Showing 21-252 of 252 messages
Beijing seer 9/6/03 6:50 AM
My first memory of thinking about China was from my parents saying, "if you dig down through the earth, you would end up in China." This was interesting and is why I got a globe soon after. That globe is still here at my side and makes plain now as it did then that the country antipodal to China is Argentina, not the United States. (Despite this obstacle, digging to China from the USA may soon be possible!)

Visiting mysterious China became my greatest travel desire from the age of five or six--sparked by the digging concept and enflamed by stories of China in old issues of National Geographic. I was able to visit in November 1993 and again in August 2002 (and again, in July 2005.) The experience was everything that I had longed for as a child.

Lu Hui, Album of Miscellaneous Subjects, 1891

The history of China and its capitol city Beijing have much to teach the thinking traveller.
Beijing Zoo seer 9/6/03 7:16 AM
Beijing Dongwu Yuan, the Beijing Zoo, is the oldest and largest zoo in the Asia Pacific area and the world-famous home of the giant pandas. It contains more than 7000 animals, including golden monkeys from Sichuan, yaks from Tibet, sea turtles from the Chinese sea, Manchurian tigers, and snow leopards. The Beijing Zoo is also famous for being the home of zoological research and for housing many rare birds and animals.

Like everything in Beijing, the zoo has a complicated history:
  • Originally an imperial manor during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644).
  • Plants were cultivated and animals were raised here during the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911).
  • It became the Ten Thousand Animal Garden (Wanshengyuan) zoological park in 1908.
  • It was destroyed during the Japanese occupation of Beijing (1937-1945).
  • After the revolution, it was rebuilt as the West Suburb Park.
  • The name was changed to Beijing Zoo in 1955.

Lingling at the Beijing Zoo
Be seeing you, Seer
Beijing Planetarium seer 9/6/03 7:39 AM

The Beijing Planetrium was built in 1957 and contains a planetarium, an exhibition hall, a lecture hall and an astronomical observatory. The planetarium, with its cupola measuring 25 meters in diameter, is the main focus of interest of the entire complex. At regular intervals, 45-minute presentations take the visitor on a virtual tour of the heavens made possible by projectors installed in the center of the hall which faithfully reproduce an image of the starry sky on the inside of the cupola.

The Beijing Planetarium Cupola and its Zeiss Star Projector as Chinese postage stamps (issued in 1958.)

The planetarium's new 18 m diameter inclined, domed auditorium is now among the most modern in the world thanks to new equipment installed in 2003 from Silicon Graphics and Carl Zeiss.
Confucius Temple seer 9/6/03 8:36 AM

Beijing's Confucius (Kongfuzi) Temple was built in 1306 and is the largest Confucian shrine other than that in the philosopher's home town of Qu Fu.

Confucius' (551-479 BC) moral doctrine became--long after his death--the official moral and political doctrine of Chinese State during the Han Dynasty. (It is never too late to begin studying The Analects or the many comments about Confucius and his writings. Consider for example, Chapter 1, verse 4)

Rén, "benevolence, charity, humanity, love," kindness. The fundamental virtue of Confucianism...

...Confucius defines it as "Aì rén," "love others." [Analects XII:22]

Yì, "right conduct, morality, duty to one's neighbor," righteousness.

Yì may be broken down [Analects IV:15] into: zhong, doing one's best, conscientiousness, "loyalty"...

...and shù, "reciprocity," altruism, consideration for others, "what you don't want yourself, don't do to others" [Analects XV:24 or 23].

Lì, "profit, gain, advantage": Not a proper motive for actions affecting others. The idea that profit is the source of temptation to do wrong is the Confucian ground of the later official disparagment of commerce and industry. (The Master said, "The gentleman (chün tzu) understands yì. The small man understands lì." [Analects IV:16])

Li, "propriety, good manners, politeness, ceremony, worship."

Xiào, "to honor one's parents," filial piety.

During the T'ang Dynasty, the canon of Confucian Classics became the basis for the great civil service examinations that henceforth provided the magistrates and bureaucrats (the "Mandarins") for the Chinese government.

For a very long time, this structure was part of the Imperial College (Guozi Jian) and the temple's coutryards contain many carved stone tablets with the names of scholars who passed the national literary examinations. (If you've read Robert van Gulick's stories about Judge Dee then you know just how difficult this examination was.)
Beijing Exhibition Center seer 9/6/03 8:47 AM

The Beijing Exhibition Center opened in 1954 as the city's first large-scale, comprehensive exhibition venue, with the late Premier Zhou En-Lai cutting the red ribbon and Chairman Mao Tse-Tung contributing poetic thoughts, the 735,000-square meter, Russian-style building is a period piece landmark fronted by a red star-topped spire and an entrance lobby festooned with massive, multi-layer crystal chandeliers. Offering a cohesive yet flexible and easily accessed venue are the three East Wing exhibition halls and single large hall, entertainment theater and restaurant in the West Wing.

Primarily intended for the display of heavy industrial and agricultural machinery, the two outdoor areas flanking the central building have a total of 8,ooo square meters These spaces can also be set up to exhibit light industrial products, including those of the electronic and similar enterprises.
Drum Tower seer 9/6/03 9:04 AM
The Drum Tower was initially built in 1272 during the Yuan Dynasty, was rebuilt in 1297 during the Yuan Dynasty, and again in 1420 and 1539, during the Ming Dynasty. The two-story structure was made of wood with a height of 47 meters. On its second floor there originally were 25 drums. Among them, there were one big drum and 24 smaller drums. Now, only the big drum is left. The drum is beaten four times a day, for 15 minutes at a time.

The Drum Tower and companion Bell Tower were used together to announce hours. At the very beginning in the Ming Dynasty, the bell and drum were beaten together both during the day and nighttime. (When Qian Long was emperor in the Qing Dynasty, the bell and drum were beaten together only two times each night. Perhaps he was a light sleeper )

At seven o'clock in the evening, the drum was beaten followed by the bell to inform people it was time to go to sleep.

At nine o'clock, eleven o'clock, as well as one and three o'clock in the morning, only the bell was beaten to avoid disturbing sleepers.

At five o'clock in the morning, the drum was beaten followed by the bell to inform people to rise.
Bell Tower seer 9/6/03 9:22 AM

The Bell Tower is a 33-meter-high edifice with gray walls and a green glazed roof. Each face of the base of the building is pierced with an arched opening and each side of the Bell Pavilion, which stands on the platform, has an arched gateway as well. The Bell Tower first came into use during the reign of the Ming Emperor Yongle, when it was converted from the main hall of the former Temple of Eternal Peace (Wanningsi), which had been built during the Yuan Dynasty.

