Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China. It is one of the most populous cities in the world and home to some of the world’s most iconic landmarks. These include the Great Wall of China and The Forbidden City. As for getting around, you can ride the world’s second-longest metro system. You can also fly into the world’s largest and most expensive airport. So, whether you are planning a visit or just want to learn more, here are some of the most interesting facts about Beijing.
7 Interesting Facts about Beijing
1. Beijing is the capital of China
Beijing, which means “Northern Capital”, was previously known as Peking. In fact, the IATA Code for Beijing Capital International Airport is PEK. It is the capital city of the People’s Republic of China.
2. Beijing is one of the world’s largest cities
Beijing is the second-most populous city in China. It has a population of 21,333,332 (as of 2022). Shanghai is the most populous city in China with a population of 28,516,904. Beijing is the eighth-most populous city in the world. Tokyo is the most populous and Delhi is in second place.
3. Beijing has the world’s second-longest metro
Totalling 762 km (473 mi), the Beijing Metro system is the second biggest metro system in the world by route length. Shanghai Metro system is the world’s biggest metro system by route length. With 366 stations, it is also the world’s third-biggest metro system by the number of stations.
4. Beijing Airport is the world’s largest and most expensive
Beijing Daxing International Airport, located around 40 kilometres south of the country’s capital, is the largest and most expensive airport in the world. It took workers five years to build the airport at a cost of US$63 billion. Opened in 2019, the airport features a 7.5 million square foot terminal and sits on 18 square miles of land. The airport is designed to look like a phoenix but some say it looks like the palm of a hand with radiant fingers. The palm is the hub of the airport and the distance to the aircraft are the fingers.
5. Part of the Great Wall of China is in Bejing
The Great Wall of China is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world with a history that spans more than 2,300 years. This ancient fortification, made from cement, rocks, bricks and dirt, is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and it attracts more than 10 million people every year, making it one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. Extending over 4,000 miles, some 355 miles of the Great Wall are in Beijing. If you are planning on visiting the Great Wall of China in Beijing, you might want to do so sooner rather than later. Due to over-tourism and natural erosion, the Great Wall of China is one of the world’s most endangered travel destinations.
6. Beijing is home to the world’s largest public square
Tiananmen Square is the world’s largest public square. It spans over 440,000 sq. metres. Despite being a “public square,” this area very much is controlled by the government and every morning, you can watch the flag-raising ritual and the Chinese army marching in the square right after. Soviet-style monuments and government buildings surround Tiananmen Square. Whilst here, you can visit the Tiananmen Tower, Monument to the People’s Heroes, Great Hall of the People, and the Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall. You’ll also see the iconic Gate of Heavenly Peace with its large portrait of Chairman Mao. Tiananmen Square is the geographic, political, and tourist centre of Beijing.
7. Beijing is home to the world’s largest imperial palace
The Forbidden City in Beijing is one of China’s most famous landmarks and one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. It is the largest and most well-preserved heritage site in China as well as the largest ancient palatial structure in the world. It is home to the world’s largest collection of well-preserved medieval wooden structures. In 1987, UNESCO declared the Forbidden City a World Heritage Site. In 1925, a year after the last emperor left, officials turned the complex into the Palace Museum. Today, it is one of the most important cultural heritage sites and the most visited museum in the People’s Republic of China. In 2019, the Palace Museum in Beijing had approximately 19.3 million visitors. The museum houses the greatest collection of Chinese historical artefacts in the world and they span thousands of years. You can see ancient porcelain and jade, paintings, calligraphy, embroidery and other relics of historic significance for China and the world.