Few places on earth can match the extraordinary historical panorama on display in Běijīng. There are six Unesco World Heritage Sites in this city alone (just one less than the whole of Egypt). At its heart is the magnificent Forbidden City, a royal palace on a scale like no other. Běijīng is also home to sublime temples that aspire to cosmological perfection, while the city centre is criss crossed by enchanting hútòng: ancient alleyways that teem with life today, as they did hundreds of years ago. And, to cap it all, the awe-inspiring Great Wall snakes its way across the hills north of town. Beijing is the current capital city and remains one of the most popular places to visit in China. Its history dates back more than 3,000 years and much of that history is still alive within its borders. Beijing literally means Northern Capital.