Beijing in a Thousand Words
Be it an atlas, a collection of stories, historical anecdotes or a book on the Olympics, these books overflow with emotions.
With Beijing's plethora of endless customs, scenery, cultures and stories yet to be explored, many writers have gravitated towards writing the city's genealogy. Be it an atlas, a collection of stories, historicity and information or a book on the Olympics, these works overflow with the capital's emotions.
Beijing Lishi Ditu Ji
Generally, those interested in Beijing's history would be keen to read on topics related to changes of the capital's municipal administrative area and urban settlement from the Shang (16th century–11th century BC) and Zhou (11th century–256bc) dynasties up to the period of the Republic of China (1912–1949), especially the developmental changes of Beijing and its suburban areas from the Liao Dynasty (AD 916–1125) to 1949.
Beijing lishi ditu ji (“Beijing history atlas”) researched by the late historical geographer Hou Renzhi and compiled jointly by Peking University and Beijing Institute of Mapping and Surveying has been released. Beijing lishi ditu ji discusses city problems in three volumes, with the first volume Zhenqu chengshi juan (“city administrative division”) providing answers.
The second volume Wenhua shengtai juan (“culture and ecology”) tells of changes in Beijing's natural environment since the days of primitive society, the changing process of the component factors of its climate, river system, forest vegetation and major natural disasters. The third volume Renwen shehui juan (“humanities and society”) comprehensively presents different ages of its population, residential, industrial and agricultural production, economic, transport, military and many other elements of development and changes, as well as cultural elements such as former residences of celebrities, palaces, temples and hutong. Beijing lishi ditu ji contains 750,000 words, 460 maps and 100 images of history, documenting Beijing's changes for thousands of years and discussing how the capital was built.
This atlas presents the landscape, society, economy and changes of Beijing over an historical time period. It is considered an achievement in advanced scientific research both locally and internationally.
We can never get enough of Beijing. ‘Beijingtong’ congshu (“all about Beijing series”) published by Beijing Publishing House includes nine books: Lao She jiang Beijing (“Lao She on Beijing”), Jin Shoushen jiang Beijing (“Jin Shoushen on Beijing”), Zhang Zhongxing jiang Beijing (“Zhang
Zhongxing on Beijing”), Hou Renzhi jiang Beijing (“Hou Renzhi on Beijing”), Zhu Jiajin jiang Beijing (“Zhu Jiajin on Beijing”), Liu Yeqiu jiang Beijing (“Liu Yeqiu on Beijing”), Deng Yunxiang jiang Beijing (“Deng Yunxiang on Beijing”), Zhao Luo jiang Beijing (“Zhao Luo on Beijing”) and Ye Zufu jiang Beijing (“Ye Zufu on Beijing”).
Each of the nine books has its own characteristics. Zhao Luo, a literary historian and retired ancient book editor, has worked at Beijing Publishing House since the 1950s. The seven sections in his book Zhao Luo jiang Beijing, “Ancient Capital Style,” “Cultural Traces,” “Around Scenic Spots,” “Photos of Heroes,” “Appropriation of Lost Property in Ancient Beijing,” “Garden Walk” and “Poetry of Xuannan” may appear simple and short, but are deep and profound.
In the book Lao She jiang Beijing, Lao She introduces Beijing's spring, early summer, early autumn and winter, places like Gaoliangqiao, Deshengqiao, Jishuitan and Xisipailou, as well as his family and friends. Every character, object, matter or scene mentioned in his book guide readers to understand more about the capital. Deng Yunxiang writes about Beijing in a refined narrative style, mainly describing cultural celebrities and cultural sites. Ye Zufu includes numerous details in his work Ye Zufu jiang Beijing and is known as a walking encyclopedia for anecdotes, customs and celebrities of Beijing.
Born and raised in Beijing, scholar Liu Yeqiu has a deep sentiment towards Beijing's streets, shops, people, brick and tile, and every tree and bush. Written from different perspectives, his book presents the life and cultural landscape of old Beijing society in 26 chapters. He also includes his personal observations and experiences. Hou Renzhi, Zhu Jiajin and Zhang Zhongxing, all well-versed in literature and history, are also masters of related research. Based on their experiences, they're able to narrate Beijing's history and geography, describe customs and record traditions, all of which have significant historical and cultural value.
Winter Olympic Cities
In 2022, the 24th Winter Olympics will be held jointly in Beijing and Zhangjiakou. China has hosted two Olympic competitions previously, Beijing Olympics and Nanjing Youth Olympics. This is the first time China to host the Winter Olympics.
Winter Olympic Cities is written and compiled by the Beijing Olympic City Development Foundation and published by Beijing Publishing House. It covers a wide range of topics related to Winter Olympic cities like Chamonix, the snowy landscape of St. Moritz, peach blossoms in Lake Placid, Garmisch-partenkirchen, Olso, Cortina d'ampezzo. Written in an open form, the book draws the outline of the development course of the Winter Olympics, showcasing the highlights of construction, splendid moments during competitions and beautiful view of the cities. By reviewing the development process of the Winter Olympics with the pulse of development within the city, the author explores mutual relationships between the Winter Olympics movement and urban development, citing examples to show how wealth of the Olympic Games play an important role in promoting urban development and progressing civilisation.
Olympic City Forever, the companion volume of Winter Olympic Cities published simultaneously, is also written and compiled by Olympics experts from Beijing Olympic Games Urban Development Foundation. The first paragraph of the book reads, “The universe was chaotic and worldly gods appeared. The dominant god, Zeus, who lived on Mount Olympus in Greece, gave birth to all things. Ancient Greeks later held sporting events at Olympia to worship Zeus. According to the myth, both creation of the western world and the origins of the Olympics are set in Greece. From then on, Olympics became closely related to the rise and decline of Greek history of civilisation.” Using the 20 previous host countries as the thread, the authors give an orderly review of the prosperity and development of the Olympics from the first Athens Olympic Games in 1896 to the 30th London Olympic Games in 2012.
Beijing lishi ditu ji (“Beijing history atlas”)
‘Beijingtong’ congshu (“all about Beijing series”)