The new Bell Tower was destroyed by fire after only a brief existence and it was not until 1747 that Emperor Qianlong undertook the reconstruction of an attractive durable stone structure. This building was so sturdy that he only damage that it suffered during the Tangshan earthquake of 1976 was the loss of a single stone animal head decorating the roof.

The Bell Tower originally housed a huge iron bell. But because its tolling was not loud enough, this was replaced by a massive cast bronze bell over 10 inches thick that is in perfect condition today. (There is an interesting legend about the casting process.) The iron bell was moved to the back of the Drum Tower where it has remained for over 500 years. As recently as 1924, the bronze bell could be heard ringing out the 7:00 p.m. chime from a distance of over 20 kilometers.

The schedule of drum beats and bell peals used to announce the hours is given in the Drum Tower placemark.

View north from Drum Tower toward Bell Tower (Ashkeling)
White Dagoba Temple seer 9/6/03 12:40 PM
The Buddhist temple now known as Baita Si, the White Dagoba Temple was originally known as Temple of Great Holy Longevity and Eternal Peace. It got its name from an older white dagoba inside the temple.

In the same year after the dagoba was built, a magnificent temple was constructed with the dagoba as its centerpiece. In 1368 during the Yuan Dynasty, the Temple was destroyed by thunder and fire, only the dagoba remained intact. Most of the buildings you can now see inside the Temple were constructed in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). The Temple was reconstructed in 1457 during the Ming Dynasty and was repaired in the following dynasties. The Temple originally had the name "Temple of Great Holy Longevity and Eternal Peace". It was named "Miaoyingsi" after it was rebuilt in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). It is now commonly known as the White Dagoba Temple.

The Temple consists of several halls and yards. In one hall, wooden Sakyamuni, Medicine Buddha and Amitabhas are offered sacrifices to.

The present-day brilliance of the dagoba’ s surface is due to the fact that it is painted with an expensive whitewash containing a high percentage of pulverized seashells. A local joke relates that if it were not for this whitewash, the monument would soon become a “black dagoba.”
Lama Temple seer 9/6/03 12:45 PM

Archway, the main entry at the south side.

Built initially in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty, this building was the residence of Emperor Yongzheng when he was just a prince. However, in 1744 the Qing Dynasty formally changed the status of the dwelling to that of a lamasery, and so Yonghe Lamasery became the national centre of Lama administration. More...

Here is a map looking north, just like the Placemarked view. The long row of trees in the Keyhole view are between the Archway (#1) and the Gate (#4).
Beijing Railway Station seer 9/6/03 1:11 PM
Beijing is the rail hub of the nation, and while the highway network is expanding, it is still a long way behind the “Iron Rooster” as the key means of transportation in China. Chinese trains are divided into different classes, from the lowly hard seat (for seasoned aescetics only!) to plush, air conditioned soft sleeper cars that cost nearly as much as air fare. Nowadays, trains to nearby destinations such as Tianjin and Chengde are often double-decker soft seat carriages that offer modern climate control and good sanitation.

The Beijing Railway Station

If the phrase "Iron Rooster" is unfamiliar to you, it is a Chinese euphamism for a railroad train. Those with even modest interest in China or railroads would enjoy Paul Theroux's wonderful Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train Through China. Highly recommended for learning something about being Chinese.
National Library of China seer 9/6/03 1:38 PM
The history National Library of China (Zhong Guo Guo Jia Tu Shu Guan) was established in 1909 with the opening of the first national library. After the 1911 Revolution the Library was taken over by the Ministry of Education of the Northern Government and formally opened to the public on August 27, 1912, which was set as a memorial say for the National Library of Beijing. In 1931 the new building of the Library was constructed on the west bank of Taiyie Lake in Weijin Street.

After the founding of the People's Republic of China in October 1949 the National Library was renamed as Beijing Library. Premier Zhou Enlai, the first Premier after the founding of the People's Republic of China, proposed and approved the construction of the new building for the Library, while the Library located in Wenjin Street became a Branch Library. The new library building is located in the western suburbs and was completed in July 1987. It formally opened to the public on October 6, 1987. (Photo below and indicated in the attached Placemark.)

The Library not only has the largest collection of Chinese books in the world, but also the biggest collection of materials in foreign languages in the country. The Library has the total floor area of 170,000 square meters, ranking first in the national libraries in Asia, and fourth in those of the world. The Library has a rich collection of 22,400,000 volumes, ranking fifth in the libraries of the world. In the collection there are 270,000 volumes of rarebooks; 1,600,000 volumes of general ancient books; and 35,000 pieces of the scripted turtle shells and animal bones from the Yin-Shang Dynaststy, c. 16th-11th century B.C.
Zizhuyuan Park seer 9/6/03 2:02 PM
The Purple Bamboo Park (Zizhuyuan Park) is just west of the National Library of China.

The park area contains three lakes, two islands and an abundance of bamboo stands. The park took its present form between 1952 and 1958, when the park underwent major renovations: building bridges, dredging lakes and the formation of hills. Flowers were planted and several pavilions were constructed. Bamboo and lotus flowers were the finishing touches which can still be seen in abundance. Ten different varieties of bamboo, rare in northern China can be found in this park.

A temple, known in the Ming Dynasty as the Temple of Longevity (Wanshousi) originally stood to the northwest of the lake. Here the Qing rulers built a lodging palace where they and their retinues could rest as they floated to the Summer Palace or the Jade Spring Mountain on the Changhe River. Presently all that remains of the original temple are two stone stelae and traces of two landing platforms on the banks of the river.

The Purple Bamboo Park has a long history. According to early records, before the third century it formed the upper reaches of the Gaoliang (Sorghum) River, and a famous Gaoliang Bridge stood nearby to the east. In the Ming Dynasty, the bridge was a favorite spot for city people on the Qingming (Clear and Bright) Festival, when “young girls riding in horse-drawn carts, and city folk competing with drums and banners.” In the 13th century, the lakes of Purple Bamboo Park served as a reservoir providing an important part of Beijing’s water supply. In the late Yuan Dynasty, the mathematician and astronomer Guo Shoujing built a canal along the upper reaches of the Gaoliang River with locks to regulate the water diverted from the White River Dam, the Jade Spring Mountain, and other nearby waterways. Later, however, the canal was neglected and gradually became silted up. During the Republican period it was filled in and rented out as paddy fields. After the revolution, the People’s Government transformed the fields into a new park.

The long and sinuous history of this simple park is echoed in nearly everything in China--what you can see is often just the marker beneath which a complex and enlightening story is hidden.

The English Corner is the placemarked spot on the island at the East-South (the Chinese word order) of the park. Go there on Sunday and speak in English to the locals.
Liulichang Street (west) seer 9/6/03 5:05 PM
Liulichang Street was once a flourishing cultural center during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911) where scholars, painters and calligraphers gathered to purchase materials, exchange ideas, compose poetry, write books and paint pictures.



