Beijing (; Chinese: 北京; pinyin: Běijīng, [peɪ˨˩ t͡ɕiŋ˥]), sometimes romanized as Peking ( or ), is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 21,150,000 as of 2013. The metropolis, located in northern China, is governed as a direct-controlled municipality under the national government, with 14 urban and suburban districts and two rural counties. Beijing Municipality is surrounded by Hebei Province with the exception of neighboring Tianjin Municipality to the southeast.
The city's history dates back three millennia. As the last of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, Beijing has been the political center of the country for much of the past eight centuries. The city is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, gardens, tombs, walls and gates, and its art treasures and universities have made it a center of culture and art in China.