What can I say about Beijing? Here are my amazing facts about Beijing. It was my home for 2 years and the place I met Aviva, so for me it holds a dear place in my heart. Beijing is a world-leading capital city, situated in the northern part of China, very hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. It’s one of the most inhabited capital cities in the world.
Why visit Beijing?
With it’s 7 UNESCO heritage sites, this city is a must-visit place for tourists!
So, let’s take a look at some facts about Beijing before you run off to book your Beijing flight tickets!
Facts about Beijing
1: Asia’s famous and thriving city, Beijing, was previously known as ‘Peking’.
“Peking” was first used by the occupying Japanese in 1937. During their surrender in 1945, the Nationalist Government changed the city’s name to “Beiping”, with “Beijing” as the Pinyin romanization. Beijing was adopted in 1958, and it was used internationally in 1979.
2: Beijing is the capital city of the ‘People’s Republic of China’.
China has been ruled from Beijing for over 700 years.
3: It’s home to the longest wall in the world!
You couldn’t miss this internationally famous wall – the Great Wall of China! It has a length of 3,460 km, so if you’re planning on taking a short walk along the wall think again!
4: Beijing is also home to the world’s largest palace according to the Guinness World Records!
The Forbidden City in Beijing is the largest imperial palace in the world. It’s also known as ‘Gu Gong’ in Chinese. Its area measures 74 hectares and is surrounded by a 10-meter high wall.
5: ‘Siheyuans’ are common in the urban areas of Beijing.
‘Siheyuans’ are houses that are built in a particular way, so that they create an inner private courtyard for the owners.
6: “Beijing” is more than just a name!
Pronounced as ‘bay-jing’, ‘Bei’ means northern and ‘jing’ means capital, put together, Beijing literally means “Northern Capital”!
7: Beijing is also known for its Peking Opera.
A trip to Beijing wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Peking Opera! Here you can see a unique and beautiful combination of spoken dialogue, codified action, and songs.
8: It’s actually smaller than Shanghai.
One of the more interesting facts about Beijing is that it only ranks second to Shanghai in terms of size in area and population (Shanghai is the most populated city in the world). However, Beijing was chosen as China’s capital city because Shanghai lacked a colourful historical background.
9: Beijing is known for its calligraphy.
Calligraphy is widely appreciated in the world, but Beijing is home to the finest and most influential calligraphy.
10: China’s National Stadium, or the Bird’s Nest, is the world’s largest steel structure and the most complex stadium ever constructed, which happens to be situated in Beijing.
The stadium was built for the Summer Olympics in 2008, and was designed by architect Ai Weiwei.
11: “Traffic jam” scooters are real in China.
To help people dodge traffic jams you can rent a scooter and a driver to take you to your destination. The driver then drives your car to you.
12: English is not commonly spoken among older Beijing citizens.
The English language is taught in Chinese schools, and is widely introduced into the region. That’s why it’s highly likely you won’t need a translator if you speak to younger people.
13: Beijing has a history that dates back to over 3,000 years ago!
It’s one of the world’s 4 ancient civilizations. The first Chinese dynasty being the Shang Dynasty, which started around 1600 BCE.
14: Beijing is also one of the oldest inhabited areas in the world!
There were fossils found in the capital, indicating that Peking Man (Homo erectus) lived there around 770,000 to 230,000 years ago!
15: In over 21 centuries, Beijing has been the capital to 6 important Chinese dynasties.
They are: Yan State Capital, Warring States Period (221 BC), Capital of the Yuan Dynasty (1271), Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) Capital (1402), Qing Dynasty capital (1644), Republic of China capital (1912), and the People’s Republic of China (1949).
16: Beijing has had a series of names: Jicheng (‘City of Ji’), Yanjing (Capital of Yan’), Nanjing (‘Southern Capital’), and Zhongdu (‘Central Capital’).
Other names include Dadu (‘Great Capital’), Beiping (‘Central Peace’), and many others.
17: There are 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Beijing!
- The Great Wall of China
- The Forbidden City
- The Summer Palace
- The Temple of Heaven
- Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties
- The Grand Canal
- Peking Man in Zhoukoudian
18: Cab prices vary a lot, so keep an eye on the stickers.
Stickers that are less swanky signify cheap cabs, contrary to those, cool and luxurious stickers signify that you are about to travel in an expensive cab.
19: Food portions in Beijing are big enough to feed the whole family.
A single dish can satisfy you and your family’s hunger! The servings in China are famous for being generously large. You will usually find it hard to finish a whole meal.
More Facts about Beijing
20: There are 4 main train stations in Beijing.
- Beijing West Railway Station
- Beijing South Railway Station
- Beijing Railway Station
- Beijing North Railway Station
21: There are 590 trains running to the capital every day.
London only has 543 trains wheezing into the capital during peak days.
22: An average of 9 million people ride the subway in Beijing every day.
That’s almost the same volume as the population of Papua New Guinea!
23: Crotchless pants are a real thing.
Chinese toddlers are frequently seen wearing open-seat pants or “crotchless pants”. These pants come with a split on the crotch area to make it easier for the toddlers to urinate/ defecate.
