Beijing Travel Guide

Etymology

Over the past 3,000 years, the city of Beijing has had numerous other names. The name Beijing, which means "Northern Capital" (from the Chinese characters for north and for capital), was applied to the city in 1403 during the Ming Dynasty to distinguish the city from Nanjing (the "Southern Capital"). The English spelling is based on the pinyin romanization of the two characters as they are pronounced in Standard Mandarin. An older English spelling, Peking, is the Postal Map Romanization of the same two characters as they are pronounced in Chinese dialects spoken in the southern port towns first visited by European traders and missionaries. Those dialects preserve the Middle Chinese pronunciation of as kjaeng, prior to a phonetic shift in the northern dialects to the modern pronunciation.

The single Chinese character abbreviation for Beijing is, which appears on automobile license plates in the city. The official Latin alphabet abbreviation for Beijing is "BJ".


source: Wikipedia

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