In the modern age, the street is located in downtown Beijing by the Peace Gate and large scale renovations completed in 1984, have transformed the street into an antique market that resembles a Chinese village. The shops that flank the street are filled with paintings, calligraphy, pottery, carpets, vases, books, scrolls and chops. If you are interested in books, don't miss The China Bookstore while you are shopping Liulichang Street. I bought a nice three-volume hardcover set of The Dream of Red Mansions there on each of two visits. Rongbaozhai and Jiguge are also great shops.
Liulichang Street (east) seer 9/6/03 5:24 PM
Liulichang Street is known throughout China and the world for its ancient books, calligraphy, paintings, rubbings, ink stones and ink. The street, which is only 750 meters long, is located south of Hepingmen (Peace) Gate within walking distance of the Hepingmen Quanjude Peking Duck Restaurant.

In Ming and Qing times, Liulichang was a favorite haunt for scholars, painters and calligraphers that gathered there to write, compile and purchase books, as well as to paint and compose poetry. By the Kangxi period (1661-1722), Liulichang had become a flourishing cultural center and was described as having “homes and buildings lined up like fish scales.” During the Qianlong period (1736-1796), the street was even more prosperous. There one could find “rooms filed to the roof beams with all kinds of books,” “a street filled with treasures and trinkets,” and the “quintessence of all the markets in the capital concentrated in one street.” When Emperor Qianlong decided to revise the Complete Library of the Four Branches of Literature, he ordered scholars from the project, and Liulichang became a center for research in textual criticism. For visiting scholars, a book-buying trip to Liulichang’ s over 30 bookstores was one of the pleasures of a stay in Beijing.

The Liulichang of Qianlong period was described in the notes of Li Wenzao:

“To the south of the kiln is bridge which separates the tile works in to two sections. To the east of the bridge, the street is narrow and for the most part, the shops there sell spectacles, metal flues for household use, and daily necessities. To the west of the bridge, the road is wider, and besides the regular bookshops, there are shops selling antiques and other curios, shops specializing in calligraphy books, scroll mounters, professional scribes, engravers of name seals and wooden blocks for painting, as well as shops where stone tablets are inscribed. Here also are shops offering the articles needed by a scholar participating in the imperial examinations-brushed, paper, ink bottles, paperweights…”

This was Liulichang up till the end of the Qing Dynasty. In his book Postscript to the Bookshops of Liulicahng, the bibliographer Miao Quansun (1844-1919) listed bookshops, the names of which had remained unchanged from the Qianlong period up through the early 20th century. Those established more recently were also recorded, of which one, Hanwenzhai, was still in business during the 1950s.

Liulichang Street has an East and a West side, and this Placemark is just to remind you to visit both sides, as the east end has the better bookstores and the west the better paintings and calligraphy (in my limited experience.) Frommer's has an excellent store-by-store guide.
Be seeing you, Seer
Yuyuan Lake Park seer 9/6/03 5:58 PM
Yuyuan Lake Park was a pleasure spot of the Emperors. In the past it was known as Angler’s Terrace (Diaoyutai) because in the Jin Dynasty, an official named Wang Yu secluded himself here in the guise of a fisherman. The great beauty of this natural scenic area was described in a poem written over 800 years ago:

Grass grows lushly on Yuyuan Lake,

The gurgling spring flows into distant streams.

Weeping willows line the pools before the darkening hills.

Peach blossoms float on the water at sunset.

One Jin emperor wrote: "His Majesty’s carriage has made several trips here; the splendor of the Angler’s Terrace compares with that of the Terrace of Gold."

The history of the park reflects the rise and fall of successive dynasties.Under the Yuan it was renamed Yuyuantai and belonged to a family named Ding. In the Ming Dynasty, from the time of Emperor Wanli (reigned 1573-1619) it was the personal villa of a nobleman named Li. Due to neglect, by the end of the Ming Dynasty there was neither a terrace nor a pavilion to speak of, though the name of the park was passed down through the centuries by the local people. In the early 20th century, Puyi, the last Qing emperor, made a gift of the park to his teacher Chen Baochen, but Chen only came here to celebrate his birthdays.
State Guest House seer 9/6/03 6:08 PM
The Chinese National State Guest House is at the East-North end of Yuyuan lake, where the Emperor's fishing terrace was located. The Guest House facility includes all of the buildings between Yuyuan lake and the two major streets to the East-North.

If you plan a state visit, the address is Diaoyutai State Guesthouse; No.2, Fucheng Road, Haidian District. But then, your ambassador probably already knew that. Also, warn your treasury department: the prices seem fit for an emperor.
Children's Science Park seer 9/6/03 6:29 PM
The Soong Ching Ling Children’s Science Park is at Yuyuan Lake across from Yuyuan Park. This park offers a science hall and amusement park rides in a lovely natural setting. Cherry trees attract visitors in spring. The lake brings swans and wild ducks in the warmer months and swimmers year around.

In memory of Soong Ching Ling (Madame Sun Yat-sen, 1893-1981) late Honorary President of the People's Republic of China--considerd a patriot, democrat, internationalist, distinguished international statewoman, and one of the outstanding state leaders of the People's Republic of China--the Soong Ching Ling Foundation, a non-governmental institution bearing her name was established on May 29, 1982.

The Soong Ching Ling Children's Science and Technology Pavilion with a floor space of 1500 square meters, built in the Soong Ching Ling Children's Science Park, Beijing, was inaugurated on the International Children's Day of 1986.
Donghuamen Night Market seer 9/6/03 7:00 PM
Night markets line the streets after dark, stall by stall, under the trees here on Donghuamen street. Typical fare is normal to the universal taste:
  • Baozi: Steamed buns with stuffings from cabbage to pork (12¢)
  • Huntun: Local version of wonton soup (36¢ a bowl)
  • Xianr bing: Tiny flat pancakes stuffed with vegetables and eggs (12¢)
  • Jing bing guozi: A large crepe the size of a pizza with egg, cilantro, and plum and hot sauces (24¢)
  • Miantiao: Noodles in various forms, fried, boiled, or in soup (12¢-60¢)
  • Youtiao: Deep-fried wands of dough, a breakfast favorite (12¢)
  • Yams: Yes, there are sweet potatoes in those oil drums (24¢).
  • Yang rou chuan: Lamb shish kebab roasted over an open flame (12¢)
The hygiene of vendors, their carts, and the stands is unregulated. Think before you swallow.

Image Copyright © 1998-2003 by Brad Templeton of ClariNet fame.

