Beijing is China's second largest city after Shanghai, with more than 17 million people. Beijing is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and motorways passing through the city. It is also the focal point of many international flights to China. Beijing is recognized as the political, educational, and cultural center of the People's Republic of China. Beijing hosted the 2008 Olympic Games.
Few cities in the world besides Beijing have served as the political and cultural centre of an area as immense as China for so long. The Encyclopædia Britannica describes it as, "One of the world's great cities," and declares that the city of Beijing has been an integral part of China’s history for centuries, there is scarcely a major building of any age in Beijing that doesn't have at least some national historical significance. Beijing is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, and huge stone walls and gates. Its art treasures and universities have long made the city of Beijing a centre of culture and art in China.
At the heart of Beijing's historical centre lies the Forbidden City, the enormous palace compound that was the home of the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties; the Forbidden City also hosts the Palace Museum, which contains imperial collections of Chinese art. Among the best known religious sites in the city of Beijing is the Temple of Heaven (Tiantan), located in southeastern Beijing, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Beijing contains several well-preserved pagodas and stone pagodas, such as the towering Pagoda of Tianning Temple, which was built during the Liao Dynasty from 1100–1120, and the Pagoda of Cishou Temple, which was built in 1576 during the Ming Dynasty. Located at the outskirts of urban Beijing but within its municipality are the Thirteen Tombs of the Ming Dynasty, the lavish and elaborate burial sites of thirteen Ming emperors, which have been designated as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties"..
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Beijing Currency: Yuan (1 USD = 6.82 CNY)
Beijing Time Difference: UTC/GMT +8 hours