Beijing, capital of China, is located northwest of theGulf of Bo Hai, in north-eastern China. Formerly known as Peking, thecity is the second largest city in China after Shanghai. Situated atthe northern edge of the North China Plain and circled on three sidesby mountains, Beijing was a strategic northern outpost of the ChineseEmpire throughout much of its history. With interruptions, it has beena capital of China for approximately 1000 years. Tatar, Mongol, Mingand Quing dynasties have all ruled from here before the city becomecapital of the republic.