Taipei is the capital city and a special municipality of Taiwan. Situated at the northern tip of Taiwan, Taipei City is an enclave of the municipality of New Taipei. It is about 25 km (16 mi) southwest of the northern port city Keelung. The city is mostly located on the Taipei Basin, an ancient lakebed bounded by the two relatively narrow valleys of the Keelung and Xindian rivers, which join to form the Tamsui River along the city's western border.
The city proper is home to an estimated population of 2,693,672 in 2009, forming the core part of the Taipei–Keelung metropolitan area which includes the nearby cities of New Taipei and Keelung with a population of 6,900,273, the 40th most-populous urban area in the world. The term «Taipei» can be either referred to the whole metropolitan area or city proper itself.
Taipei is the political, economic, educational, and cultural center of Taiwan, and one of the major hubs of the Chinese-speaking world. Considered to be a global city, Taipei is part of a major high-tech industrial area. Railways, high-speed rail, highways, airports, and bus lines connect Taipei with all parts of the island. The city is served by two airports – Taipei Songshan and Taiwan Taoyuan. Taipei is home to various world-famous architectural or cultural landmarks which include Taipei 101, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Dalongdong Baoan Temple, Hsing Tian Kong, Mengjia Longshan Temple, National Palace Museum, Presidential Office Building, Ximending, and several Night markets dispersing over the city. Its natural features such as Maokong, Yangmingshan, and hot springs are also well known to international visitors.
In political terms, «Taipei» can occasionally be used as a synecdoche regarding the sovereignty of Taiwan. Due to the ongoing controversy over the political status of Taiwan, a designated name Chinese Taipei is in use officially when Taiwanese governmental representatives or national teams participate in some international organizations (which may required an UN statehood) in order to avoid extensive political effects by using other names.