Though not listed above, you can usually find grasshopper, scorpion and similar items on the South side of Donghuamen Street. So far, I've been to timid to learn how they taste. If you have had them, please reply to this and describe the experience.
Taoranting Park seer 9/6/03 7:14 PM

Taoranting Park or Joyous Pavilion Park, situated in the southern part of the city, derives its name from the pavilion that once stood on the grounds of the Temple of Mercy (cibeiyuan). Cibeiyuan is a temple that was built within the grounds of the park in the Yuan dynasty and is one of many historical sites. Excavations showed that this charming park dates as far back as the 3rd century BC.

Unlike other parks and gardens of the city which were reserved for the emperor and his family, the Taoranting Park was accessible to all. This explains why the park was a popular meeting place for poets and literary men during the Qing dynasty. Scholars from throughout China wrote poems and essays in praise of Taoranting. Unfortunately, this beauty did not last and by the early 20th century, the park had decayed into stagnant ponds and overgrown weeds.

During the period of revolution, some revolutionaries, such as Li dazhao, Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, took it as a revolutionary center. Two revolutionaries, Gao Junyu and his girl friend, Shi Ping, were buried here. In 1952, the park was completely redesigned--lakes were dredged, seven small hills formed and pavilions built. Today, the park is a romantic and peaceful area where visitors can enjoy pleasant walks and relaxing boat trips.
Beijing Amusement Park seer 9/6/03 7:30 PM
Beijing Amusement Park is located near Dragon Pool Lake (Longtan Hu) and opened in 1987. (The pictures seem to work better on the Chinese-language site.)

The following map matches the Placemarked view.


After crossing the arch gate you will see the garden-styled buildings in various fantastic forms. On the small isle all the entertainment facilities are scattered and surrounded by the flowers And trees. With 62 meters giant wheel, you can have a bird's eye view of the ancient capital. With the 'adventure flume', you can have a hair-raising experience down in the water. The 'roller coaster' can take you upside down and inside out. The first 'mirage aquarium' leads you into the fancy deep-water world. In the 'wide animal world', you can stay and play with lovely animals. While driving the kartings, you can have a taste of F-1 car racing. The three dimensional movie "sea dragon" and 'magic castle' audio-room can bring you to another audio-visual past & future world. The high speed motorcycle on the lake is mixed with both fan and risk. The mini-sports car, bumper car, sea monster, merry cups, merry-go-round, flying tower, pearl-in -billows, monorail sky- bike, galleon ,flying saucer, monorail train, street station video games, laser gun shooting, mini-golf can fill your the whole day with joy and pleasant memory. Dozens of bridges with different styles connect the land and isle. Floating on the lake in the duck-shaped boat is just like travelling in the Alice's Wonderland.

China Art Gallery seer 9/6/03 8:00 PM
The China Art Gallery is a national-level art gallery focused on displaying, collecting and researching the works arts of the artists in China modern times. Chairman Mao Zedong provided the calligraphy for the name of the gallery.

The gallery facilities encompass 17,051 sq. meters including a 6,000 sq. meter exhibition hall. Built between 1958 and 1962, it is one of the Ten Great Constructions in the 10th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China and also the largest art gallery in China. This is the place to see works by Zhao Zhiqian, Shi Tao, Zhu Da, Ren Bonian, Xu Gu, Wu Changshuo, Qi Baishi, Huang Binhong, and Xu Beihong.

Zhao Zhiqian

Xu Gu (1823-1896) The soldier who became a priest and painter.

Of course, being the most significant art gallery in the world's most populous nation does not prevent it from being a fine spot for Tai Chi (shadow boxing):

The China Art Gallery was reopened on July 23, 2003 after a year-long renovation project. When I visited, it happened to be during the opening of an artist's exhibition. (He seemed very pleased that a western would travel so far just to see his show. The Beijing TV news people even took video of us signing his guestbook.) That visit was before the recent work so I have not seen the facility or the collection since the reopening.
White Pagoda seer 9/6/03 8:55 PM

The White Pagoda is 35.9 meters high and sits amidst luxuriant trees and a host of temple halls on Jade Islet at the center of Beihai Park. The dagoba was built by Emperor Shunzhi (the first emperor of the Qing) in 1651 in honor of a visit by the Fifth Dalai Lama. Atop the pagoda is a gold-covered copper lid decorated with dozens of bells that jingle in the wind.

In front of the Pagoda stands the Temple of Enternal Peace (Yong'an si) and Hall of Universal Peace. At the back of the island is Hall of Rippling Water. Inside the Pagoda is a 30-meter-tall column. A gold box at the top of the column contains two teeth belonging to Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism. Under the Pagoda is a lamasery.
Huifeng Temple seer 9/6/03 9:11 PM

Huifeng Temple (Huifeng Si) is thought to have formerly been a site for worshipping Guanyin, the goddess of Mercy. Today it is a small museum with astronomical charts, displays, and celestial instruments related to the Yuan Dynasty (1215-1368).

Shanxi Province, Liao Dynasty (A.D. 907-1125)

The Bodhisattva Guanyin, the Chinese Buddhist deity of compassion and mercy, here is seated in the posture of royal ease on a simulated outcropping of craggy, perforated rock.
Beihai Park seer 9/6/03 9:38 PM

Beihai Park is the world's earliest royal garden.

Located on the west side of the Forbidden City is a wide expanse of water called Tai Ye Chi. Tai Ye Chi is divided into three parts: Beihai Lake in the north, Zhonghai Lake in the middle, and Nanhai Lake in the south. Beihai, the best known of the three, was turned into a royal garden at least 1,000 years ago. The Designs of the three lakes can be traced to an ancient legend, which says that there were three celestial mountains in the Beihai Sea inhabited by immortals. Rulers took to constructing "celestial mountains" on the water space just outside the royal palace, turing legend into reality.
Jingshan Park seer 9/6/03 9:53 PM
Jingshan Park, the highest point in Beijing, was built in 1179 during the Jin Dynasty. It is located directly to the north of the Forbidden City's Shenwu Gate.

Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion

Inside Jingshan Park, an area of approximately 57 acres, is Jingshan Hill which rises to a height of 48 metres, and from its top visitors can see (on that rare, clear-air day) the entire city of Beijing.

Looking south toward the Imperial Palace.

Jingshan Hill was built in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty and was initially called "Longevity Hill" and then later was named "Zhen Hill". In later periods coal was piled at the foot of the hill and it became known as "Mei Shan" (Coal Hill). However in 1655 during the Qing Dynasty the name was changed to Jingshan Hill, the name by which it is known today.

