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Beijing: Vital Stats

Metro area population... Area... Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment...

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Metro area population: 17 million

Area: 16,808 square kilometers, or about 6,500 square miles. It stretches 160 kilometers (about 99 miles) from east to west, and over 189 kilometers (117 miles) north to south.

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: Around $400 a month, depending on location, amenities and renter's nationality. Prices have increased substantially with the impending Olympics.

Hotel rates: Standard rooms in five-star hotels during the Olympics will be as high as $1,150 a night. These rooms during regular times are typically about $250 a night.

Number of vehicles estimated in Beijing by the end of 2008: 2.45 million.

Number of bicycles in the city: 7 million in 2007, down from 10 million in 2001.

Famous Beijingers: Actress Zhang Ziyi; actress and pop icon Faye Wong (known as China's Madonna); actor Jet Li; rocker Cui Jian; novelist and playwright Lao She; Puyi, the last emperor of China; Peking Man, whose ape-like fossil (now missing for decades) from 500,000 years ago has long been cited as evidence of human evolution.

- Chinese women spend 8 percent of their fashion budget on lingerie every year and the Chinese lingerie market is growing 20 percent annually, producing products valued at 2 billion euros, it was reported at the Shanghai Mode Lingerie show.

- With 800 buildings covering 720,000 square meters (7.8 million square feet), the Forbidden City at the center of Beijing is so large, a full-time restoration staff is continuously repainting and repairing it.

Sources: Beijing government; state-run media; Beijing Organization Committee of the Olympic Games; The Beijing Page; WCities.com; Beijing Encounter