Beijing is not just the capital of China. It is also the cultural center of China. Home to sights such as the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and the Temple of Heaven, Beijing also has a vibrant food, music, and cultural scene. People say that while Shanghai is a great international city, Beijing is the quintessential Chinese city.
Beijing was not always the capital of China, but it has been for the past 800 years. The Manchus, rulers of China during the Qing Dynasty, moved the capital from Xi’an to Beijing after they came into power. Beijing is located closer to traditional Manchu land, and you can still see some Manchu influences in the city itself, as well as the neighboring northern cities.
- The qipao, China’s most internationally famous style of dress, is actually Manchurian.
- Even today, Beijing’s geographical location is criticized because of it’s poor location. Sandstorms frequently blow in from nearby Inner Mongolia, and it is right at the “neck of the rooster” (to the Chinese, China’s geographical shape looks like a large rooster). Cut off Beijing, and you cut the head off the rooster.
- Beijing’s locals are famous for their loud, friendly personalities, as well as their infamous “Beijingnese.” Although they speak Mandarin (in fact, Mandarin came from Beijing), the locals pepper their speech with the famous “er,” adding this suffix to just about every word, rendering it impossible for most non-Beijingers to fully understand them.
- Ironically, Beijing, while being the home of the Communist Party, has a large underground punk and heavy metal scene.