This is China. This is Beijing. It cannot be forgotten
regardless of the wonderful time we had on our tour - that this is
Communist China. I have NOT included a shot of the Tian An Men Square.
It just makes me feel too bad. Having said that, I want to show you images of the
Great Wall first and then we'll get back to the Forbidden City.
traveled quite a way out of Beijing to see some of the more original
parts of the wall. This meant that we spent an entire day "doing" the
Wall - but it was worth it.
images are spectacular! To be at a place that you never thought in a
million years that you would visit - I was constantly amazed during this
stages of the building of the wall began in the 5th Century BC.
The wall was built to keep the Mongol hordes at bay by
China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi. The most impressive sections
seen today were built during the Ming dynasty. Soldiers and peasants
from all parts of the country were conscripted, spending several years
of their lives building the wall which extends up into the Gobi desert.
Blocks of rock weighing several hundred pounds had to be heaved up the
steep slopes, and an unknown number of people paid with their lives for
this project. Centuries later, it still serves a purpose, not
to repel, but to attract! This ancient architectural wonder snakes
across China's landscape, stretching some 4,100 miles from east to west.
on the first section began between the 5th and 6th century BC while the
last construction on the was was done between the 14th and 17th
centuries AD. It is a fact that the wall began as independent walls for
different states. It was only in the Qin Dynasty that Emperor Qin
Shi Huang succeeded in his effort to have all the walls joined together
to fend off invasions from the north forming the Great Wall of China we
know. Built over 2,000 years ago, it is remarkable that most of the wall
is still standing, although in some areas it has fallen into disrepair.
see there was snow on the ground while we were there. I'm sure this kept
many tourists away.
are spaces where archers would shoot the enemy (right).
the left is the bell tower, wrung in the morning.
the right is the drum tower, which was played in the evening.
This is the tradition in many towns and villages in China.
went up in the tower in the evening to see the drumming display.
you can see that it a was pretty special event.
photos are all from the Forbidden City. On the left is the Court of the
spite of the sunny appearance of these photos there was snow on the
ground in areas of the Forbidden City. I think that's the reason there
weren't hoards of people. That was good for us! We didn't have to wait
in lines or have problems seeing things.
are many parts of this site. So many, in fact, that I can't tell you
is the mother lion on the left side of the entrance with the baby under
her paw, indicating offspring and continuation of the empire. Not native
to China, lions are associated with power and prestige, and the use of
this mythological beast was reserved for the court and officials of high
rank. The first use of lions in Chinese architecture dates to the Han
dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD).
This is a large incense burner on the left. Do you see the spouts that
serve to drain the platform above?
the right - a detail of the figures on the roof. The dragon and phoenix
figures perched on the palace rooftops bring protection against
lightening and fire.
detail on the right. These details are exquisite and cover the
undersides and interiors of many of the buildings.
the left, the rooftops of the Forbidden City with Beijing in the
background. There is a formalized relation of buildings, pavilions and
courtyards to one another within the City.
were many, many beautiful arches and doors throughout the Forbidden City.
None of this does justice to our experience.
beautiful ceramic tile mural of mythical dragons was a beauty! It's
called the Nine Dragon screen. These dragons serve as protection.
This is Prince Gong's Mansion (right).
can notice the snow on the ground.
photo of Scott in the garden (right).
We did go through the old area of Beijing on the rickshaws on the right.
the right is the classic view of the Hutong rooftops of Beijing.
visited the Hutong of Beijing - the traditional alleyways for courtyard
folks run a home stay in their house.
It was fun to see their home and
figure out how they managed to keep up this rather large home and
were reminded of the homes we had visited in New Zealand - very
functional, missing no modern conveniences.
walked through an upscale shopping area and enjoyed the energy and
the left is the entrance of a restaurant.
When we were at the Summer Palace, I'm sure our guide thought we were
more interested in the Tibetan women than we were of the beautiful site.
I was just so fascinated I couldn't keep my eyes off the intriguing and
couldn't resist the shot of this beautiful young Tibetan lady.
did go to the Olympic Park while we were in Beijing. It was neat to see
the water stadium where all the water sports were held. Also, the Dragon
Hotel in the shape of a dragon. More brick apartment buildings in the
background on the left.
shots around the Olympic Park. This time with Chinese Police.
big tower was the communications tower.
of course, the Bird Cage, in which all the main events occurred.
all you techies, I hope you enjoy this shot of the headquarters'
building made in the shape of a circuit board.