Saturday, 22 December 2012

Beijing Adventures & Misadventures - Day 2

Forbidden City

May 12, 2009

We were picked up at 7am for our whole day tour of Beijing's major sites:

1. Forbidden City - built in 1406 -1420 by a million laborers, home of emperors, servants, concubines and eunuchs until 1925. 720,000 square meters---you can practically spend the whole day here if you want to explore every nook and cranny!

Forbidden City

"9, 8, and a lion head are a sign of good luck"

one of the courtyards at Forbidden City

one of the temples
Forbidden City
2. Tiananmen Square - World's largest public square bordered by Mao's Mausoleum, History Museum, Great Hall of the People and Forbidden City.

Tiananmen Square
3. Temple of Heaven - magnificent temple and park where emperors of Qing and Ming dynasties worship heaven and pray for good harvest; features a circular "Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests".

Temple of Heaven

4. Summer Palace - Used to be a Royal garden and imperial palace for short stays away from the capital. An Imperial retreat from Beijing's summer heat with gardens, lakes, hills, the elaborately decorated "long corridor" and Empress Cixi's marble boat.

Summer Palace

The lake surrounding the Palace

a portion of the (very) long corridor
Empress Cixi's marble boat

Again, it was a day of walking...tiring yet very educational...

What impressed us:

1. All the sites were well preserved---though some needs a little dusting or repainting but I guess it lends an "old" look to it and adds to its appeal...

2. These are where you see parks and more everywhere...

3. Local tourism is thriving---there were "billions" of them that day

Unimpressed by:

1. Thousands of local tourists--you can hardly take a photo without them on the picture! I just felt a billion of Chinese people turned up in these places that day...

2. The dust---noticed my throat got too dry and my lips, too.

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