Beijing is a vibrant, modern city with a long and rich history. Since first becoming a capital city around 3,000 years ago, Beijing has served as the center of many dynasties and kingdoms.
The city has many places of historic interest and scenic beauty, including the Forbidden City - the largest and best-preserved ancient architectural complex in the world; the Temple of Heaven - where Ming and Qing emperors performed solemn rituals for bountiful harvests; the Summer Palace - the emperors' magnificent garden retreat; the Ming tombs--the stately and majestic mausoleums of 13 Ming Dynasty emperors; and the world-renowned and genuinely inspiring Badaling section of the Great Wall. Large-scale construction has brought great changes to Beijing since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 that adds more and more new attractions to the mysterious old city.
As the educational and technological center of China, it is home to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and more than 70 institutions of higher education and research. Students flock to Beijing to attend some of the nation’s most famous universities, including Tsinghua University and Peking University. Zhongguancun --- known as China’s ‘Silicon Valley’ --- is Beijing’s pulsing heart for information technology research and development, and is less than one mile away from Tsinghua. Each year, numerous domestic and international academic conferences are held in Beijing.