Beijing is a great city, the gateway to China, the centre of a great and rising nation. It has changed dramatically during the last 25 years and taken on a vibrant modern aspect, but it still retains its historical character. The Olympics in 2008 are a sign that Beijing is taking its place among the prime cities of the world, a centre of political and economic power with a rich cultural legacy. Beijing has been China's capital for over 750 years. It was rebuilt by Khubilai Khan in the 13th century and its layout still follows his plans, it saw out the Mongols, the Ming and Qing dynasties in the Imperial Place until the Revolution of 1911. There followed 4 decades of chaos and war, until 1949, when Mao Zedong stood on the Gate of Heavenly Peace in the heart of Beijing to proclaim the foundation of the People's Republic of China. It will also have practical information and be illustrated with maps on exploring the city and a Chronology of Events. See list of Special Topics.
Stephen G.Haw took his BA degree in Chinese at the University of Oxford. He also holds MA degrees from both Oxford and London Universities and spent 2 years as a student at the University of Shandong in China. He has travelled extensively in Central Asia and China for more than 20 years and knows Beijing very well. He has a strong interest in botany and has made a particular study of the flora of China.