Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China. Its name means Northern Capital (Nanjing foron the other hand means Southern Capital). Beijing has more than three thousand years of history and today is a city directly governed by the government, which means that it is directly subordinate to the central government and thus equated with provinces, autonomous regions and special administrative areas. The entire 16.807 square kilometers administrative area of ​​Beijing has 21.5 million inhabitants. It is not a contiguous urban area, with its dominating rural settlement structure, it is more comparable to a province. Of the total population, there are 11.8 million registered permanent residents and 7.7 million temporary residents with temporary residence permits If the core city (high density and closed city form) is taken as the basis, live in Beijing 7.7 million people with primary residence (2007). The metropolitan area (including suburbs) has 11.8 million inhabitants (2007).



The center of the city is the Forbidden City, around which the city extends in a ring. The old city core includes the four inner city districts, these are
Dongcheng, the real heart of the city with the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square
Xicheng, the center of state power, in Zhongnanhai is the seat of government and the seat of the Communist Party
Chongwen, here the most famous attraction is the Temple of Heaven and the Hall of Harvest Offerings.

The city districts follow outwards around this center
Chaoyang with the 2008 Olympic Center and the Bird's Nest
Haidian with the Summer Palace

Other quarters are grouped around it, of which Shunyi is of interest because of the airport and Changping because of the 13 Ming tombs. The Great Wall of China runs along the northern edge of Beijing, worth seeing in the district of Huairou and especially in the district of Yanqing in the town of Badaling.



Beijing has a continental climate with very cold winters and very hot summers. The best time to travel to Beijing is autumn. Then the weather is pleasant and the main season is already over. Spring is also a good time to travel, when it rains little but strong winds from north and west often occur. These are occasionally burdened with unpleasant ground dust that is blown in from the arid regions of Inner Mongolia. From May, temperatures begin to climb above 30 degrees Celsius. During the summer months, most of the annual precipitation falls during the summer monsoon and temperatures can reach over 40 degrees Celsius. Storms and heavy precipitation also occur regularly. Summer is one of the peak travel times and hotels are particularly expensive. The winter is very cold with up to minus 20 degrees Celsius, but the weather is mostly sunny with persistent high pressure. In the winter months, inversion weather conditions occur again and again, which are accompanied by high levels of air pollution (smog). Despite everything, the snow on the roofs of the Forbidden City and on the Great Wall radiates a very special atmosphere that makes a visit attractive even in winter.


Travel Destinations in Beijing

The following are just brief descriptions of some of the major attractions. Further sights and detailed information are listed in the district articles.

A hutong is usually just a narrow alleyway. The traditional houses stood in the streets. The color was mostly a dull gray, corresponding to the building material of cheap bricks. The arrangement of the dwelling houses around an inner courtyard was a w:Siheyuan, access was usually only through a gate.

Of course you can still find hutongs in Beijing, also right in the city center, for example in the district of Dongcheng near the bell and drum towers. There are also hutongs in the Xicheng district near the government district, as well as in many other parts of the city center.
However, many hutongs no longer exist in their original form. Instead, one often finds new old-style courtyards, which are mainly used for tourism, and mostly include small shops and restaurants. And quite often there are bicycle rickshaws just around the corner ready to organize a hutong tour for little money, which almost certainly ends in a shop.

Forbidden City internet (故宫). The Forbidden City, now officially known as the Palace Museum, was the seat of the Chinese emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Construction began in 1406 and was inhabited by 24 emperors until the last emperor was deposed in 1905. There are 9,000 rooms and halls on an area of 720,000 square meters. The Forbidden City has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. How to get there: Subway Tiananmen Dong. More.. Open: 8:30am - 3:30pm October - April, 8:30am - 4:00pm May - September. Price: Admission: 60 yuan, recommended audio guide 40 yuan.
Summer Palace (Chinese: 颐和园/頤和園 Yíhéyuán), in the Haidian district. One of the main attractions of the city.
Old Summer Palace. Also located in Haidian District.

Temple of Heaven (Tiantan), in the Chongwen district.
Lama Temple (Yonghegong), in the Dongcheng district.
Temple of the White Pagoda, in Xicheng District. Price: Entrance fee 20 yuan for Beihai Park.

Great Hall of the People (人民大会堂), in Tiananmen Square
Gate of Heavenly Peace, Tiananmen Square.
Imperial Tombs of the Ming Dynasty
Great Wall at Badaling
Observatory. Literature tip: Julia Rosenberger: Beijing's great moments. In: In Asia, Vol.3 (May/June) (2010), pp.18–23 (German).
Great Wall at Jinshanling and Simatai

Mao Zedong Mausoleum
Monument to the People's Heroes (人民英雄纪念碑)
The Mao Mausoleum is located in Tiananmen Square. Queues form in front of the entrance not only on public holidays. It should also be noted that rucksacks and larger bags are not permitted.

National Museum
naturehistorical Museum
Beijing Art Museum

Streets and squares
Tiananmen Square. Tiananmen Square - Tiananmen Square - is the world's largest fortified square. Up to a million people can gather on it. The square played an important role in post-imperial Chinese politics. The square gained notoriety through the government's bloody crackdown on the democracy movement on June 4, 1989. On the square is the mausoleum of Mao Zedong, who died in 1976. The Monument to the People's Heroes is also on the square. Around the square are u. a. the Gate of Heavenly Peace, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum, the new National Theater and an old city gate to the south. How to get there: Subway Tiananmen Xi, Tiananmen Dong or Qianmen.

Beihai Park, in Xicheng District. Price: Admission 20 yuan.
Jingshan Park, behind the Forbidden City in Dongcheng District. With a beautiful view from the hill over downtown and the Forbidden City. Good to visit after visiting the Forbidden City. Price: Admission 2 yuan.
Ditan Park
Olympic Park, in Chaoyang District. A large park, partly wooded, with a lake and jogging trails, right next to the Olympic venues. Subway 4 "South Gate of Forest Park". Price: Admission free.



