Almaty, formerly the capital (1991 – 1997) of Kazakhstan, is located in the biggest city in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. It is also a major commercial and cultural centre of the country. The name Almaty comes from the word “alma”, meaning apple, and is dubbed “The City of Apples”.
Previously called Akmola, Astana replaced Almaty to become the capital of Kazakhstan in 1997. In 1998, it was named Astana, which means “the capital” in Kazakh. It is located in the north central part of Kazakhstan and is the second largest city in the country. It is a major industrial and agricultural production centre and a transportation hub of the country.
As the capital of the People's Republic of China, Beijing is the nation's center of government, economy, culture, and international activities, as well as serving as a transportation hub to the entire country. With a population of 11 million people, Beijing contains 18 districts and counties covering an area of 10,450 square miles. The suburbs contain: Dongcheng, Xicheng, Xuanwu, Chongwen, Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai, and Shijingshan. An outer suburban area consists of: Fangshan, Mengtougou, Changping, Tongxian, Shunyi, Daxing, Huairou, Miyun, Pinggu, and Yianqing.
Beijing City is an independently administered municipal district located in the northeastern part of China at an elevation of 143 feet above sea level. Beijing has a continental climate. January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 24 degrees Fahrenheit. At an average temperature of 79 degrees Fahrenheit, July is the warmest. The best time to visit Beijing is May, September and October.
Beijing has a long history. As early as 500,000 years ago, ancient "Peking Man" lived at Zhoukoudian 30 miles southwest of Beijing. King Wu was the first to declare Beijing the capital city in 1057 B.C. Established in 1045 B.C., Beijing is an ancient cultural city, serving for 800 years as the capital of the Liao, Jin, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties.
Beijing was also known as Peking by the Western world before 1949. In the early nineteen twenties, Beijing became the cradle of China's new democratic revolution. The May Fourth Movement against imperialism and feudalism began in 1919. On October 1st, 1949, Chairman Mao announced to the world the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Beijing is also known as a tourist city for its many places of interest, including ancient architecture, royal gardens, mansions, towers, temples, palaces, and modern structures. It is a gathering place of artists and other talented people.
Shanghai, located along the coast of the East China Sea and the southern banks of the mouth of the Yangtze River, is a city under the direct jurisdiction of the Central Government. It has a population of over 13 million people and.is the largest metropolis in China and one of the most historically significant cities. It is a flourishing international metropolis, known worldwide for its highly developed industrial, commercial and financial components.
Shanghai is an ideal "shopping paradise". Nanjing Road, known as "China's No.1 Street", the reconstructed Huaihai Road, Jinling Road, East and North Sichuan Road, the Yuyuan Garden shopping and tourist area, the Ever Bright City Commercial Center, Xujiahui Commercial Center, and Zhangyang Road Commercial Center in Pudong are all packed with rows of shops. Shanghai is also a paradise for gourmets. There are over a thousand restaurants serving the famous 16 styles of Chinese food, such as Beijing, Sichuan, Guangdong, Yangzhou, Fujian. There is also French, Russian, Italian, English, German, Japanese, Indian and many other tantalizing types of foreign cuisine, genuine Muslim food and vegetarian food. In Shanghai you have the world at your fingertips.
Located along the side of Lake Taihu in the Yangtze River region, 62 miles east of Shanghai, Suzhou is an ancient cultural city built 2,500 years ago.
Suzhou is crisscrossed by rivers and enjoys a mild and humid climate, easily accessible by water, land and air transportation. Many cloistered gardens were built during and after the Song Dynasty, making the city famous for its awe-inspiring classical gardens. The natural scenery of hills and streams in Suzhou is as charming as a delicate flower. Streets and alleys in Suzhou run parallel to centuries-old canals. Small bridges and flowing waters, white walls and dark gray roof tiles match one another in tranquil elegance. There are many historical sites which are extremely attractive for visitors.
Most of the gardens in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province were private gardens built in ancient China. They are tranquil, exquisite, elegant, and created to be in complete harmony with nature. The creators of these gardens invented ingenious techniques to put a cramped space to best use. There are flowers and trees, pools, hills, bonsai works and pavilions within the boundaries, forming a natural yet richly landscaped environment. The most famous gardens in Suzhou are the Humble Administrator's Garden, the Lingering Garden, the Wangshi Garden, and the Lions Grove.