Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China. It is the political and cultural center, and also one of the international communication hubs of the country. Located at 39°56’ N and 116°20’ E, on the northwest edge of the North China Plain, Beijing adjoins Tianjin to its east and Hebei to its north, west and south. The Bohai Sea lies about 150 km to its southeast. Beijing has 16 districts and two counties under its jurisdiction, covering an area of 16,807.8 sq km, including 87.1 sq km of urban area.
Beijing is served as a national capital for more than 700 years, being one of China’s seven great ancient capitals. In this famed historical and cultural city, cultural heritage sites and scenic spots are found everywhere. Ancient palace groups, temples, parks, ancient pagodas with rock carvings, imperial gardens and tombs, former residences of historic personages throng the city side by side with modern buildings of museums and memorial halls.
Beijing has a total of 7,309 cultural heritage sites, including 42 under state protection and 222 under municipal protection. The Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian, the Temple of Heaven (Tiantan Park), the Summer Palace and the Ming Tombs (Shisanling) are on the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Beijing has over 200 scenic spots open to visitors, such as the Forbidden City, the Beihai Park, the Ming Tombs, the Great Wall, Yonghegong Lama Temple, Tanzhe Temple, Fragrant Hills, the Ruins of the Yuanmingyuan, the Eight Great Sites, Longqing Gorge, Shihua Cave and etc.
Autumn is considered to be the best time to visit Beijing as the skies are clear and the weather is very comfortable. The four seasons are very clear in Beijing with a temperate spring, rainy summer, clear autumn, and a cold, snowy winter. The average temperature throughout the year is 11.80. The coldest month is January with an average temperature of -4.60 and the hottest month is July at an average temperature of 26.10.
Unfortunately, spring and autumn are shorter than summer and winter. Although winter is technically longer, that should not keep you from travelling to Beijing as indoor heating is widely available. Nevertheless, as the indoor/outdoor temperature difference is rather large, travelers should be prepared with warm clothing and a thick coat is recommended for the colder months of the year. In winter, off-season discounts are to be had as well.