What to do

- Walk through the old town alleys (hutongs) and around the central lakes.

- Rent a bike for a few hours or even days and explore the city by bike. A refreshing pleasure, especially in the old town alleys and around the central lakes, but also very easy in the rest of the city due to the wide streets that are usually arranged at right angles.


Getting there

By plane
Beijing Daxing (PKX)
Beijing Daxing Airport, the world's largest by area, opened at the end of September 2019. All SkyTeam alliance flights and a number of Oneworld partner flights land here. The domestic airlines China United, China Eastern and China Southern have moved their hubs here.

The airport can be reached by six bus lines, long-distance trains via Beijing West and a subway line that connects to the urban network in Caoqiao.

Beijing Capital Airport (PEK)
Since 2019, Beijing Capital Airport (Shoudu Jichang) has only been served by Star Alliance members. It is about 20 kilometers northeast of downtown. The airport is a hub for domestic air traffic.

The airport has the usual facilities such as various banks offering currency exchange, ATMs, luggage storage, hotel reservation desks, a relatively useless tourist information center and very expensive restaurants and souvenir shops.

The way from the plane to the exit of the airport can sometimes be a little long; After getting off you first pass the border control (the officials sometimes take a lot of time for the control despite "stop watches" at the counters and it can take up to an hour to pass depending on the rush) and then you take a cable car to the main terminal and to the baggage claim. There is no fast track for international business or first class passengers.

When leaving the country, you should also be prepared for very strict controls - on the way from check-in to the plane, the boarding pass is checked and stamped several times, and you shouldn't be surprised at the fact that screenshots of the X-ray of "suspicious" hand luggage ( especially electronics such as laptops) are temporarily stored together with the boarding pass data and lighters are rigorously confiscated.

There is the Airport Express Train (subway line). This runs from about 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every 20 minutes from Terminal 3 (mostly international flights) to Terminal 2 and then to the city center with a stopover at the "Sanyuanqiao" stop to the final station "Dongzhimen" on the 2nd ring. From there the train goes directly back to Terminal 3. The journey costs 25 RMB (as of 03/2013). From Sanyuanqiao you have the option of continuing on the subway line 10. Dongzhimen connects to Subway Line 2.

There is no train connection. The drive into the city takes about 20 minutes with little traffic, but can easily take an hour and a half from the city center during rush hour. This is especially important when driving back to the airport. Various bus companies and bus lines are available at the airport. Tickets can already be bought in the airport terminal at a ticket counter or at a stand outside the airport building. All buses cost a flat rate of 16 yuan for a ride downtown. Buses run practically around the clock, but the frequency of the individual lines is different. During the day, some lines run every 15 minutes.

A taxi ride will cost around 70 to 100 yuan depending on traffic, plus a 10 yuan fee for using the airport shuttle. There may be an additional charge of 2 or 3 yuan for gasoline at the moment. You get a receipt for everything. Caution: Inside the airport building and in front of it, newly arrived tourists are quickly approached by "taxi operators" who charge 300-400 yuan for a ride. Be sure to take a metered taxi with a red sticker on one of the rear windows showing the price per kilometer (1.20, 1.60 or 2.00 yuan). And then make sure that the taximeter is switched on by the driver at the start of the journey (see also the relevant section under Mobility. Otherwise simply get out or photograph the driver's license card. Discussions with the driver (even just gesticulating) are better if you are in front It is also very likely that when you get into a taxi at the airport, the driver (due to a lack of local knowledge or communication problems) will not know where to go. who can usually help.The manners in China are still much rougher than in Europe, so that one should not be afraid to proceed a little more vigorously here.

A curiosity is also the numerous vehicles waiting on the hard shoulder of the motorway in front of the airport - these are usually chauffeurs who are waiting for the telephone information from their bosses about the landing and only then drive in front of the terminal building at short notice.

By train
Beijing has three major train stations. It is the start or end point of the Trans-Siberian Railway.

By bus
There are more than 1000 buses operating in Beijing. The buses have no calculable travel times, i. H. It is advisable to plan a little more time for journeys by bus. The stops are often only written in Chinese characters. Nevertheless, it can also be used without knowledge of Chinese. Simply take the terminal stop with you in Chinese and the timetables of the lines can be read like this: The names of the stops are written from top to bottom, usually 2-5 Chinese characters. The stops are then displayed next to each other from top to bottom. The current stop is written in red Chinese characters. The following bus stops follow - if no other direction of the arrow is indicated - to the right of the red bus stop.

In addition to the normal bus lines, the so-called express buses also run on the same lines. These express buses do not stop at every stop. The special thing about it is that the normal bus lines and the express lines have the same bus number.

A bus ride is very cheap by European standards and costs 1 yuan in the inner city. You have to have the right money with you and throw it in at the front when boarding. The driver does not give change and usually does not speak English. The buses are not only overcrowded during rush hours and the chance of getting a seat is just a matter of luck.

Still, it's a great experience just getting on a bus and taking it across the city. You can watch a lot of people during the journey and - depending on the bus line you choose - you can also see some of the old buildings in China's capital.

We recommend taking a taxi back (do not forget to have the address of the accommodation in Chinese with you!). The bus lines do not necessarily return the same route they chose on the way there.

In the street
The German or the international driver's license are not recognized in Beijing. If you want to drive there, you should take a taxi and let yourself be driven. Expats who live in Beijing for more than a year can take a Chinese driving test there and, if they pass, obtain a Chinese driver's license.

However, driving in Beijing is a real adventure. The rules are often ignored there and the law of the strongest or the braver prevails, i. H. Cars generally have the right of way over bicycles, trucks and buses have the right of way over cars, and all together have the right of way over pedestrians.

