Sam's Photo Journeys to Exotic Beijing - Political & Cultural Heart of China
Beijing (formerly known in English as Peking) is a metropolis in northern China and the capital of the People's Republic of China. It is one of the four municipalities of the PRC, which are equivalent to provinces in China's administrative structure. Beijing is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. The municipality of Beijing borders Hebei Province to the north, west, south, and for a small section in the east, and Tianjin Municipality to the southeast. Beijing is China's second largest city, after Shanghai. 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, while Shanghai and Hong Kong predominate in economic fields. The city 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, "The city has been an integral part of China’s history over the past eight centuries, and nearly every major building of any age in Beijing has 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 a centre of culture and art in China
My visits in 2003 were the first since 1995. The changes were amazing. New high rise apartments were everywhere. The subway and monorail are welcome additions as streets are even more crowded due to the rapid growth of autos and the decline of bicycles. Many businessmen are now wealthy, as private enterprise has grown and the country has evolved from a backward communist state to embrace capitalization. It is a city in transition.
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