palace is known as Forbidden City and contains world’s largest collection of prehistoric structures made up of wood. Today, it contains Palace Museum which hosts record number of visitors for any museum around the world.
- This city was known by the name of ‘Peiping’ during different time periods i.e. (1368 – 1403) and (1928 – 1949). This word means ‘Northern Peace’.
- By some accounts, the expansion of Beijing in the 1980s made it almost 1.5 times bigger than the original city.
Interesting Facts about Beijing
- From the period between 15th and 18th centuries, Beijing was the world’s largest city.
- Beijing is ranked third among the most populous cities of the world.
- According to urban population, it is ranked second among the largest cities of China.
- As per passenger traffic, Beijing Capital international Airport is ranked second among the busiest airfields of the world.
- This city is ranked third among the most populous cities of the world.
- The most ancient church of Beijing is called Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. It was built in 1605.
- The oldest temple of this city is called Fayuan Temple which was built around 1300 years before.
- With a track of 344 miles (554 km), Beijing Subway is ranked second among longest subway systems of the world. As per annual riders, it is the busiest in the world.
- The names of various sites of the city end on mén which literally means ‘gate’. It is because these regions were entrances to the Beijing city wall. Likewise, most other sites end on cūn which literally means ‘village’ symbolizing these locations as villages in ancient times.
- Beijing is home to about 144 museums.
- Built in 996, the largest and the most ancient mosque of this city is Niujie Mosque.
- The most popular refreshment for the residents of Beijing is tea house.
- The most popular tombstone of this city is called Tiananmen which means ‘Gate of Heavenly Peace’.
- The highest point of Beijing Municipality is called Mount Dongling. It has an elevation of 2,303 metres (7,556 feet).
- One of the Beijing’s most notable cuisines is Beggar’s Chicken which means ‘rich chicken’. The chicken is covered with clay and then steamed for about 6 hours.
- Another one of the traditional cuisines of this city is Kai kou xiao which literally means ‘open mouth laughing’. It is a fried cake that is prepared from sesame seeds, eggs, flour, sugar and baking soda.
Learn more: Great Wall of China Facts