Beijing is the capital of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, educational center and home to the headquarters for most of China's largest state-owned companies.
Governed as a municipality under the direct administration of the national government, Beijing is divided into 14 urban and suburban districts and two rural counties. It is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and motorways passing through the city, and the destination of many international flights to China.
As one of the four ancient capitals, with more than 3000 years of the city history, Beijing blends of Chinese culture from the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, with many historical sites and cultural landscapes. Beijing is the city with the most World Heritage Sites and is the world's first capital city with a world geological park. More than 200 tourist attractions are opened to the public including many world famous attractions such as Badaling Great Wall, Mutianyu Great Wall, etc. different sections of the Great Wall; the world's largest palace - Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven; the Imperial Garden - Summer Palace, Old Summer Palace, Beihai Park; and the world's largest courtyard Prince Gong's Mansion. Quadrangle courtyard and the Hutong is the representative of the traditional culture in Beijing. During Beijing tour to Hutong and quadrangle courtyards, tourists could learn more about this traditional culture. Beijing's cultural life is rich and varied, ranging various types of performances and international exhibitions. Known as the "essence" of China, Peking Opera has two hundred years of history. The gorgeous costumes, beautiful singing, and amazing mask are impressive. Beijing's nightlife is equally attractive for all the travelers. Houhai, Sanlitun and Nanluoguxiang Bar Streets are the best places to experience Beijing nightlife.
Besides the historical relics, modern architectures such as the Grand Theater, Bird's Nest, Water Cube, Financial Street, large shopping centers, etc. show the flourishing and fast development of modern Beijing. As the capital city very rich in tourism resources, Beijing is usually regarded as the first destination of China travel.
In order to facilitate the international visitors' short stay in Beijing, 72 Hours Visa Free Transit policy is carried out From Jan. 1st 2013. Passport holders of 51 countries and regions are granted a visa-free stay of up to 72 hours with a third country flight ticket.