Capital of China since the 13C, Beijing has long expressed the political power and world influence of the country, the Communist regime simply taking the symbolic place of the Imperial authorities. From the Forbidden City to the recent Olympic buildings, exaggerated pomp and size are the hallmarks of Chinese architecture. Beijing is beyond all comprehension - it's too lively, too big and drunk with change. As soon as you come across a human-sized traditional China in this city, it's immediately followed by some of the most extreme examples of modernity. Meanwhile, the city's young inhabitants are hedonistic, impatient and turning their backs on tradition. In short, Beijing is a shock to the system.