8 Facts about Beijing, China

  1. “Bei” means “northern”, while “jing” means “capital”. In other words, it translates directly into something like “The Northern Capital”.
  2. Long and rich history. Although the city first got its current name in 1403, its history goes back much further in time. Historians believe the first city formation here dates back to the year 1045 BC. Wuying Palace in Forbidden City. The name comes from the simple fact that the entire palace area, which consists of 800 buildings, was historically completely closed to ordinary residents. Only the emperor himself, his family and the court had access.
  3. No cities in the world hold multiple locations on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. You don’t have to be very interested in history to find something of interest when visiting Beijing. Here there is a short distance between some of humanity’s most famous cultural heritage sites. Just listen here: The Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the excavation site of the “Beijing Man”, the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven.
  4. One of the world’s largest cities. There are several ways to rank how many residents a city has. Some lists rank by population within city limits, others include suburbs, while others again include entire urban areas (where several cities have grown together to form “megabies”). No matter how one calculates, Beijing comes almost to the top. According to this (on the English version of Wikipedia), the city had just over 21.5 million residents (2015) within its administrative area (second largest in the world, beaten only by Shanghai in the same country). In other words, maybe not a place you visit first and foremost to be for yourself…
  5. Beijing is expected to have the world’s busiest airport in 2019. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport in the United States, has been the world’s busiest airport since 1998. In 2015, the airport served just over a hundred million passengers. Nevertheless, this will be small to the new Beijing Daxing International Airport which is under construction about 4.5 kilometers south of the city center, and is expected to be completed in 2019. Daxing is built to handle no less than up to two hundred million passengers a year ! (PS! Beijing International Airport is already the world’s second busiest airport).
  6. Beijing has been the capital of the People’s Republic of China since 1949 (The People’s Republic of China was established on October 1, 1949, after the Communist Party led by Máo Zédōng had won the Chinese Civil War). PS! The city has historically been China’s capital for very long (different) periods before 1949.
  7. Kinarose and chrysanthemums are Beijing’s official city flowers.
  8. There are nine million bicycles in Beijing. This is how the text goes in a popular pop song. However, according to figures from the Chinese authorities (2009), there are actually as many as 13 million bicycles in the city.