Historian Jeremiah Jenne, regularly leads highly informative walking tours around Beijing's historic areas. In this feature, he is giving some of his knowledge and thoughts about how Beijing has developed, both historically and in the present period of rapid growth.
Anyone traveling around China will have seen in recent years how many cities are taking on similar modern appearances. Beijing, however, remains different. This is due to its long history and the way it was built around the Forbidden City.
A feature of historic Beijing was no building higher than the walls of the Forbidden City - to respect the privacy of those behind the walls. Until recently this tradition was maintained within most of the city inside the Second Ring Road ( erhuan). However, the city's appearance is now undergoing rapid change - particularly around the CBD in Chaoyang District. In the late 2000's China World 3 climbed to around 330 metres. Presently nearby China Zun is heading up to over 500 metres - all this is quite dramatically changing the skyline of Beijing.