Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China and is the nation's center of government, economy, culture, and international activities. Beijing is a place of both ancient history and modernity, a city that served for more than 800 years as the capital of the Liao, Jin, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. Beijing is now known for its many special places of interest. From the magnificent Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, visitors can begin their journey through the streets and lanes of Beijing. Palaces, parks, narrow alleyways and ancient sites such as the Yonghe Gong, reveal a different side of Beijing. The Temple of Heaven's vast grounds are a pleasure to visit year-round, and are enchanting during a snowstorm. Visitors can also find refuge in the suburbs, in such places as the Summer Palaces and the Western Hills, which have been favored retreats since imperial times.
While visiting Beijing, take some time to hike outside of the city. The Great Wall, a site not to be missed, encompasses many small villages. Overall, Beijing is a city that is fascinating and is rich in cultural treasures. It provides visitors with a cosmopolitan view of urban modernity, as well as imparting a deep respect for times past.