At some Beijing intersections you can now see the efforts of the local regulatory authorities to get the traffic chaos under control: traffic police officers are posted to get control of the situation and to let the traffic flow in a reasonably regulated manner.



Taxis are practically ubiquitous in Beijing's traffic and are a cheap way to get around. The kilometer price for taxis is indicated on a red sticker on the rear window: 1.20, 1.60 or 2.00 yuan. As a rule, the price increases with the comfort. The 1.20 yuan taxis usually do not have air conditioning and are usually smaller than the more expensive ones. At night (11 p.m. - 6 a.m.) there is a 20% surcharge. Taxi drivers are always obliged to turn on the taximeter and you should pay attention to this if you want to avoid unpleasant surprises. Very many taxi drivers do not speak a word of English and do not understand the English names of different places. It is therefore advisable - if you do not want to go to Tiananmen Square or the Forbidden City - to have the destinations written down in Chinese characters in advance.

Due to apparently little knowledge of the area (Beijing is an extremely large city), it is quite possible that the driver does not know where the destination is despite adhering to the aforementioned measures. A map printout (e.g. from Google Maps) can help, but is also no guarantee for problem-free transport. As a rule, however, drivers can get help from colleagues by phone, but it can also happen that a driver refuses to drive because he either does not know the destination, his license is not valid for the destination district or he is simply not interested in it destination to drive.

If there is high demand (e.g. at night or when it rains), it is also possible that there are hardly any taxis available or that the drivers rigorously negotiate the fare. If you agree to it, you should be aware of the amount of the actual fare and in particular insist on adhering to the originally agreed fare if the driver at the destination of the journey demands more money than negotiated at the beginning of the journey.

Beijing's subway, the subway, is an easy way to explore the city because it connects many of the city's attractions and is also very easy to use.

The subway was greatly expanded before the Olympic Games. There are currently nine lines. It is planned to expand the network to 19 lines. One of the lines is a completely above-ground railway (line 13). A trip costs between 3 and 7 yuan, depending on the distance. The fares are displayed at each station on a special route map and on the screens of the ticket machines. You first select the line where the destination is and then the exit station, the fare is calculated automatically. In addition, it is possible to buy tickets for up to 10 people at once. Ticket machines accept 1 yuan coins as well as the smallest note starting at 10 yuan, which is worth more than the fare to be paid. The single-ride tickets must be inserted into a reader at the starting station and are automatically retained when you leave the destination station. The trains run every few minutes at peak times and it can sometimes get very tight. The trains run between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. Subway stations are identified by a sign with a D and a circle around it (similar to the "@" sign).

The Circle Line (Line 2) runs in a circle around downtown. Important stations are Beijingzhan below the Beijing Railway Station (Beijing Railway Station), Qianmen at the southern end of Tiananmen Square, Fuxingmen and Jianguomen as transfer stations to Line 1, Xizhimen at the North Train Station (Beijing North Train Station) and transfer station for buses to the Summer Palace and Dongzhimen near Hepingli Railway Station (Hepingli Train Station). The latter two are also transfer stations for line 13, which opens up the northern city areas in a U-shape. The East-West Line (Line 1) forms an east-west axis through Beijing. Important stations are the transfer stations for Line 2 (Fuxingmen and Jianguomen), Wangfujing on the shopping street of the same name and Tiananmen Dong at the north end of Tiananmen Square and at the southern entrance to the Forbidden City.

When entering each subway station, a security check must also be passed. In most stations, only carry-on luggage is screened (although nobody really pays attention to the contents), while people without carry-on luggage can simply go through. At some heavily frequented stations, however, there is also a very superficial scan like at the airport, which all passengers have to undergo.

Volker Häring: Qu narrrrrr ... In: In Asia, Vol. 6 (November/December) (2007), pp. 46-50 (German). - by taxi through Beijing



In Beijing, as everywhere in China, there is a separate market for every product. There are markets for everything, who z. For example, if you want to buy a computer, you go to one of the many multi-storey electronics markets where dealer after dealer is lined up. It is important to always have the goods demonstrated and then not to give them out of your hands again when you want them. Clothing is best bought opposite the zoo. Along the Xizhimen Outer Street (chin. 西直门) there are huge clothing markets above and below ground, all of which are connected to each other. A ceiling held up is usually used as a changing room.

If you want to buy art supplies, go southeast of Qiamen to the Hanjia Hutong. Everything for the artist is here. Brushes, rice paper, musical instruments, paintings, etc.

If you prefer to go shopping in a department store, you can do that too. Almost every corner of Beijing has department stores in a wide variety of price ranges. The most accessible for foreign visitors are those in Xidan, west of the Forbidden City. Here is also the largest bookshop in the city, where you can find something on every subject.

On some occasions one can try to bargain for prices, especially with street vendors, art or souvenirs. This is unusual or impossible in department stores or supermarkets. However, other travelers have had the experience that you can also try to bargain in department stores, especially if you buy several items.

If you are looking for a suitable souvenir or for clothes that Europeans also consider to be pretty, you should visit the following streets and markets. Bargaining is the top priority in the tourist markets, unless the price is of no interest to you. In principle, depending on skill, a 50% discount is possible. If you are good and buy several things, you can bargain down to 40% of the original price. Foreign tourists in particular are often ripped off. (If you buy something from an old street vendor or in a remote area without tourists, you should reduce bargaining to a minimum. The price does not hurt us and the dealer is happy to have sold something to secure his life.) If you have found something, what you really want, you should buy it. Experience teaches you will never find anything like it again.