24: The iconic story and photograph of the “Tank Man” happened in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
This was during a protest in 1989, when people were against government corruption, wanted freedom of speech, and didn’t like the lack of transparency in China.
25: The names of the 3 mountain ranges that surround Beijing are:
- Jundu Mountains
26: Beijing is the ‘culture hub of China’.
That’s because Beijing holds the deepest cultural and historic roots in all of China. It has a variety of long standing arts, architecture, cuisine, and many other cultural facets.
27: It took 14 years to build the Forbidden City.
It was constructed in 1940 during the early Ming Dynasty. There were said to be 1,000,000 workers and 100,000 craftsmen on this huge historic site every day working hard. It was named the “Forbidden City” because commoners were not allowed to enter the palace without permission, only invited high officials, noblemen, and imperial families could enter the kingdom.
28: Beijing (Peking) Duck cuisine can be traced to the Ming Dynasty.
One of the more interesting facts about Beijing relating to food is that it was about 600 years ago when the roast duck recipe became a household favourite in Beijing before it spread all over the globe. Only the best chefs were allowed to enter the Forbidden City to cook for the emperor, and after the Ming Dynasty, chefs started building restaurants and prepared Peking Duck for local consumption.
29: In 2018, China’s capital had a population of 21.54 million!
It is almost the same as Australia’s entire population for 2017!
30: Beijing is 10x bigger than Greater London.
It has an area the size of 1,763 square miles, or 4,567 square km. Greater London, on the other hand, runs a vast of 1,569 square km.
31: There was a Starbucks in the Forbidden City!
Starbucks inhabited the Forbidden City from 2000 until 2007. It was removed because locals believed that it damaged the city’s major historical site.
32: Beijing has 13 institutions of higher education.
It also boasts 76 secondary schools, 358 primary schools, including those public and private, and 21 nurseries and kindergartens.
33: It has 70 colleges and universities.
Most of these are public or affiliated.
34: There were around 700 hospitals in Beijing in 2020.
Clearly, there’s no shortage of medical facilities in China’s capital!
35: Beijing’s International Airport is the world’s 2nd busiest airport in and out of China.
Beijing’s airport serves about 100 million tourists annually! Having its own power source, law enforcement, and fire department, it’s a very independent airport that operates as a city on its own.
36: Beijing experiences extreme temperatures, Beijing’s temperature can reach as high as 42 °C (109 °F), and can go down as low as -27 °C (-17 °F).
If you’re planning to visit Beijing, the best time to go there is in April, May, September, and October.
37: Beijing will be the first country in the world to host both the summer and winter Olympics!
The capital is preparing for its long-awaited second Olympics which is in 2022.
38: Inhaling Beijing’s air for 6 days straight has an effect that is the equivalent to smoking a cigarette.
It’s for this reason why locals wear masks when going outdoors. However, China’s air pollution has significantly improved over the years.
39: Tiananmen Square actually means the “Gate of Heavenly Peace”, which is quite ironic after the controversial events in 1989.
But the square has an interesting history, before it was tragically tainted it was once one of the largest squares in the world, and it was one of China’s most historic places.
More Amazing Facts about Beijing
40: “Wang” is the most popular surname in Beijing.
If London has Smith, Beijing has Wang. 11% of the Beijing population carries the famous family name, Wang!
41: Beijing respects a multitude of religions.
It encompasses Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity.
42: Beijing covers an area of 16,800 square kilometres.
38% of this land is flat, while the remaining 62% consists of mountains.
43: Jet Li is from Beijing!
Li Lianje, or better known with his stage name Jet Li, is a Chinese actor, film producer, martial artist, and retired Wushu champion who was born in Beijing. He is known as the Kung Fu master, and he has starred in many famous action-packed movies, like ‘Fist of Legend’.
44: ‘The Last Emperor’ (1987) was filmed in Beijing.
It was the first foreign production to be granted official permission to shoot in the Forbidden City!
45: The Temple of Heaven used to be the go-to prayer place when you were praying for a good harvest.
Many years ago, emperors from the Ming and Qing dynasty visited this place yearly to pray for a good harvest. It’s located in the south eastern part of central Beijing and was declared part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.
46: The Summer Palace is recognized as ‘The Museum of Royal Gardens’.
This place is all about the Chinese landscape and horticulture. It features a group of lakes, gardens, and palaces.
47: Beijing is one of the bicycle capitals of the world.
Amsterdam might be popular for its bicycle culture, but Beijing actually tops the chart! Bicycle riding is a very common means of transportation in the city, with locals riding bikes during peak traffic times to avoid delays.
48: The National Museum of China is one of the largest museums in the world.
Here lie the historic remains of China’s vast and intriguing past. Its main goal is to educate people about China’s history, arts, and culture since time immemorial.
49: China’s World Trade Center Tower III is the tallest building in Beijing.
It has a whopping 81 floors, 4 underground floors, and 30 elevators. It is 330 meters tall and 33rd-tallest building in the world!
50: Mandarin is mostly based on the Beijing dialect.
Mandarin is the national language used in China, and it’s based on the capital’s accent and dialect.
Thanks for reading about my facts about Beijing.
If you like facts, check out the link below for cool facts about China: