As the capital of the People's Republic of China, Beijing is the nation's political, economic, cultural, and educational centre as well as being the most important centre in China for international trade and communications. It has been the heart and soul of politics and society throughout its long history. Beijing's long and illustrious history starts approximately 500,000 years ago. It is here that the ancestors of modern Homo sapiens, Peking men, lived in caves. Records show that Beijing has been an inhabited city for more than three thousand years and has lived through invasions, devastating fires, dynasties, warlords, Anglo-French troops, and has emerged each time as a strong and vibrant city. For more than 800 years, Beijing was a capital city - from Yuan Dynasty to the Ming and Qing dynasties. Thirty-four emperors have lived and ruled from Beijing and it has been an important trading city from earliest days. Although now Beijing is modern, fashionable and full of 21st century vitality, you can experience authentic Beijing life become acquainted with "old Beijing" by exploring the many tea houses, Hutongs, temple fares, Beijing operas, courtyards and cross-talks.

Imperial Palace and Forbidden City

The Palace Museum, and was the former Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty. Â Highlights include the Meridian Gate, built in 1420; the Golden River Bridges, a network of five richly decorated white marble bridges; the Hall of Preserving Harmony, which functioned as the Emperor's banquet hall; the Palace of Heavenly Purity, the largest hall in the Inner Court; and the Hall of Military Courage, a permanent residence and private audience hall for the emperors.

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China stretches more than 6,000 kilometers from the fortresses of Shanhaiguan in the east to Jiayuguan in the west. The best preserved section of the wall is near Badaling Pass northwest of Beijing.

The Summer Palace

The Summer Palace is a vast ensemble of lakes, gardens and palaces in Beijing. It was an imperial garden in the Qing Dynasty. Mainly dominated by Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, it covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometres, three-quarters of which is water.

Longevity Hill is about 60 m high and has many buildings positioned in sequence. The front hill is rich with splendid halls and pavilions, while the back hill, in sharp contrast, is quiet with natural beauty. The central Kunming Lake, covering 2.2 square kilometres, was entirely man-made and the excavated soil was used to build Longevity Hill.

In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List.

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square (the Square of Heavenly Peace) is the world's largest inner-city square, designed to hold a million people and built to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Chinese Republic in 1958.

Beihai Park

Beihai Park is a public park and former imperial garden located in the northwestern part of the Imperial City, Beijing. First built in the 11th century, it is among the largest of all Chinese gardens and contains numerous historically important structures, palaces, and temples.

Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven is an imperial complex of religious buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest.

National Stadium

Beijing National Stadium, officially the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, is a stadium in Beijing.

Lama Temple

The Yonghe Temple, also known as the Yonghe Lamasery, or popularly as the Lama Temple, is a temple and monastery of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism located in Dongcheng District, Beijing, China. The building and artwork of the temple is a combination of Han Chinese and Tibetan styles.

Capital Museum

The Capital Museum is an art museum in Beijing, China. It opened in 1981 and moved into its present building in 2006, which houses a large collection of ancient porcelain, bronze, calligraphy, painting

Beijing Ancient Observatory

he Beijing Ancient Observatory is a pretelescopic observatory located in Beijing, China. The observatory was built in 1442 during the Ming dynasty, and expanded during the Qing. It received major reorganization and many new, more accurate instruments from Europeans in 1644.

Fayuan Temple

The Fayuan Temple, situated in the southwest quarter of central Beijing, is one of the city's oldest and most renowned Buddhist temples.

Jingshan Park

Jingshan Park is an imperial park covering 23 hectares immediately north of the Forbidden City in the Imperial City area of Beijing, China. The focal point is the artificial hill Jingshan, literally "Prospect Hill".

Confucius Temple

Beijing Temple of Confucius is the second-largest Confucian temple in China, after the one in Confucius's hometown of Qufu

Old Summer Palace

The Old Summer Palace, known in Chinese as Yuanming Yuan, and originally called the Imperial Gardens, was a complex of palaces and gardens in present-day Haidian District, Beijing, China. It is 8 kilometres northwest of the walls of the former Imperial City section of Beijing.

Beijing 798 Art Zone

The 798 Art District, also known as Dashanzi, is a cluster of former military factories now housing hip creative spaces like 798 Photo Gallery and the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, showing established and emerging Chinese artists. Outdoor sculpture installations sit alongside boutiques offering quirky fashion and artsy gifts. Al fresco brunches and specialty coffee are the draw at the area’s chic cafes.

National Museum of China

The National Museum of China flanks the eastern side of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. The museum's mission is to educate about the arts and history of China. It is directed by the Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China. Â It is the second most visited art museum in the world after the Louvre in Paris.