Sanlitun (Chinese三里屯). The quintessential tourist market, slightly east of the Workers Stadium. With Sanlitun Village, a building complex of the upper class has emerged in which wealthy Chinese and urban youth gather. With flagship stores from companies such as Adidas, Apple and Uniqlo, current and genuine goods can be found on several buildings there. Next door in the Yashow-Market - an older shopping building - there are supposedly cheap clothes and expensive tailors. All salespeople there speak very good English and there are bags, clothes, sunglasses, which of course are not always genuine, but are often sold as such. This market is especially popular with Americans.
Wangfujing (Chinese: 王府井, Wángfǔjǐng). This street is the tourist shopping street in Beijing with department stores and fast food for foreign and Chinese tourists. For foreigners there is the Foreign Language Bookstore and various exotic dishes (from 5 p.m.). If you want to bring something nice home with you, go to one of the many 10 yuan shops that are located between the department stores. In mountains of jewellery, mirrors, chopsticks, fans, etc., you can occasionally find a nice piece. You just need a lot of patience when rummaging through the goods and with the crowds of people who rummage with them. Right at the entrance to Wangfujin there is a beautiful old market, which, in addition to small snacks, has everything that makes a tourist's heart beat faster.

Qianmen (Chinese: 前门). Especially for tourists, the area behind Tiananmen Square has been restored as it was in the Qing Dynasty. There are nice tea houses and you can take a Peking duck with you. On the edge of the area there is still the old market, which was dominant there until 2008. Here you can buy very good traditional Chinese clothes.

Those who cannot do without German products should look in the grocery stores in the large department stores. There is often a small selection of European products from German beer to muesli.


Restaurants and cuisine

Traditional Beijing cuisine is sweet. The most famous dish is of course the Peking duck. However, you shouldn't eat these in the inventor's restaurant in Qianmen, but in one of the many other duck restaurants. There are of course all other Chinese dishes and tons of restaurants. The only problem here could be the language. Not all restaurants have menus in English or maps with pictures. Those who prefer to eat Japanese will find various sushi chains that don't have to hide behind the chains in Japan. In the urban area of Beijing you can always find trends that combine western cuisine with Chinese cuisine. So you can find z. B. Peking duck burger or Beijing pizza.

The Donghuamen Night Market has been running from east Donganmen Road to north Chenguang Road from 5pm every day since 1984. A great many special Chinese "snacks" can be tried there, which are rather unusual for European palates. Something similar can be found all day next to Wangfujin Street.
Chinese Food for Beginners: Every major department store has a floor just for food. Here you can see the finished plates and can easily show the chef what you want. Depending on the department store, the payment is different. You usually get a receipt, pay it and take the stamped receipt back to the chef. On the sixth floor of the Dongan Department Store, a large department store on Wangfujing Street, there are two places in front of the elevators where you can deposit money that is booked onto a plastic card (similar to a credit card). You can use this card to make cashless payments in all restaurants and pick up the remaining amount when you leave.
If you don't get along with Chinese cuisine, you're in good hands here. Paulaner Bräuhaus Beijing, Kempinski Hotel Beijing, Lufthansa Center, 50 Liangmaqiao Road, Chaoyang District, 100125 Beijing. Phone: +86 10 6465 3388, Fax: +86 10 6465 1023, Email: Bavarian cuisine and Bavarian beer with some German-speaking waiters. Open: daily from 11.00 a.m. to 01.00 a.m.


Night life

The Hard Rock Cafe was closed more than two years ago, there is no new one in Beijing either!



In general, it can be said that the prices of upscale (from 4 stars) accommodation in Beijing are significantly cheaper than in Europe. It is not uncommon for one to get an overnight stay in such a hotel, including breakfast, for the price of a corresponding 2-star accommodation in Europe. In addition, one should be aware that the star classification in Asia in general usually includes more services than the corresponding category in European hotels.

Landmark Hotel, 8 North Dongsanhuan Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100004. Tel: +86(10) 6590 6688, Fax: +86(10) 6590 6513, Email: The hotel is located between the airport and downtown near Lufthansa Center (Paulaner Brauhaus) in the same building as Hard Rock Cafe Beijing.

Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center, No.50 Liangmaqiao Road, Chaoyang District. Tel: +86 10 6465 3388, Fax: +86 10 6465 3366, Email: Modern European five star hotel in the northern part of Chaoyang, distinguished by its location, service, seven restaurants and comfort. Established in 1992, the Kempinski Hotel caters primarily to the needs of business travellers. Check-in: 2:00 p.m. Check-out: 12:00 p.m.



Beijing is generally a very safe city. Apart from the traffic, you will hardly find yourself exposed to any major danger, although tourists are often the target of small rip-offs and tricks. Everywhere you pay a price premium as a tourist and you can often find salespeople removing price tags as soon as you inquire about the price of an item. As a rule, you shouldn't pay more than half that outside of markets; in markets, the starting prices are much more expensive (up to ten times the realistic price). In general, you have to negotiate.

In transactions of any kind, you should take a closer look at the banknotes you are given. It will also be observed that the locals subject every major note to a check. In fact, a fair amount of counterfeit money seems to be in circulation. One should be suspicious when retailers try to deliberately return larger bills by voluntarily lowering the price again or asking for a suitable additional payment. You should never feel under time pressure and calmly count the amount even with larger amounts of change and especially check the 50 yuan and 100 yuan banknotes. You should pay attention to the paper. If it feels unfamiliar, feel free to ask for another bill. This is generally not taken as an insult and is a normal process. The watermark should be slightly fuzzy and blurry, with no sharp edges or borders. The green print should be noticeable as a relief. Washed-out colors, on the other hand, do not have to be an indicator of counterfeit money.

Everywhere in Beijing you will be approached by so-called hawkers who want to sell you all kinds of things, often road maps, postcards, toys and all kinds of trinkets. Under no circumstances should you follow self-declared "art students" who, at best, will land you in a shabby shop and more or less force you to buy something. A degree of caution should also be exercised with offers of Great Wall trips. Many of the cheap (and also expensive) tour operators that flyers e.g. For example, at the Forbidden City or at the Beijing train station, tourists drive to shops with traditional medicine and cheap jewelry outside of Beijing, and then sometimes ask for a surcharge for the actual trip to the wall.

