Beijing, China

By Nggsc (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Beijing, once called Peking, is the capital and second largest city in China. It has a population of over 21 million people. Beijing has a long and fascinating history. It was first made capital of China in 1324 by the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan and was called Cumubluc when it was explored by the Italian traveler Marco Polo, who traversed the length of the Silk Road. In 1420, the famous "Forbidden City", home of 24 emperors from the Ming and Qing Dynasties was completed. Today, the area is known as the Palace Museum. It features 800 buildings and over 8,000 rooms in its 126 acre area. Beijing's airport is the world's second busiest.

In 2008, Beijing hosted the Summer Olympics and in 2022 will host the Winter Olympics, becoming the first city in Olympic history to host both events. Lately, Beijing has been in the news for its terrible pollution. Scenes of the population walking down the streets in masks are commonplace.


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