Beijing, sometimes romanized as Peking, is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world. The city proper is the 3rd largest in the world.
The metropolis, located in northern China, is governed as a direct-controlled municipality under the national government, with 14 urban and suburban districts and two rural counties.
Beijing Municipality is surrounded by Hebei Province with the exception of neighboring Tianjin Municipality to the southeast.
Beijing is the second largest Chinese city by urban population after Shanghai and is the nation's political, cultural, and educational center.
It is home to the headquarters of most of China's largest state-owned companies, and is a major hub for the national highway, expressway, railway, and high-speed rail networks.
The Beijing Capital International Airport is the second busiest in the world by passenger traffic.
The city's history dates back three millennia. As the last of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, Beijing has been the political center of the country for much of the past eight centuries.
The city is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, parks and gardens, tombs, walls and gates, and its art treasures and universities have made it a center of culture and art in China.
Encyclopaedia Britannica notes that "few cities in the world have served for so long as the political headquarters and cultural centre of an area as immense as China".
Beijing has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, Zhoukoudian, Great Wall, and the Grand Canal.
People native to urban Beijing speak the Beijing dialect, which belongs to the Mandarin subdivision of spoken Chinese. This speech is the basis for putonghua, the standard spoken language used in mainland China and Taiwan, and one of the four official languages of Singapore.
Rural areas of Beijing Municipality have their own dialects akin to those of Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing Municipality.
Beijing or Peking opera (京剧, Jīngjù) is a traditional form of Chinese theater well known throughout the nation. Commonly lauded as one of the highest achievements of Chinese culture, Beijing opera is performed through a combination of song, spoken dialogue, and codified action sequences involving gestures, movement, fighting and acrobatics.
Much of Beijing opera is carried out in an archaic stage dialect quite different from Modern Standard Chinese and from the modern Beijing dialect.
Beijing cuisine is the local style of cooking. Peking Roast Duck is perhaps the best known dish. Fuling Jiabing, a traditional Beijing snack food, is a pancake (bing) resembling a flat disk with a filling made from fu ling, a fungus used in traditional Chinese medicine. Teahousesare common in Beijing.
The cloisonné (or Jingtailan, literally "Blue of Jingtai") metalworking technique and tradition is a Beijing art specialty, and is one of the most revered traditional crafts in China.
Cloisonné making requires elaborate and complicated processes which include base-hammering, copper-strip inlay, soldering, enamel-filling, enamel-firing, surface polishing and gilding.
Beijing's lacquerware is also well known for its sophisticated and intrinsic patterns and images carved into its surface, and the various decoration techniques of lacquer include "carved lacquer" and "engraved gold".
Younger residents of Beijing have become more attracted to the nightlife, which has flourished in recent decades, breaking prior cultural traditions that had practically restricted it to the upper class.