Another way to get money from tourists is for students who just want to improve their English without being interested in selling anything. After a certain time, the tourist is taken to a tea house, where they serve very, very expensive tea, as it turns out afterwards. However, with a little practice, most of these people are recognizable at first glance, as they are typically ladies pacing aimlessly ("as ordered and not picked up"), who usually distinguish themselves from their surroundings with an exaggerated Stand out clothing style. If you are addressed by these people ("Hello, sir, please, sir, wait a moment, sir!"), there is no harm in practicing ignorance.

A certain level of caution is also advisable with taxis. Apart from the sometimes very expensive airport taxis (see Arrival), you should not negotiate a price in advance in the city, but always insist on the taximeter. Drivers are very good at estimating prices and would not accept a negotiated price lower than the taximeter price. For longer trips in the surrounding area, however, you should agree on a fixed price. Of course, you should only use taxis that also have a red sticker on the rear side windows that states the kilometer fare (see mobility). At the beginning of the journey, make sure that the taximeter is switched on.

Be careful at zebra crossings and pedestrian lights. Drivers don't necessarily obey or can be too drunk, and turning right at a red light is either legal or just common practice. It should also not come as a surprise that motorcycles always have priority over pedestrians (even if they are on the sidewalk) or sometimes drive against the actual direction of travel. If there is an overpass or underpass, you should use that as well. In particular, the countless electric bicycles and scooters are approaching without being able to hear them, sometimes at considerable speeds.



Health care is certainly one of the most important areas to address as a traveler or expat when traveling abroad.

Before the trip, it is advisable to put together a first-aid kit containing the most common medicines. These include: painkillers, fever-reducing preparations, disinfectants, iodine, nasal spray, cough syrup, anti-nausea agents, anti-diarrheal agents. Not to forget, of course, the medication that a chronically ill person has to take regularly. In the pharmacies in Beijing you can find everything. You can get any medication without a prescription, even strong antibiotics. Chinese doctors also always recommend traditional Chinese medicine.

The standard vaccinations against polio, diphtheria and tetanus as well as a vaccination against hepatitis A and (for longer stays > three months) B are recommended as basic vaccinations.

You can find out more about this from your doctor/pharmacist.

The water quality in China is not subject to such high quality requirements as the water supply in Germany. Drinking tap water is not recommended. Boiled water should not be drunk or used for cooking, nor should it be used to brush your teeth. For such purposes, water dispensers are available in most hotel and private apartments (especially those of expats), which are freshly filled with some kind of simple mineral water. The water from the tap is suitable for showering without any problems. When consuming any kind of meat and fish/seafood, care should be taken that it is well cooked and fresh. If you are not satisfied with the quality, you should return the dish.

With fruit, make sure that the fruit is only eaten peeled. Unpeeled fruit and vegetables should not be eaten.

Should you still fall ill, the hospitals in Beijing are available at any time of the day or night. “The regional medical practice of the German embassy in Beijing is located in the French embassy together with the Center Médical (group practice) and is open to all EU citizens. The practice has its own laboratory, pharmacy, diagnostics (ultrasound, ECG/stress, 24-hour RR and ECG, spirometry, audiometry) and an emergency room. All vaccines are in stock (including yellow fever), prices according to GOÄ (doctor’s fee schedule), payment in cash in RMB or euros.” Another option is the International Medical Center with 24-hour service: Room 106, Beijing Lufthansa Centre, 50 Liangmaqiao Lu, Tel. 6465 1561-3, Dental Clinic: Tel. 6465 1384.

The use of medical services must be paid for in full in cash or by credit card after the treatment (sometimes beforehand as security).

It is recommended to take out international health insurance for the duration of your stay.

Since Beijing is generally covered by a haze, the stay can be a bit difficult for asthmatics or small children/elderly people.


Practical hints

Opening hours: Banks and government offices are open five days a week, usually from 9am to 5pm with a break for lunch. However, ATMs are available 24 hours a day. Museums are usually also open on weekends and some close very early. Some parks are open longer.

Most sockets have several types of plugs, including the slim German plug. The voltage is 220 volts at 50 Hertz AC so an adapter is not needed. If they do, adapters can be bought at many places in Beijing.

Anyone who has reached the age of 18 is of legal age. This is especially true for driving. There is no legal minimum age for the consumption of alcohol or tobacco. When it comes to drugs, Chinese authorities don't take a joke and impose draconian penalties. In large quantities, this can also be the death penalty.

The metric system is officially used in China. In some cases, however, the old weight units jin (0.6 kilograms) and liang (37.5 grams) are still found.

Credit cards are not accepted everywhere. Large hotels and very touristy restaurants now generally accept credit cards, but you might want to ask here as well. Credit card fees are often added to the price (up to 4 percent). It is usually cheaper to pay with cash. In the meantime, however, many Chinese bank machines also support German EC cards. Here it is important to look out for the Maestro sign on the machine. The amount is paid directly in RMB and debited from the account at the current exchange rate. However, a fee is due from the credit institutions, which can be three to four euros per debit. It is advisable to check the conditions of your own bank for this case beforehand. In the Jianguomennei Dajie there is a branch of the Citybank with an ATM.

Money can best be exchanged in banks, but this can sometimes take a very long time, since a number usually has to be drawn first and the counter officials are very happy to take their time. Some hotels also offer currency exchange. When changing money, you should always have an ID with you. The receipts should not be thrown away, as you may have to show them when you exchange them at the end of your stay.