On the summit of Jingshan Hill five scenery viewing pavilions were built, and from these the visitor can clearly see the layout of the Forbidden City. The highest pavilion is called Wanchun Pavilion (Ten thousand springs pavilion), and there are four other pavilions, two each on the east and west sides respectively of Jingshan Hill. Each of these pavilions contained a copper Buddha symbolizing the five kinds of tastes: acid, spicy, bitter, sweet and salty. However, in 1900 the Allied Forces of the Eight Powers looted four of these five Buddhas, and the fifth one was destroyed. (During the same visit, the invading forces also destroyed much of the Summer Palace, including the Long Pavilion.) The replacement Buddhas now seen in each pavilion were made in 1999.
Re: Beihai Park Jumble 9/6/03 10:02 PM
Seer, Great Stuff. I'm not sure I'll ever get to Bejing, but I think I've seen it all today.I hope you stayed in luxury hotels. You didn't show the human waste on the railroad tracks there....that deserves a photo....and an extensive exposition. I'll stick to Chinatown USA:

And go for the Dim Sum at lunch.
There are none so blind......
Dazhalan Market seer 9/7/03 11:43 AM
Dazhalan ('Dashilanr' in the Beijing dialect), literally means the “ Great Fence.” It has been the site of a busy market since the early 1400s. The great fence metaphor refers to wicker barricades placed throughout Beijing in (in Imperial times) to impose curfew. A large gate of this type once located at the north end of this shopping arcade gave it it's name.

Dazhalan Street (also known as also called Dashilan Street) has many shops with history:
  • Tongrentang Traditional Medicine Shop (1669)
  • Juyuan Hat Shop (now called the Dongsheng Hat Shop (1811)
  • Ruifuxiang Satin, Silk and Fur Shop (1893)
Be seeing you, Seer
Quanjude Roast Duck seer 9/7/03 4:30 PM

The Quanjude roast-duck dynasty was established in 1864 (the third year of Tongzhi of Qing dynasty) and outlasted even the Mandate of Heaven. During its long history, Quanjude roast duck has acquired a worldwide reputation for both special techniques and outstanding quality.

Once when Premier Zhou Enlai was hosting foreign guests at Quanjude, one of the guests asked, “what does Quanjude mean?” Premier Zhou answered with a smile, “Quan means perfection without a flaw, Ju means gathering without departing and De means virtues to be supreme.” Therefore Quanjude together implies perfection, union, benevolence and virtue.

This is the original front of the restaurant from 1888. It is now incorporated inside the restaurant at the spot indicated in the Placemark. (See the round table through the doors? My wife, friends, and I enjoyed a great meal there in 2002.)

While many have heard of "Peking Duck", few realize that the Quanjude restaurant has a menu listing over 400 dishes consisting entirely of duck. Of course there are the mainstays, like the famous Quanjude Roasted Duck, Quanjude Mustard Duck Web, Quanjude Boiled Duck Liver, Quanjude Seasoned Duck Gizzard, Quanjude Shredded Duck Wing, and Quanjude Quick Fried Duck Heart. But there are also pages and pages of more unusual duck selections. For example, during a banquet there in 1993, I was presented with one dish consisting solely of duck toungues and sliced green onion. It was a big, heaping platter of tiny toungues. There were easily hundreds of ducks represented there. Whenever I see ducks flying quietly overhead, I wonder where all those tongues came from.
Traditional Chinese Medicine seer 9/7/03 5:24 PM
The Beijing College of Traditional Chinese Medicine ("TCM") behind the Dongzhimen Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital. You can visit the professionals here and get an introduction to the practices of acupuncture, moxibustion, massage, qigong, and advice on protecting your health.




Qigong (Chi Kung)

As a start, they will take your six pulses (three on the left wrist, three on the right), examine your tongue, view your eyes, and smell your breath. They will then announce considerable details about your existing health conditions and state. These people are very serious practioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and have graduates practicing TCM all over the world.
Palace Hotel seer 9/7/03 6:01 PM
The Palace Hotel. I've stayed there and in my opinion, it is a great hotel.

Entrance. View is SSE from Novotel across the street, which is also nice. (Camera must have been just where the Placemark-view is, only lower.)

Lobby. Children arrayed up the stairway sing carols at Christmas.

Deluxe rooms. This is the sitting room in the Wangfujing suite.

Nice restaurants. This one is named Jing. Excellent Tandoori Chicken at the Palace.

Handy transportation. Spent a day in this Rolls-Royce Silver Spur (or its twin--they have two.)

Good story about the car: The car has a special emblem and the driver has a special card on the dashboard. The effect of the two in combination is that you can go down closed streets and around "Do Not Enter" signs. It was just the thing for being a tourist.

[Posted this Placemark only because Jumble was concerned about the quality of my hotel in Beijing. If you plan to visit, know that the Novotel across the street is also nice and just half the price. No Rolls-Royces and no Jing, however.]
Sun Dong An Plaza seer 9/7/03 8:26 PM

New in Beijing since 1998 is the Sun Dong An Plaza, reputed to be the largest shopping mall in Asia at a total of 2.1 million square feet. It is Beijing's most modern shopping plaza, with 14 levels, 60 escalators, 40 passenger elevators and five glass-sided sightseeing elevators.

In July of 2000, shopping in the basement area was expanded with the opening of "Old Beijing Street." Having been there, my wife and I can say that the food offered on that "street" is far more extreme than that at the night market.
Grand View Garden seer 9/7/03 9:23 PM

The main lake from the west side. Seer photo, 2002.

The idyllic Grand View Garden was built 1984-1988 and is based on the description in the 18th century novel A Dream of Red Mansions (Hongloumeng) by Cao Xueqin (17l5-l763).

The novel is considered the best of the Qing Dynasty and is one of the four great classics of Chinese literature. It tells of the aristocratic Jia family and the feudal society of the day. The story follows the lives of Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu, China’s Romeo and Juliet. Central to the story are a series of events that cause the wealthy family to build a beautiful garden and a series of events that happen in that garden which tell the tale of the Jia family and the fate of the young lovers.

Cheerful Red Court. Seer photo, 2002.

What has happened here is that life has immitated art; the Grand View Garden of A Dream of Red Mansions now exists just as described in the novel, including the Bamboo Lodge (Xiaoxiangguan), the Cheerful Red Court (Yihongyuan), the Paddy Fragrance Cottage (Daoxiangcun), and nine others in addition to many walkways, courts, paths, ponds, streams, and even the grotto.

The Secret Grotto. Seer photo, 2002.

Visiting the garden and strolling along its paths is to simultaneously be transported back to the historical truth of the Ming and Qing Dynasties and into the accurate fiction of Dream of Red Mansions.

Seer photo, 2002.

This is a wonderful place to visit, but be sure to read the book first!

