Beijing has a history of nearly 3,050 years. It was the capital of the Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, attracting countless people from afar, and boasting both cultural and material riches. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, a clear, complete layout consisting of four layers of city walls took shape. Beijing was divided into four parts: the Forbidden City, the Imperial City,the Inner City and the Outer City. With different functions and structures, the four parts of the city each formed its own local culture, distinct from, but supplementing one another.

Constituting a symbol of the old Beijing, these four parts endured over 600 years of weathering and changes. Today, the Forbidden City, which was home to the emperor, is still intact, but the other three parts of the city have been replaced. The surface area of Beijing has expanded multiple times since the Ming and Qing dynasties. The city walls and gates have been replaced with subway line two. The subway stations of the modern line two are in most cases named after, and built on the site of the old city gates.

Beijing is a portal between centuries. The modern buildings of Beijing are built on the foundations of other, much older buildings, with histories receding deep into the past. Every step taken echoes the footsteps of others, from other generations, who have walked your same path. You may find that you have crossed a bridge that an old emperor crossed hundreds of years ago. If you walk through the winding hutongs, you might see what they saw, feel what they felt. Peering through centuries, generations, you can get to know the capital, and as you walk it's streets, the ancient city gets to know you too.
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