The behavior of the residents of Beijing, especially in public spaces, can certainly be described as ruthless and inconsiderate, although the situation has improved in recent years. Apparently there is a Chinese saying, "Missing a personal opportunity is worse than wasting a family fortune"; True to this motto, there is a certain egotism, especially in larger crowds, and people jostle wherever possible. The boarding and alighting process in public transport has improved somewhat, where people usually wait until other passengers have got off when boarding, but it can still be a little tighter at rush hour. As soon as the doors open, passengers then rush in both from the inside out and from the platform/stop. If you don't get a tactically clever position in time or even exercise polite restraint, you'll quickly lose out. Even when stopping a taxi, it sometimes happens that another interested party simply gets in while you are still negotiating with the driver.

Likewise, when crossing streets, regardless of the traffic light phase, you should always be aware that four-wheeled and two-wheeled road users will not stop to give way to pedestrians. One should pay particular attention to the frequently encountered electric bicycles and scooters, which often approach at breakneck speed and without making any significant noise.

To put it succinctly: Anyone in China who does not speak Chinese and/or cannot read the characters is like deaf and dumb. But don't worry, in the course of globalization and also with regard to hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics, English is becoming more and more widespread in Beijing.

In western hotels, the staff often speak good English.

On the other hand, using public transport or a taxi is problematic. Most of the time, no English is spoken there, which means that you have to have the address of your destination and - and this is very important - the address of your accommodation written down in Chinese characters so that you can find your way back.



Representatives of Homo erectus already lived in the area of present-day Beijing 770,000 ± 80,000 years ago; they came to be known as Peking people of origin after their remains were discovered in Zhoukoudian, 50 km southwest of downtown, in the 1920s and 1930s.

Many Oldowan-type stone tools and bone tools were found at the site. In 1987, Zhoukoudian was inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.

The time before the Yuan Dynasty came to power
Ji (Reed) – 1000 BC Chr.
The history of the city of Beijing dates back to the Western Zhou Dynasty (1121-770 BC) when it was named Ji (reed). The city was founded under this name in 1000 BC. Chr. first mentioned in a document. Ji was at that time a center for trade with the Mongols and Koreans, as well as various tribes from Shandong and central China.

Yanjing (capital of the Yan) - 475 to 221 BC Chr.
During the Warring States Period, Beijing was the capital of Yan, hence the name Yanjing (capital of the Yan). 221 BC The later first emperor Qin Shihuangdi (259-210 BC) occupied the city during his war of unification. Under his reign the northern walls were fortified.

Renaming back to Ji (reed) – after 221 BC Chr.
The Qin Dynasty emperors again changed the name to Ji. Under their rule, Beijing lost its status as a capital to Xianyang as well as in importance.

In the following centuries, Ji developed from an insignificant provincial town into a trading hub and important military base for the defense of China's northern borders and was repeatedly occupied by steppe and nomadic peoples from the north because of its strategic importance.

Youzhou - 618 to 907 AD
During the Tang Dynasty (AD 618–907), a military governor ruled in the city now called Youzhou. It was always overshadowed by the then Chinese capital of Chang'an. It was only under the foreign rule of the Liao dynasty that Beijing regained some of its former importance.

In 937, the Kitan under Te-kuang (926–947) conquered part of northern China and established their seat of power in Beijing. In 960 the Kitan in the Song Dynasty had an equal opponent. The Song dynasty attempted to retake northern China in 979, but failed to defeat the Kitan general Yelü Hsiu-ko before Beijing. Yelü Hsiu-ko was also victorious in 986.

Zhongdu (Middle Capital) – 1153 to 1215
After the Jurchen conquest in 1153, Beijing became the capital of the Jin Dynasty and was magnificently expanded under the name of Zhongdu (“Middle Capital”). Over 100,000 workers were hired to expand the city.

Khanbaliq / Dadu (City of Khan / Great Capital) - after 1215
In 1215 the troops of Genghis Khan (1162-1227) took Beijing. They sacked the city and set it on fire. Kublai Khan later had Dadu (the great capital) built on the old ruins, which also became known as Khanbaliq (City of the Khan, near Marco Polo Cambaluc). With the creation of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, the city gained a dominant position.

The rule of the Yuan Dynasty
During the reign of Kublai Khan (1215-1294), the founder of the Yuan dynasty, Beijing was planned and expanded under the name of Dadu as the capital of the Yuan. The city was the main residence of the Mongols from 1264 to 1368. At that time, the grandson of Genghis Khan was in charge of almost all of East Asia and the first Europeans – including Marco Polo (1254–1324), according to his own statements – came to Beijing via the famous Silk Road.

Marco Polo, who was Kublai's guest and worked in the city for a while, was extremely impressed by the great sophistication: "There are so many houses and people that nobody could number them... I don't think there is any place in the world that sees so many traders, so many valuable and peculiar goods and treasures coming from all directions..."

The wealth was due to the city's location at the starting point of the Silk Road, and according to Polo, "almost a day more than a thousand carts loaded with silk" arrived in the city for onward journeys to lands west of China.

In a display of style and splendor unparalleled by the great khans who later came to be called emperors, Kublai built a palace of enormous proportions, protected on all sides by walls and accessed by marble staircases.

Development of power under the Ming and Qing dynasties
In 1368 the Yuan dynasty was succeeded by the Ming dynasty. Hongwu (1328–1398), the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty, had his capital in Nanjing (Southern Capital) built on the Yangzi River and changed the name Dadus to Beiping (北平, Běipíng, Pei-p'ing - "Northern Peace" ).

Beginning in 1408, Emperor Yongle began to completely rebuild the city under its new name Beijing (Northern Capital). Among other things, he created the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven, with which Yongle outlined important elements of urban development. In 1421, Yongle appointed Beijing as the new capital of the Ming Dynasty. During the subsequent Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the city was expanded with more temples and palaces. This period was marked by the rise and fall of the Manchu and Qing dynasties respectively.

