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Beijing

    Beijing is the capital of the People¡¯s Republic of China. It is the political and cultural center of China. The city enjoys a long history of more than three thousand years. It has been capitals for several dynasties in the past eight hundred and fifty years.

Early history

    The earliest remnants of human habitation in the Beijing municipality are found in the caves of Dragon Bone Hill near the village of Zhoukoudian in Fangshan District, where the Peking Man lived. Homo erectus fossils from the caves date to 230,000 to 250,000 years ago. Paleolithic homo sapiens also lived there about 27,000 years ago. There were cities in the vicinities of Beijing by the 1st millennium BC, and the capital of the State of Yan, one of the powers of the Warring States Period (473-221 BC), Ji, was established in present-day Beijing.
       In 936, the Later Jin Dynasty (936-947) of northern China ceded a large part of its northern frontier, including modern Beijing, to the Khitan Liao Dynasty. In 938, the Liao Dynasty set up a secondary capital in what is now Beijing, and called it Nanjing (the "Southern Capital"). In 1125, the Jurchen Jin Dynasty conquered Liao, and in 1153 moved its capital to Liao's Nanjing, calling it Zhongdu , "the central capital." Zhongdu was situated in what is now the area centered around Tianningsi, slightly to the southwest of central Beijing. Some of the oldest existing relics in Beijing including the Niujie Mosque and the Tianning Temple date to the Liao era.
       Mongol forces burned Zhongdu to the ground in 1215 and rebuilt it to the north of the Jin capital in 1267. In preparation for the conquest of all of China, Yuan (Mongol) Dynasty founder Kublai Khan made this his capital as Dadu (Chinese for "great capital"), or Khanbaliq to the Mongols, otherwise spelled as Cambuluc in Marco Polo's accounts. Construction of Dadu finished in 1293. The decision of the Khan greatly enhanced the status of a city that had been situated on the northern fringe of China proper. Dadu was situated north of modern central Beijing. It centered on what is now the northern stretch of the 2nd Ring Road, and stretched northwards to between the 3rd and 4th Ring Roads. There are remnants of Yuan-era wall still standing and are known as the Tucheng (literally, the ¡°earth wall¡±).

Geography

    The center of Beijing is located at 39¡ã59¡äN, 116¡ã20¡äE. The administration area of Beijing is about 16,410 square kilometers while the central city occupies an area of 87 square kilometers. The weather of Beijing is featured with a hot and humid summer, cold and dry winter, along with short spring and autumn. The annual average temperature is between 10-12 degree Celsius and the annual average precipitation is around 600 millimeters.

Landmarks

    Forbidden City, it was the imperial palace for Ming and Qing dynasties. The place has a history of more than five hundred years. It is the biggest and the best-maintained ancient construction in China. For that reason, it has been listed as one of the world heritage sites by the United Nations.
       Great Wall, it is the symbol of China. Badalin is a section of the Great Wall constructed in Ming Dynasty. The section is has been preserved well since then. The site now becomes a ¡°must-go¡± for Chinese and foreign tourists.
       Temple of Heaven, it was the site that empires sacrificed animals to heaven for rain or better yield of crops. It is the largest existing ancient site for that use on the earth.
       Summer Palace, it was the summer palace and garden for empires in Qing dynasty. The place is known for perfectly combing beautiful natural landscape with breath-taking architectures. It is the largest and also the most intact royal garden in China.
       Bird¡¯s Nest, the main stadium for the 29th Summer Olympic Games. It is now the largest sport and leisure center for residents in Beijing.

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©Copyright ISCRAM-ASIA 2012 Organizing Committee