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Beijing (historically known as Peking) is China's capital city. Located in North China, 183 Km from the seacoast and about 44 meters above sea level, Beijing's history goes back 3000 years and is centered around the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.

Tiananmen Square is the world's biggest public square. On the east is the Museum of the Chinese Revolution and Chinese History, and on the south the impressive Qianmen Gate. In the center are the Monument to the People's Heroes and Mao's Memorial Hall. On the west is the Great Hall of the People, seat of China's congress. On the north is Tiananmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace), from whose balcony the imperial edicts were read in ancient times. And is the place where Chairman Mao proclaimed the People's Republic of China on Oct. 1, 1949. China's leaders stand here on national days to review the parades and festivities.

The Forbidden City was the home and audience hall of the Ming and Qing emperors. Originally built from 1406 to 1420, the City contains over 9000 rooms and covers over 720,000 square meters of land. The surrounding wall is over 10 meters high. Inside the stately buildings of red and golden yellow, the imperial color, there are on display historic relics from all over China, including jade wares, bronze containers, gold and silver utensils used by imperial families, clocks, paintings and carvings. The Summer Palace, is an imperial garden. Originally built in the 12th century the imperial court lived there during summer.

The Ming Tombs and the Great Wall of China are located in the suburbs. The Ming Tombs were built from 1409 - 1644, there are thirteen tombs altogether, but only two are open to visitors.

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Site Created: September 16, 1998; Updated: September 23, 2007.