The capital experienced its heyday during the first half of the 18th century under the emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong. At that time, the Qing also built the legendary Summer Palace north of the city, a unique garden complex for the nobility with 200 pavilions, temples and palace buildings against the backdrop of a vast landscape of man-made lakes and hills. Together with the imperial palace, it formed the center and symbol of Chinese glory and development of power.

However, during the Second Opium War in 1860, British and French troops advanced to the walls of the capital and the Summer Palace was first looted by the British and then set on fire, practically burning it to the ground. While the imperial court lived in a separate, walled city in a spacious area, the civilian population had to live under inhumane conditions.

From 1884, the Empress Dowager Cixi (1835–1908) began to build a new summer palace for herself with funds that were actually intended for the modernization of the Chinese navy. Their project, as the last major symbol, marked the end of imperial architectural splendor and patronage - and like its predecessor it was destroyed by fire by foreign soldiers during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. At the time, the empire and the imperial capital were on the verge of collapse as a result of successive waves of foreign occupation.


Beijing after the Manchu abdication

After the Manchu abdication and the founding of the Republic of China in 1912, Beijing remained the political center of China until 1928. Then Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) established the capital in Nanjing. Being under the control of rival warlords, Beijing was renamed Beiping (Northern Peace) by the Kuomintang in 1928 to indicate that it was not a capital city.

During the tumultuous 1920s, mass rallies of residents erupted in Beijing, first in 1925 to protest the massacre of Chinese demonstrators in Shanghai by British soldiers, and in 1926 to express their anger at the government's ignominious surrender to Japan in Manchuria. announce crisis. As the protesters marched toward government agencies, soldiers opened fire on them.

The city was occupied by the Japanese Army during the Marco Polo Bridge Incident (Lugouqiao) at the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on July 19, 1937. The city was only liberated by the Kuomintang and US Marines in 1945 after the end of the Pacific War.


The period since the communists took power

In January 1949, the Communists took Beijing—nine months before Chiang Kai-shek's flight to Taiwan made final victory a certainty. Following the founding of the People's Republic of China by Mao Zedong on October 1, 1949, the communist government declared Beijing the capital again.

The rebuilding of the capital and the eradication of the symbols of previous regimes were top priorities for the new rulers. In order to free itself from the past and build a modern capital of the people, a large part of the valuable old building fabric was destroyed or misused. For example, the Temple of Cultivated Wisdom was converted into a wire factory and light bulbs were manufactured in the Temple of the Fire God. In the 1940s the city still had 8,000 temples and monuments, by the 1960s this number had shrunk to 150.

Beijing became the scene of a massive popular uprising in 1989, when almost a million demonstrators took to Tiananmen Square in the city center between April and June of that year to express their displeasure at the slow pace of reforms, the lack of freedom and the far widespread corruption. A huge statue, the goddess of freedom, made to carry a torch in both hands, was made by art students and juxtaposed with the portrait of Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square.

As a result, the Chinese government imposed martial law on May 20 of that year. On June 4, 1989, the peacefully demonstrating democracy movement was brutally crushed by the army; thousands of civilians died.

On October 20, 1998, the country's first human rights conference opened in Beijing. More than 100 representatives from 27 countries took part in the conference. – In July 2001, the International Olympic Committee designated Beijing as the venue for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The biggest problems the city is facing today because of a failed (modern) urban planning policy are the increasing immigration, the air pollution caused by outdated factories and the excessive traffic that is bringing the city to the brink of gridlock and its share of poor air quality contributes.


Population development

As early as 1450, 600,000 people lived in Beijing. By 1800, the city's population had risen to 1.1 million. After a temporary decline to 693,000 in 1900, the population grew to 1.6 million in 1930 and to 2.8 million in 1953. In 2007, 7.7 million people lived in the core city (high building density and closed town form), two and a half times as many as in 1953. The population density is 5639 inhabitants per square kilometer. In Berlin, for comparison, there are 3,800. In 2007, 11.8 million people lived in the metropolitan region of Beijing, which also includes the suburban belt surrounding the city proper. The population density in 2007 was 1337 people per square kilometer.

The entire administrative area of the direct government city of Beijing, which also includes extensive rural areas, had around 21.5 million inhabitants in 2016. In 2015, the population was 21.7 million, of which 13.5 million were registered permanent residents (戶口 / 户口, hùkǒu) and 8.2 million temporary residents (流動人口 / 流动人口, liúdòng rénkǒu) were temporary residents (暫住證 / 暂住证, zànzhùzhèng).

If you want to stay longer than three days in the city, you have to report to the Office for Public Security and will be registered there. The applicant then receives a temporary residence permit for three months, which must be renewed after the period has expired. A certificate from the place of origin must be submitted to the office, confirming that the person is registered there. There are also about a million guest workers in the city, mostly unskilled migrant workers and illegal immigrants who are not recorded by official statistics. Since the birth rate is low, population growth is mainly due to immigration. The natural growth rate of the permanent resident population in Beijing is currently 0.9 per 1,000 people, birth rate: 6.0 per 1,000 people, death rate: 5.1 per 1,000 people.

About 95.7% of the population are Han. The largest ethnic minority with over 1.8% of the population are the Manchu; with 1.74%, the Muslim Hui Chinese are in second place. There are also significant groups of Mongolians (0.3% of the Beijing population) and Koreans (0.15%). All of China's ethnic groups are also represented in small numbers among Beijing residents; The De'ang, a Mon-Khmer people, with four inhabitants, are in last place quantitatively. The Chinese spoken in Beijing largely corresponds to Standard Chinese (Putonghua), the official language of the People's Republic of China, with some colloquialisms.

The following overview shows the population of the core city (without the suburban belt). Registered residents with main residence in Beijing are listed.



