Also known as Peking, Beijing is the cultural and political heart of the People's Republic of China. Like all of the world's most famous capital cities, Beijing has a long and illustrious history. Archaeological finds suggest that the area around Beijing, specifically the caves in and around Dragon Bone Hill, where inhabited from as early on as the 1st millennium BC. Of course since then China has grown and expanded into the most populous country in the World. In 1949 a communist revolution saw Mao Zedong take control of the capital, overseeing the creation of the People's Republic of China. Despite constant friction between the East and the West, China has become one of the world's largest super-powers and now enjoys a prominent place throughout global politics.
The Forbidden City
During China’s early history a series of warlords attempted to gain control of the Beijing area, this period war became known as the ‘time of warring states”. Eventually internal strife and years of war led to rise of the Ming Dynasty and the creation of some of China’s most famous landmarks, such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden Palace. During this period of stability agricultural and municipal reforms led to vast construction projects and the rise of dynastic art, much of which can still be viewed in China today.
Construction of the Forbidden City began in 1406 and was completed in 1420. The complex consists of 980 building and covers an estimated 720,000 m2. The city itself was to be the centre of the Ming Dynasty for over 200years and was the home of 24 emperors - 14 belonging to the Ming Dynasty and 10 of the Qing Dynasty. The last emperor to live in the Forbidden City was Puyi who was forced to abdicate in 1912.
Every year thousand of tourists fly to Beijing to witness the ancient and modern wonders of the Orient. Beijing has grown in leaps and bounds since the communist revolution of 1942, and yet while China has managed to keep a tight rein on it's cultural heritage, western influences have led to a great deal of modernisation within China. Modern Beijing has become a living breathing metropolis, complete with shops, nightclubs, fast food joints and western style hotels like the Radisson Blu in Beijing. Having recently hosted the Olympics in 2008, Beijing has experienced a large boom in infrastructure which saw the expansion of Beijings airport and the creation of the famous 'Bird's Nest' stadium which hosted both the opening and closing ceremonies.