Beijing In A Nutshell

Quinn Wong July 12, 2006

Overview of Beijing’s History
  

Beijing literally means "Northern capital“. As a city, Beijing had it’s origins in the 1st millenium BC. As the capital city of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Beijing (then known as Dadu) enjoyed great fame in the 13th century world. Marco Polo stayed 20 years as a guest of Kublai Khan. It would stay the capital of China for about 7 centuries. Between 1928 and 1949, it was known as Beiping, literally "Northern Plains". During this time, the Kuomintang (KMT) government, led by General Chiang Kai Shek, established its capital in Nanking. After WWII, civil war ensued between the KMT and the Communist Party of China (CPC). The CPC won the civil war. The Communist Party of China, led by Mao Zedong, reverted the name to Beijing (Peking) in 1949 again in part to emphasize that Beijing had returned to its role as China's capital.

Map of Beijing

Tian’anmen Square
 

Tian’anmen Square is the large plaza near the center of Beijing. It is named after the Tiananmen, which translates to ‘Gate of Heavenly Peace’. Tiananmen was built in 1417, during the Ming Dynasty. Several key events have occurred at Tiananmen Square, including (a) proclamation of PROC by Mao Zedong on October 1, 1949. (b)Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, (c) May 4th Movement of 1919.

Mao Zedong Mausoleum
 

Although Mao had wished to be cremated, his body was embalmed, and construction of a mausoleum began shortly after his death. This highly popular attraction is located in the middle of Tiananmen Square, in Beijing, the capital of China. The remains of the Great Helmsman, as he is sometimes known, are on display for public viewing. People queue up for hundreds of meters every day to see the former chairman. There is significant controversy over whether the body is real, as visitors have noted the exceedingly waxy appearance of the corpse, as well as the speed in which vistors are ushered through the room.

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City, located at the exact center of the ancient city of Beijing, was the imperial palace during the mid-Ming and the Qing Dynasties. Its extensive grounds cover 720,000 square meters, 800 buildings and more than 8,000 rooms. The imperial palace grounds are located directly to the north of Tiananmen Square and are accessible from the square via Tiananmen Gate. It is surrounded by a large area called the Imperial City. The Forbidden City was the home of 24 emperors—fourteen of the Ming Dynasty and ten of the Qing Dynasty.

The imperial throne inside the Palace of Heavenly Purity, the place of day-to-day government and imperial audiences

The Temple of Heaven
 

The Temple of Heaven is a complex of Taoist buildings situated in Beijing. It was built during the Ming dynasty in the 1400’s. In ancient China, the Emperor of China was regarded as the "Son of Heaven", who administered earthly matters on behalf of, and representing, heavenly authority. To be seen to be showing respect to the source of his authority, in the form of sacrifices to heaven, was extremely important. The temple was built for these ceremonies, mostly comprised of prayers for good harvests. Each winter solstice the Emperor and all his retinue would move into the temple and pray to Heaven for good harvests.

The Ming Tombs

The Ming Dynasty Tombs are located some 50 kilometers due North of Beijing at an especially selected site. The site was chosen by the third Ming Dynasty emperor Yongle, who moved the Capital City of China from Nanjing to the present location of Beijing. From the Yongle Emperor onwards, 13 Ming Dynasty Emperors were buried in this area.
Statue inside the Ming Dynasty Tombs

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is a Chinese fortification built from the 3rd century BC until the beginning of the 17th century. purpose was to defend the China heartland from Mongol and Turkic nomads. There have been five major walls:
1. 208 BCE (Qin Dynasty) 2. 1st century BCE (Han Dynasty) 3. 7th century CE (Sui Dynasty) 4. 1138–1198 (Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period) 5. 1368–1640 (from Hongwu Emperor until Wanli Emperor of the Ming Dynasty)

Food
Beijing is famous for it’s Peking duck. Slices of duck meat and it’s crispy skin are placed inside of a thin crepe. It is served with a Hoisin sauce, which is sweet.

Travel Tips

Money - The money used in Beijing is the Chinese RenMinBi, or RMB for short. The Chinese call it Yuan or Kuai (in Beijing). There are approximately 8 RMB to the US dollar. Weather - Weather in Beijing comes in four seasons with two extremes. In summer it can be oppressively hot, and winter freezing cold. Autumn is seen as a good time to travel. Safety - On the whole, Beijing is a pretty safe place. Your greatest dangers include crossing the road and paying much more than you should for your souvenirs. Fake Goods - Bargaining is part of the culture of Beijing and in most places, especially markets, you'd better be well prepared.

Quiz
Please move on to the following slides to test your knowledge of traveling to Beijing

What emperor was Marco Polo a guest of during the 13th century?
A) Kublai Khan B) Yongle C) Mao Zedong D) Chiang Kai Shek

Correct - Click anywhere to continue Your answer:

Incorrect - Click anywhere to continue

You did not answer this You answered this correctly! The correct answer is: the question completely You must answer question before continuing

Submit

Clear

What is the name of the site that was the imperial palace during the mid-Ming and the Qing Dynasties?

A) The Ming Tombs B) The Forbidden City C) The Temple of Heaven D) The Royal City

Correct - Click anywhere to continue Your answer:

Incorrect - Click anywhere to continue

You did not answer this You answered this correctly! The correct answer is: the question completely You must answer question before continuing

Submit

Clear

What is the name of the square that is located right outside of the Forbidden City?
A) Beijing Square B) Mao Zedong Square C) The Forbidden Square D) Tiananmen Square

Correct - Click anywhere to continue Your answer:

Incorrect - Click anywhere to continue

You did not answer this You answered this correctly! The correct answer is: the question completely You must answer question before continuing

Submit

Clear

What food is Beijing famous for?
A) Peking Duck B) Tsingdao Beer C) Sweet and Sour Pork D) Singaporean Rice Noodles

Correct - Click anywhere to continue Your answer:

Incorrect - Click anywhere to continue

You did not answer this You answered this correctly! The correct answer is: the question completely You must answer question before continuing

Submit

Clear

What time is recommended in this presentation as a good time to travel to Beijing?
A) Spring B) Summer C) Autumn D) Winter

Correct - Click anywhere to continue Your answer:

Incorrect - Click anywhere to continue

You did not answer this You answered this correctly! The correct answer is: the question completely You must answer question before continuing

Submit

Clear

How useful was this course?
A) Very useful - I learned a lot. B) Pretty useful - I knew some of the information already, but learned a few new things. C) Not very useful - Not enough information. D) Not useful at all - This doesn't have any information that I'm interested in.

Submit

Clear

Beijing in a Nutshell Quiz
Your Score {score} Max Score {max-score} Number of Quiz {total-attempts} Attempts

Question Feedback/Review Information Will Appear Here
Continue

Review Quiz