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Beijing Past


Beijing is both old and young. It is the cultural cradle of the Chinese nation and also a birthplace of human civilization. It was here that the 'Peking man' lived and multiplied in primitive communities 700,000 years ago.

Beginning to take shape during the later period of the Shang Dynasty, Beijing existed as a city more than 3,000 years ago, as a matter of fact, 1995 was the 3040th anniversary of the founding of Beijing city.

In 352 A.D (Jin Dynasty), Beijing became the capital city of the Kingdom of Yan, the first ever established by a Chinese national minority. Later, it was chosen by one dynasty after another as their capital and turned into a central city for all nationalities across the country.

From 938 to 1123, Beijing was the alternate capital of the Liao Dynasty and called 'Yanjing'
From 1153 to 1214, it was the capital of the Jin dynasty and called 'Zhongdu'
From 1272 to 1368, it was the capital of the Yuan Dynasty and called 'Dadu'.

During both the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, Beijing was the capital and called 'Jingshi'.

Beijing was founded and developed with the joint efforts of all the Chinese nationalities from generation to generation, as a melting pot of time-honored Oriental Civilization and Chinese cultural heritages.

As the capital of the Liao, Jin Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, Beijing withessed centuries of prosperity, many major historical events and various nationalities's achievements and aspirtions for a peaceful and happy life.

As an ancient cultural city, Beijing has produced many eminent personages whoes achievement have added splendour to their national history and enriched the whole world's cultural treasure house. At the same time, many outstanding figures from the west, such as Marco Polo and Matteo Ricci from Italy, travelled to China and lived for many years in Beijing, contributing to the cultural exchanges between the East and West.

Marco Polo came to China in 1275 during the Yuan Dynasty. The Travels of Marco Polo provided the West with one of the first glimpses into China.

Matteo Ricci came to China in 1582 and arrived in Beijing in 1601. While doing missionary work, he also introduced the Western natural sciences to China, bringing with him the 'Great Map of Ten Thousand Countries' and translating Euclid's 'Elements' into Chinese in cooperation with the Chinese scientist Xu Guangqi.

Guo Shoujing, a scientist in the Yuan Dynasty, compiled 'Shoushi Calendar' on the basis of his astronomical observations. This calendar was just as accurate as the present-day Gregorian Calendar which came into use 300 years later.

Cao Xueqin, a Qing Dynasty writer, wrote the novel 'The Dream of the Red Mansions' which has become a world-famous literary masterpiece.

Beijing was renames Beiping in 1928, when the Republic of China moved its capital to Nanjing.
With the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Beijing became its capital and entered a new epoch.

Beijing has very early relations with foreign countries on the principle of mutual benefit. However, it was only in the late '70s of this century that Beijing came into full contact withthe outside world, as a result of the reform and open policy carried out throughout the country. Today, the city is speeding up its effort in this direction by drawing on the fruits of human civilization and learning other countries' advanced methods of management and administration, so as to achieve better and faster results in its own construction.

We are living in a Beijing that has undergone big changes and is heading for modernization. Beijing is rising as a modern city, where ancient Chinese Civilization meets with modern achievements of human society, creating a new spirit and charm.

Home -- Beijing Present -- Beijing Future

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