"Beijing - Metropolis of China" Beijing by MikeAtSea
Beijing Travel Guide: 6,293 reviews and 15,857 photos
Flying to Beijing our group utilized an Air China Flight from Shanghai to the capital city. The Jumbo Jet that was used for the morning flight was a little old and in flight service I would say was created by Mao himself .
Upon arriving in Beijing the metropolis which is home to 13 Million people I was surprised how the city must have changed in recent years. In gearing up for the Olympic Games the old scruffy houses were demolished and the city boasts of wide avenues and a lot of parks today. However pollution is evident everywhere and a constant haze covers the city .
Our exploration started with the Tiananmen Square. With a total area of 440,000 square meters, Tiananmen Square is the largest square in the center of Beijing. For over a hundred years, many ceremony and demonstrations have been held here. The grandeur of Tiananmen Gate (Heavenly Peace Gate) is a national symbol, with the Great Hall of the People on the western side and the Museum of the Chinese Revolution and the Museum of Chinese History to its east and west. The Monument to the People's Heroes - the 36 meters obelisk, made of Qingdao granite, dominates the center of the square. The Chairman Mao Memorial Hall and the Qianmen gate, sit in the south.
From here we walked on to the Forbidden City, 960 meters long and 750 meters wide, the world largest palace complex covers a floor space of 720,000 square meters, having 9,999 buildings.. Generally, it was divided into two parts, the northern half, or the Outer Court where emperors executed their supreme power over the nation and the southern half, or the Inner Court where they lived with their royal family. Until 1924 when the last emperor in China was driven out of the Inner Court, 14 emperors of the Ming dynasty and 10 emperors of the Qing dynasty had reigned here. Sadly though it appeared that most of the artifacts are today in Taiwan, since it was impressive to see but most of the rooms were all empty.
The next day we drove out to the Great Wall of China. It took about an hour for the 50 km drive into the hills that surround Beijing to the North was one of the greatest architectural creation of human kind. This 3000 km long walls first foundation were already laid in the 7th century B.C. Walking up the wall is quiet amazing and I managed to walk up to the fifth tower before needing to head back to the group.
Close to the section of the Great Wall that we visited were the Ming Tombs - the general name given to the mausoleums of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. The mausoleums have been perfectly preserved, as has the necropolis of each of the many emperors.
Last stop of a busy day was the Temple of Heaven, which is situated in the southern part of the city in Chongwen district. As famous as the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, it is a "must" for every visitor.
In ancient China, the emperor was regarded as the "Son of Heaven", who administered matters on the earth on behalf of the heavenly authority. To show respect to the heaven, ceremonies for sacrifices to heaven were extremely important to the emperor. The temple was built for the worship of heaven and prayers for good harvests. A double wall encloses the temple.
A 2.5-meter-high, 360-meter-long causeway connects the two parts and is known as the Vermilion Steps Bridge or the Sacred Way. Four Heavenly gates were built on the cardinal points.
Our last day started with a tour to the Summer Palace. Located 15km from Beijing, the Summer Palace is the largest and best-preserved royal garden in China.
The Summer Palace has a history of over 800 years. Early in the Jin dynasty, an imperial palace named Golden Hill Palace was built on the present site of the Summer Palace.
In 1750,with 4.48 million taels of silver, Emperor Qian Long of the Qing dynasty built the Garden of Clear Ripples here and renamed the hill Longevity Hill to celebrate his mother's birthday.
I flew to Beijing from Shanghai with Air China. The airline operated a Boeing 747 which was not the newest. The... more travel advice
The Ming Dynasty lasted from 1368 to 1644. The first Emperor still had his tomb in his chosen capital Nanjing.... more travel advice
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