Peking (Chinese: 北京, Wade-Giles: Peiching) is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world. Its population in 2013 was 12,500,000. The metropolis, located in northern China, is governed as a direct-controlled municipality under the national government with 16 urban, suburban, and rural districts. Peking Municipality is surrounded by Hopei Province with the exception of neighboring Tientsin Municipality to the southeast; together the three divisions form the Chingchinchih metropolitan region and the national capital region of the PRC.
Peking is the second largest Chinese city by urban population after Shanghai and is the PRC's political, cultural and educational center. It is home to the headquarters of most of the PRC's largest state-owned companies, and is a major hub for the national highway, expressway, railway, and high-speed rail networks. The Peking Capital International Airport is the second busiest in the world by passenger traffic.
The city's history dates back three millennia. As the last of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, Peking has been the political center of the country for much of the past eight centuries. The city is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, parks, gardens, tombs, walls and gates, and its art treasures and universities have made it a center of culture and art in China. Peking has seven World Heritage Sites – the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, Zhoukoudian, Great Wall, and the Grand Canal.