Click to view the book at

On September 3, 2002, the People’s Bank of China, issued a set of colorful gold and silver commemorative coins depicting scenes from A Dream of Red Mansions. The set of six coins consists of one gold and five silver, all of them legal tender in China. The obverse of each coin bears a portrait of the author Cao Xueqin, with the name of the country and the issuing year.

On their reverse, the 1/2-ounce gold coin displays the scene of Xiangyun Drunk in Sleep, four 1-ounce silver coins portray Yuanchun Visits Her Parents, Xichun Painting, Xifeng Manipulates Power, and Baochai Swatting Butterflies respectively, which are all well-known scenes in the novel. The five-ounce silver coin features the scene of Girls at an Evening Banquet on its reverse. The denominations of the coins are also shown on the reverse.

The 120-episode television version of A Dream of Red Mansions is described at this Chinese-language web-site.
Ancient Observatory seer 9/7/03 10:10 PM

The Ancient Observatory is one of Beijing's wonders. Originally known as the Star Observatory, it was built in 1442, the 6th Year of Ming Dynasty. It had 500 years of successive astronomical observation history from the Zhengtong period of the Ming Dynasty to the year 1929, making it one of the oldest astronomical observatories in the world. The name was shortened to to Observatory during the Qing Dynasty, and to Central Star Observatory after the Revolution in 1911.

NASA: This hand-painted lantern slide was originally taken in 1895.

The observatory complex consists of a ten-meter high brick Watching Star Platform, the Purple Hall, Eastern and Western Wings and Sun's Shadow Hall. Eight huge bronze astronomical instruments are displayed on top. Here is a photo of the Celestial Globe, made in 1673 AD (Qing Dynasty) and designed for measuring the time and azimuth of the rising and setting of celestial bodies.

Seer photo. Taken in 2002, 329 years after construction.

When you visit, you can buy a 219 page paperback book that explains the operating principles and accuracy of each of the eight instruments and how to use them for observation.
Wangfujing Street seer 9/7/03 10:28 PM

Wangfujing street is the shopping capitol of Beijing. In the last ten years the buildings have been changed and the street has become a pedestrian arcade. Many shops remain, however, and the bookstore on the west side still has a large collection of western technical books.

If you are familiar with Tokyo, you might recognize a faint Shibuya-ness to this plaza at night, though it is still entirely Chinese (maybe Hong Kong Chinese) in feel during the day. Unlike Japan, where the locals seem oblivious to the lights, noise, and action, the new Wangfujing street scene is recent enough that Chinese people still stare and drink in the sights, just as we tourists do.

There is a large TenFu tea store on the east side of the street. Excellent Jasmine tea!
U.S. Department of Transportation seer 9/8/03 11:30 AM
No photos, but Google did turn up a number of resources:
  • U.S. Department of Transportation. "...such regulations as may be necessary to mitigate the impact of the discharge of human waste from railroad passenger cars on areas that may be consideed environmentally sensitive." (The link is a scan of a page, but fortunately as it is in PDF form the text can still be extracted.)
  • "The Rock Island mainline thru south Wichita ran down the center of Mead street for several blocks in the mid Fifties (and still does) with light industry, wharehouseing and residential homes paralleing the tracks...The passenger trains; well first thing that comes to mind, unfortunately, was the dumping of human waste inside the city limits. They were'nt supposed to, but it happened occasionally."
  • WDBJ 7 news at 11 for 11/21/97. It's time to put 21st-century toilets on the trains. That's the announcement from Norfolk Southern today. The railroad says it will replace the dry hopper system on its locomotives. Using dry hoppers, railroad employees relieve themselves in plastic bags. But unions have complained the system is not sanitary. And farmers have found bags of human waste on their property near railroad tracks. One Bedford County farmer is suing the railroad. He says the waste has hurt his cattle and damaged his equipment. "...AND THIS STUFF HERE IS LIKE COMING OUT OF A SEPTIC TANK. WHEN YOU HIT IT WITH LIKE A GALLON OF THE STUFF, IT'S LIKE A SPRAY WHEN THE HAY BAILER HITS IT. Chattin says he's been finding bags on his farm for the last 13-years.
  • Las Vegas. "The Clark County Health District survey found areas along the sidewalk and railroad tracks were used for human defecation. Human waste was found continuously along a quarter-mile stretch of a block wall. Offensive odors of urine and feces were present at the time of inspection."
  • Cape Cod Railroad. The lawsuit charges that the Cape Cod Railroad dumped sewage onto tracks which run through ecologically sensitive areas and near homes and wells.
Seems to be a problem--at least in the US--but fortunately we did not notice it happening while visiting China. (Though it seems quite possible, as a number of important health-related issues that are closely monitored in the US are rather relaxed in Asia.)

Perhaps Norman Mineta at the U.S. Department of Transportation (Placemark attached) would know the latest status on track-side dumping of human waste.
Tian Tan seer 9/8/03 8:19 PM
The Temple of Heaven (Tian Tan) was built in 1420 A.D., during the reign of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty. Ming-era and Qing-era Emperors who followed Yongle also came year every year to offer sacrafices to heaven while praying for good harvests. It was meant to be the exact meeting place of heaven and earth and as such, was strictly for the Son of Heaven--the Emperor--to use in prayers on behalf of the earth.

Tian Tan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The selection committe gave three reasons.
  • Criterion i: The Temple of Heaven is a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design which simply and graphically illustrates a cosmology of great importance for the evolution of one of the world's great civilizations.
  • Criterion ii: The symbolic layout and design of the Temple of Heaven had a profound influence on architecture and planning in the Far East over many centuries.
  • Criterion iii: For more than two thousand years China was ruled by a series of feudal dynasties, the legitimacy of which is symbolized by the design and layout of the Temple of Heaven

South prospect toward the Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Altar of Heaven

Tian Tan is 2km square, which makes it the largest single religious site in the world. It is one of Beijing's main tourist attractions for both Chinese tourists visiting the capitol and for foreign visitors.

The large parklands surrounding Tian Tan are also popular with the people of Beijing as a place for Tai Chi, to sing in the style of the Bejing Opera, and to practice playing the Erhu.

Erhu players and Opera singers in Tiantan Park

However, the people I heard were not nearly as accomplished as Jia Peng Fang, my favorite Erhu player and composer. (If you have RealAudio player, you can enjoy the opening of his beautiful Sirius at that web site.)

The Temple of Heaven is enclosed with a long wall. The northern part within the wall is semicircular symbolizing the heavens and the southern part is square symbolizing the earth. The northern part is higher than the southern part. This design shows that the heaven is high and the earth is low and the design reflected an ancient Chinese thought of "Heaven is round and the earth is square".
Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest seer 9/8/03 8:21 PM
The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest (Qi Nian Dian) at Tian Tan.

