The Chinese have always had a flair for formidable displays of power and wealth, and nowhere in China is that more clear than Beijing. From the ostentatious  portrait of Mao Zedong at the front gate of Tian’anmen Square to the sprawling Temple of Heaven Park  – the capital city of the world’s most populous country is a sight to behold.

Sometimes called Peking, China‘s second largest city (by population after Shanghai) has long been the political, cultural and educational capital of the Middle Kingdom.  Many of China’s most famous landmarks can be found in or around the city, including ancient wonders such as the Great Wall of China, the Ming Tombs and the Summer Palace. There are five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in or around Beijing city.

Modern cultural and commercial landmarks are no different – everyone remembers the lavish opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics along with its two hallmark venues, the Water Cube and Bird’s Nest. The Beijing Capital Airport is among the busiest in the world and the subway line has nearly 500 km of track. Downtown notable landmarks include the CCTV building in the CBD (Central Business District) and the National Center for Performing Arts (also known as the ‘The Giant Egg’) which is just next to the Great Hall of the People.

Beijing is also known as the intellectual capital of China –   some of China’s top universities, including Tsinghua University and Peking University are located in the city. The enormous Forbidden City and Palace Museum is the highlight of Beijing’s many cultural attractions which also include the Museum of Natural History, the Aviation Museum, Military Museum, and the Ancient Observatory. The 798 Art District is home to the city’s flourishing modern art scene and of course the Beijing Zoo which keeps nearly 500 different animal species.

Home to the official national dialect (Mandarin or putonghua), savory Peking duck and Beijing Opera, not to mention world-class shopping and nightlife, Beijing is a Chinese city like no other.  A week or a month isn’t nearly enough time to soak in all the different sites, sounds and flavors of this vibrant metropolis.

To look at teaching positions in Beijing or nearby Tianjin, visit the ESL Suite website for all the latest teaching jobs in China.

4 thoughts on “City Profile: Beijing

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