Geographical location

Located 110 kilometers northwest of the Bohai Gulf in the heart of Hebei Province, Beijing is an independently administered sub-government city with an area of 16,807.8 km², which is roughly the area of the federal state of Thuringia or Styria. Of this, however, only 1,369.9 km² (8%) belong to the core city (high building density and closed town form). 15,398.4 km² (92%) consists of suburbs and areas with a rural settlement structure. The Beijing metropolitan area, including the suburban belt surrounding the city proper, has an area of 8,859.9 km².

The city is located on the northwestern edge of the densely populated North China Plain at an average elevation of 63 meters above sea level and is surrounded by mountains (Mongolian Plateau). The highest point in the administrative area of Beijing is the Ling Shan (more precisely: Dongling Shan 東靈山 / 东灵山) with 2303 meters. The area stretches over 180 km in a north-south direction and over 170 km in an east-west direction. Other major cities in the administrative area of Beijing are (as of January 1, 2007): Mentougou 205,574 inhabitants, Tongzhou 169,770 inhabitants, Shunyi 122,264 inhabitants, Huangcun 109,043 inhabitants and Fangshan 100,855 inhabitants.



The North China Plain (Great Plain) in which Beijing lies is geologically a collapse field that was later filled in by the delta formations of the North China Currents. It consists of alluvial loess and sands brought in by the rivers from the western mountainous countries. So the plain is a continuation of the loessland.

It is also similar to the neighboring Loessberg countries in terms of climate - hot, humid summers and dry, cold winters with dust storms - and in terms of plant geography - parkland with steppe-like features. The North China Plain is a huge alluvial fan created by the Huang He, the world's muddiest river, over the course of many millennia, and its foothills reach the Yellow Sea to the north and south of the Shandong Peninsula.

The area is exposed to strong tectonic stresses that repeatedly lead to earthquakes, which is why the Jiufeng earthquake station was set up in 1930. The cause is the slow northward shift of the Indian tectonic plate into the Eurasian tectonic plate. The average speed of plate tectonics is about four centimeters per year.

On July 28, 1976, the most serious earthquake of the 20th century occurred in Tangshan, 140 km east of Beijing (see Tangshan earthquake of 1976). It had a magnitude of 8.2 on the Richter scale. The official figure from the government of the People's Republic of China on the number of dead is 242,419, but some estimates put the number up to 800,000 dead, and the strength is officially only given as 7.8. The quake also caused damage in Beijing and other cities in the region.


Environmental issues

The Chinese capital is struggling with numerous environmental problems. These include excessive river pollution, problems with drinking water supplies, air pollution, shortcomings in local public transport and excessive traffic congestion. Since the early 1990s, the government has made increased efforts to promote environmental protection. Laws have been passed on recycling, environmental impact assessment, increasing energy efficiency and air pollution control.

To improve air quality, stricter emission regulations have been enacted. Since January 1, 2003, only passenger cars that meet the Euronorm 2 have been registered. Since March 1, 2008, all new cars must meet the Euro IV standard. Numerous diesel-powered buses have been replaced by natural gas buses. In addition, the proportion of electrically operated trolleybuses in the total of 18,000 buses in Beijing rose to around five percent. Local rail transport, especially the subway network, is also being greatly expanded. However, air pollution in the metropolis remains a concern. The high levels of particulate matter and other air pollutants are a major problem.

As part of the Clean Air Plan, all of the city's coal-fired power plants were shut down from 2013 to 2017 and replaced with low-emission gas-fired power plants. A program was also launched with the aim of converting residential buildings heated with coal to electric heat pump heating systems.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the air quality in the capital is one of the worst in the world. The causes lie in the numerous factories and power plants as well as in traffic and in private households. Due to the rapid urbanization, the sharp increase in traffic and the concentration of industry in the metropolitan area, the excessive pollution and smog pose a serious threat to public health. During inversion weather conditions, respiratory diseases in particular increase among the population of the capital.


Development of the housing situation

According to Forbes' 2009 list of the World's Most Expensive Cities To Live, Beijing is considered a very high cost of living city and one of the most expensive cities in the world. In a 2018 ranking of cities according to their quality of life, Beijing ranked 119th out of 231 cities surveyed worldwide.

Many elements of modern urban planning policies were devastating to the populace, creating more problems than they solved. A large part of the traditional courtyard houses (siheyuan) in the narrow streets (hutongs), which were considered a breeding ground for individualists, have been demolished since 1949. Their place was taken by anonymous new buildings made of concrete, often with inadequate sanitary facilities and hardly any running water.

When extensive renovation work on the buildings seemed urgently needed in the late 1960s, an underground tunnel network was built instead, which was intended to provide protection in the event of war. Millions of man-hours were invested in the project, which could not provide protection against modern bombs and ultimately only led to the lowering of the water table.

In 1950, the government ordered the killing of all dogs in the Chinese capital. The killing of numerous sparrows in 1956 - the measure was originally intended to protect grain stocks - resulted in the insects being able to reproduce more quickly. To counteract this, the city government ordered the removal of all green spaces in the capital, which in turn caused dust storms in the windy winter months.

At the beginning of the new millennium, major urban regeneration projects were underway to prepare Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Various efforts to curb air pollution have already been made; Factories that could not be further modernized had to close. Open spaces have been brought to life again by extensive greening. The polluted canals were dredged.

As the guiding star on China's path to modernity, Beijing is leading the way in transforming the country. Buildings are being demolished and new ones erected at a rapid pace, as evidenced by the white characters 拆 (chāi for demolition) on old houses and the many construction cranes. Mostly modern concrete and glass buildings are being erected in the city center, and numerous office complexes are being built along the broad main avenues. The housing there is not affordable for the poorer sections of the population. They are pushed to the outskirts of the city.

Most residents of Beijing live in high-rise buildings. Two residential areas are particularly important for this: the Wangjing area in the northeast and the Huilongguan residential area in the northwest. To deal with the problem of overpopulation, a number of satellite cities, each with more than 500,000 inhabitants, are under construction and planning as part of large-scale construction measures.