The hall is a cone-shaped structure with triple eaves. Originally, the triple eaves were painted in different colors. The top was blue, which symbolized Heaven, the middle was yellow to symbolize the emperor and the bottom was green to represent commoners. During the Emperor Qianlong's reign (1736-1795), all the eaves were painted blue to follow the color of the sky.
Imperial Vault of Heaven seer 9/8/03 8:23 PM
The Imperial Valut of Heaven (Huang Qiong Yu) at Tian Tan.



The Imperial Valut of Heaven at the southern end of the Bridge of Cinnabar Steps served as storehouse for the spirit tablet of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe (Huangtian Shangdi). When the ceremonies were conducted, the tablet was moved to the Altar of Heaven, located directly to the south of the Imperial Valut of Heaven. During the sacrifices, worship was offered to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, to the spirits of the sun, soon, stars, clouds, rain, wind and thunder, as well as to the emperor’s ancestors. During times of drought, prayers for rain were also offered here.
Altar of Heaven seer 9/8/03 8:25 PM
The Altar of Heaven (Huan Qiu Tan) at Tian Tan.

The Altar of Heaven is constructed of three tiers of green and white marble, the circumference of each tier being fitted with a white marble balustrade. The surface of the platform, the stairs and the railings are made up of stone slabs in multiples of nine. This is drawn from the ancient Chinese belief that nine was the numerical epitome of Yang, the positive force, and symbolized Heaven. The top platform is 33.3 meters in diameter and has a circular stone in the center, which was considered the most sacred spot in the Chinese empire. The first ring of stones around it consists of nine slabs, the second ring of 18, the third of 27 and forth until we reach the ninth and outermost row which consists of 81 slabs. Like the top level, the central and lower levels are each made up of nine concentric rings of slabs which again being laid out in multiples of nine.
Hall of Abstinence seer 9/8/03 8:28 PM
The Hall of Abstinence (Zhai Gong) at Tian Tan.

Before each ceremony, emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties held a three-day fast during Spring, Summer and Winter. The emperors spent two days fasting in the Forbidden City and completed the three-day fast in the Hall of Abstinence.

During the three days, the emperor could not drink wine. He could only eat vegetables, but not garlic or onions. The emperor couldn't have any entertainment, could he handle any state affairs, and had to be away from women.

It is clear from the Imperial calligraphy displayed on scrolls here that one aspect of ritual fasting and abstinence most on their minds was being without concubines. This echoes an observation of Confucius in The Analects (Chapter 9, Verse 17) "I have never seen one who loves virtue as much as he loves sex." (Something that several Chinese Emperors and several American Presidents have had in common.)
The Long Corridor seer 9/8/03 8:32 PM
The 300 meter Long Corridor at Tian Tan consists of 72 sections. This corridor served as a connecting building between the Hall for Slaughtering Animals, Heavenly Kitchen, and the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest.
Double Ring Longevity Pavilion seer 9/8/03 8:34 PM
The Double Ring Longevity Pavilion, moved from Nanhai Lake to Tian Tan in 1977. It was built by the Emperor in 1741 to celebrate his mother's 50th birthday.
Imperial Zenith seer 9/8/03 9:02 PM
The Imperial Zenith at Tian Tan. The tablets of the Imperial Ancestors were kept here and then moved to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest during Imperial visits.
Bridge of Cinnabar Steps seer 9/9/03 2:21 PM
The Bridge of Cinnabar Steps (Danbiqiao) is a 30 meter wide, 360 meter long elevated stone walkway connecting the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest and the Imperial Vault of Heaven. The people at the bottom of the UNESCO image in the main Tian Tan post are walking on this massive bridge. (It is also 5-10 meters above the ground and it is prudent to keep some distance from the guardrail-free edge.)

View north toward the gate leading to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest

View south toward the gate leading to the Imperial Vault of Heaven

Notice the building on the left in the with the bright yellow roof in the photo above. Look for it in the Placemarked view to get a sense of scale. The Bridge of Cinnabar Steps is a very wide and very long walkway (30m and 300m as mentioned above and easily measured with Keyhole Pro.)

It succeeds at conveying the sense that the journey along this path is not on a human scale, but rather of a more-than-human (Heavenly) scale. (Same idea as the placement of the Rose window so high up in Notre Dame that you must look heavenward to see it.)
Tiananmen Square seer 9/14/03 8:26 AM
Tiananmen Square is directly south of the Imperial Palace (Palace Museum, Forbidden City) is at the center of Beijing. This north-south rectangle is the largest public square in the world, measuring 865 meters in length from north to south and 500 and 370 meters in width from east to west at the northern and southern ends. The total area is some 93 acres and can accommodate more than 500,000 people, as it has done on several occasions.

This was the site of the May 4th demonstrations in 1919 against the Treaty of Versailles, December 9th anti-Japanese protests in 1935, the declaration of the Peoples Republic of China in 1949, the rallies launching the Cultural Revolution in 1966, the observation of the deaths of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai in 1976, and the student protests and subsequent violent repression of 1989. In addition, military parades are held in the square on each 5th year anniversary of the founding of the Peoples Republic of China. The largest of these occurred on October 1, 1999 at the 50th anniversary celebration.

Looking South from the Tiananmen Gate's Rostrum

Tiananmen Square was not always so large. In the era of the Chinese Emperors, the city planners did not allow public squares. (They were considered dangerous as places where crowds could gather.) Imperial use of the square was as for clerical work (by Mandarins) associated with copying and disseminating Imperial edicts. Enlargement of the square to its present form was a modern decision initiated by Mao Zedong. In 1949, the year the Peoples Republic of China was founded, major renovation work began at Tiananmen Square. Three subsequent renovation projects in 1958, 1976 and 1981 have transformed the square into its present form.

The square is surrounded by China's major governmental and national structures as detailed in the following posts.
Archery Tower seer 9/14/03 8:39 AM
The Jianlou (Archery Tower) is at the south edge of the present Tiananmen Square. Jian Lou is part of the original city wall and was a well-guarded entrance to the area where the Imperial Palace stands. It was built in 1439 as part of the city's double-gated, walled defensive structure now remembered by the Ming-era phrase "Nine inside, seven outside, four in the Imperial City."

Perhaps by considering these photographs in comparison to the Placemarked image you can begin to appreciate the size of Tiananmen Square. Both the pair of dragon sculptures at the south side and the paved walkway surrounding the tower are easily identified in the Placemarked view.

View north toward front of Archery Tower

View south toward rear of Archery Tower

The architect Kuei Xiang of the Ming Dynasty adopted Chinese astrology when he built the city. In that view, the number Nine represented the divine Heaven, the number Five the Dragon and the Earth in the middle of the Universe. Under such a theory, Kuei Xiang constructed nine gates, five fortresses and a platform in the shape of the Chinese character Earch in the middle of the palace. The design symbolized the Emperor's divinity of both the Nine and the Five.

