China is the most populous country in the world, but it hasn't been a major player in the world for a long time. That's all about to change, though -- the country that invented paper money has had the fastest-growing economy in the world for years.
- the site of the biggest dam in the world
- means "the city of eternal spring"
- home of the main Olympic training facility in China
- a holy city for the Manchu ethnic group
- was probably founded during the 11th century B.C.
- known as one of China's "Three Furnaces" for its hot weather
- has the worst air quality of any Chinese city
- the Los Angeles Times called it "China's party city" in 2006
- was the capital of China during World War II
- a secret hideout for Sun Yat Sen during the Xinhai Revolution
- discovery place of the "Peking Man"
- an underground tunnel system that was used by smugglers in World War II
- a huge region that falls in both China and Russia
- the birthplace of basketball superstar Yao Ming
- one of the most densely populated areas in the world
- was an important Japanese base in World War I
- was a Portuguese colony until 1999
- was a popular vacation destination for imperial families in the 19th century
- site of an enormous annual dragon boat regatta
- a 22-mile bridge passes over it
- site of the busiest shipping canal in the world
- played a crucial role in transportation of supplies into China
- a superhighway between Shanghai and Hong Kong
- an ancient road used as a pilgrimage route for Tibetan monks
- the site of the country's biggest Chinese New Year celebration
- the last city to fall during the Chinese Civil War
- one end of the highest railway in the world
- has the highest concentration of universities in the country
- experienced destruction of about 80 percent of the buildings in the devastating earthquake on May 12, 2008
- the site of an opium war in the 19th century