A card from Beijing, China, showing the Central Axis, the best preserved core area of the old city of Beijing.
The old city of Beijing was first built in the Yuan Dynasty (mid-13th Century, formerly known as "Dadu"), and further developed and perfected in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (early 14th Century to early 20th Century). With eight hundred years’ history of urban development, it is now the largest imperial capital city still existing in China and a classic model of ancient Chinese urban planning. As an outstanding example of feudal China’s capital, the old city of Beijing enjoys a prominent position in the world history of urban planning and development.
The Central Axis of Beijing is 7.8 kilometers long starting in the south of the city from the Yongding Gate, running across the Zhengyang Gate, Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Jingshan Hill, and ending with the Drum Tower and Bell Tower in the north. Most of the essential buildings in the old city of Beijing are constructed along the axis. The Central Axis ingeniously organizes the imperial palaces, the imperial city, temples and altars, markets, streets from feudal times and the Tian’anmen square complex built after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. As the most representative and important section of the old city of Beijing, it is the core of old Beijing’s spatial pattern and demonstrates the magnificent spatial order of the urban space. - in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5802/