As China s global influence continues to rise, its capital, Beijing, has become increasingly important and a popular tourist destination, greeting close to five million international visitors each year. An Armchair Traveller s History of Beijing presents the capital from its earliest beginnings as a prehistoric campsite for Peking Man through its fluctuating fortunes under a dozen dynasties. Home tocapitals ofseveral states over time, the site of modern Beijing has been ruled by Mongolian chiefs and the glorious Ming emperors, whose tombs can still be found on its outskirts. Through Beijing, we can experience Chinese history itself, including its more famous residents including Khubilai Khan, Mulan, and Marco Polo. Special emphasis is placed on Beijing s precarious heritage in the twenty-first century, as modern construction wipes out much of the old city to make way for homes for twenty million people. This book also offers detailed information on sites of tourist interest, including the pros and cons of different sections of the Great Wall and the best ways to see the Forbidden City and the fast-disappearing relics of the city s Manchu and Maoist eras.A chapter on food and drink examines t only local delicacies, but the many other Chinese dishes that form part of Beijing s rich dining traditions. With its blend of rich history and expert tips, An Armchair Traveller s History of Beijing is an essential introduction to one of the world s most remarkable cities.
Jonathan Clements is visiting professor at Xi an Jiaotong University in China. He is the author of many books, including Modern China: All That Matters and An Armchair Traveller s History of the Silk Road.