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
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
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
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
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.
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