Beijing (Peking) is the capital of the People's Republic of China. It is spreads across a vast area. Part of its border is formed by the Great Wall of China, a huge wall which stretches along the mountains. It is the ancient seat of government and a modern industrial and commercial city. The population of Beijing is about 10 million people and is still growing, although it is only the second largest city in China.
In 1421 Beijing became the imperial capital of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) and it was during this time that the spacious walled city was built. Like many ancient Chinese cites, the walls and streets were based on the points of the compass. Beijing has remained the capital of China since then. With its modern international airport, it is not surprising that Beijing has become a popular tourist destination. Beijing's broad, straight streets are crowded with people, bicycles and buses. Very few people own a car. Industries include textiles, steel and engineering. It is also a city of great cultural importance. There are more than fifty institutes of higher education, including Beijing University. It has a famous opera, a ballet and some outstanding museums – The Museum of Chinese History and Gugun Museum.
Among the many historical and cultural landmarks in Beijing is Tiananmen Square, one of the largest public squares in the world. It is used for political rallies and military parades.