Greater Beijing is a vast metropolitan area of 16,800 square kilometers (6,486 square miles), first carved out under an imperial government centuries ago. Its unity has been preserved by the People's Republic, and today it is divided into ten districts (ch'u) and eight counties (hsien), which can be delineated into three concentric areas. The central one is the Old City, encompassing four of the ch'u ; this is the area originally enclosed by the city walls. It is further divided into the Inner and Outer Cities, two adjacent areas with the Outer City to the south. At the heart of the Inner City lies the Forbidden City, a historic district that is the former home of China's emperors. The Outer City consists mostly of residential and commercial areas and parks.
|City Fact Comparison|
|Population of urban area1||12,033,000||10,772,000||2,688,000||16,626,000|
|Date the city was founded||723 BC||AD 969||753 BC||1613|
|Daily costs to visit the city2|
|Hotel (single occupancy)||$129||$193||$172||$198|
|Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)||$62||$56||$59||$44|
|Incidentals (laundry, dry cleaning, etc.)||$16||$14||$15||$26|
|Total daily costs (hotel, meals, incidentals)||$207||$173||$246||$244|
|Number of newspapers serving the city||11||13||20||10|
|Largest newspaper||Renmin Ribao||Akhbar El Yom/Al Akhbar||La Repubblica||The Wall Street Journal|
|Circulation of largest newspaper||3,000,000||1,159,450||754,930||1,740,450|
|Date largest newspaper was established||1948||1944||1976||1889|
|1United Nations population estimates for the year 2000.|
|2The maximum amount the U.S. Government reimburses its employees for business travel. The lodging portion of the allowance is based on the cost for a single room at a moderately-priced hotel. The meal portion is based on the costs of an average breakfast, lunch, and dinner including taxes, service charges, and customary tips. Incidental travel expenses include such things as laundry and dry cleaning.|
|3David Maddux, ed. Editor&Publisher International Year Book. New York: The Editor&Publisher Company, 1999.|
Encircling the central city is the zone of inner suburbs that accounts for five of the remaining ch'u. It is home to government buildings, schools, factories, and workers' residences, and its outer belt is cultivated to provide the city with a local supply of fresh produce. The Beijing and Qinghua universities lie in the northwest suburbs of this region.
Beijing's outermost, or far suburban, zone is made up of the one remaining ch'u and the eight hsien, or rural counties. This district consists largely of farmland and supplies the city with agricultural products, as well as coal, lumber, water, and other basic necessities. Its residential areas are primarily country towns.