The Inner Nine are the original nine city gates along Beijing's Second Ring Road: Dongzhi Gate, Xizhi Gate, Fucheng Gate, Chaoyang Gate, Chongwen Gate, Xuanwu Gate, Qian Gate, Desheng Gate, Anding Gate.
  • Xizhi Gate: Called Heyi Gate in the Ming Dynasty. The entrance for water wagons from Yuquan Mountain, via Heyi Gate to the Imperial City.
  • Dongzhi Gate: Called Chongren Gate in the Ming Dynasty. The passage for wagons carrying firewood and charcoal.
  • Chaoyang Gate: Called Qihua Gate in the Ming Dynasty. The passage for food.
  • Chongwen Gate: Called Hade Gate. The passage for liquor and wine.
  • Qian Gate: Called Zhengyang Gate. The passage for the emperor's exclusive use (visiting Tian Tan).
  • Xuanwu Gate: Called Shunzhi Gate. Criminals awaiting for execution were escorted through here to Caishikou to be beheaded.
  • Fucheng Gate: Called Pingze Gate. The passage for coal wagons.
  • Desheng Gate: The entrance for triumphal troops.
  • Anding Gate: Exit for troops go out for battle.
The Outer Seven were the Guangqu Gate, Guangan Gate, Zuoan Gate, Youan Gate, Dongbian Gate, Xibian Gate, Yongding Gate. These gates were passages for civilians to enter Beijing for business, work, or to visit their families.

The Imperial Four consisted of Daming Gate, Dian Gate, Dongan Gate, Xian Gate. These four gates were for officials to enter and exit the palace area.
Qianmen Gate seer 9/14/03 11:11 AM
The Qianmen Gate (Front Gate) is also known as the Zhengyang Gate. It was built in 1420 in the early Ming Dynasty. (While the Hundred Years War was underway, the Mongol Horde ruled Russia, and Gutenberg was getting ready to print the Bible.) Qianmen rises to a height of 42 meters which made it one of the tallest buildings in ancient China. It is the best preserved ancient tower still standing.
Mao Zedong Memorial Hall seer 9/14/03 11:32 AM

The Mao Zedong Memorial Hall (Mao Zhuxi Jiniantang) was built in Tiananmen Square between 1976 and 1977. Chairman Mao was born on December 26, 1893, in Hunan Province. He passed away in Beijing on September 9, 1976, at the age of 83. (Interestingly, Mao was one of the first high-ranking officials to sign up for cremation, a procedure shunned by the population. So the construction of the mausoleum was against his final wishes.) The hail is 260 meters long from north to south, 220 meters wide from east to west and 33.6 meters high. It has five parts: the Courtyard, the Memorial Hall, the North Hall, the Viewing Hall and the South Hall.

In the Hall of Mourning (the Memorial Hall) at the heart of the mausoleum, lies Mao in his usual gray suit, draped with the red flag of the Communist Party, in a crystal casket. The rare phoebe nanmu wood of the doors and walls was transported from a peak on Hainan Island under the supervision of Zhou Enlai.
Museum of the Chinese Revolution seer 9/14/03 11:45 AM

Image by Andrew L. Seymour

The Museum of the Chinese Revolution emphasizes Chinese history of the past 150 years, with specific emphasis on the history of the Communist Party of China. The four-story main building with its two symmetrical wings was built in 1959 as part of the project to build 10 monumental buildings in Beijing. On each side of the entrance stands a pylon in the form of a burning torch, symbolizing Mao Zedong’s famous statement “A single spark can start a prairie fire.”

It is divided into three sections. Exhibits in the Old Democratic Revolution section cover the period from 1840-1911. Events between 1911 and 1949 fall into the New Democratic Revolution section. The third section is entitled "The Triumph of the Revolution and the Establishment of Socialism" and covers events after 1949.

The museum is located in north half of the same building as the Museum of Chinese History.
Museum of Chinese History seer 9/14/03 11:52 AM

The Museum of Chinese History presents three main periods of Chinese history. The first, Primitive Society, ranges from 500,000 B.C. to 4,000 B.C. The exhibits in the Slave Society section cover the time from 2,100 B.C. to 475 B.C. The Feudal Society exhibits focus on the period from 221 B. C to 1911.

The museum is located in south half of the same building as the Museum of the Chinese Revolution.
Monument to the People's Heroes seer 9/14/03 12:10 PM
The Mounuent to the People's Heroes (renmin yingxiong jinian bei) is at the very center of the modern Tiananmen Square. Chairman Mao Zedong laid the cornerstone on September 30, 1949. Construction began in August, 1951 and it was completed in April, 1958. It is the tallest monument in Chinese history. Its 17,000 pieces of marble and granite, brought in from Shandong Province and Fangshan on the outskirts of Beijing, weigh over 10,000 metric tons. The obelisk rises 37.94 metres. A gilded inscription on the north face (left of photo, in the shadow) is in Chairman Mao's calligraphy and reads: "The People's Heroes Are Immortal."

Image copyright China Internet Information Center

The lower plinth is decorated with 10 two–meter–high marble bas–reliefs depicting the Chinese revolutionary movement over the past hundred years. There are three on the north and south sides and two on each of the east and west sides. The story begins on the east side:
  • "Burning the Opium," the incident on June 3, 1839 in which chests of opium were destroyed by an angry crowed at Humen, begins on the eastern face.
  • Next comes the 1851 Jintian Uprising, a crucial event in the Taiping Revolution, A swarm of Han and Zhuang warriors wield their makeshift weapons under a flag–filled sky.
  • On the south there is the Wuchang Uprising, a key event leading up to the Revolution of 1911, in which rebellious soldiers and civilians storm the mansion of the local Imperial Viceroy, inflicting a deadly blow to the last feudal dynasty in Chinese history.
  • The May 4th Movement (1919) is the theme of the next panel. A young man is shown demanding "National sovereignty as a defense against the foreign powers and punishment for all traitors" before a crowd at Tian’anmen.
  • Next is depicted the May 30th Movement (1925), where tens of thousands of workers, students and urban residents fought their way through sandbags and barbed wire to the British Concession in Shanghai.
  • On the west side is the Nanchang Uprising against the Kuomintang on August 1, 1927. The panel shows a company commander making the signal to attack.
  • "Guerrilla War Against the Japanese Invasion" (1937-1945) is depicted beside: Guerrillas thread their way through forests and fields; peasant supporters stand ready with spades; an old woman gives her son a gun; a group of young men await their officer’s orders.
  • "Grain for the Front"
  • "Crossing the River" on the north side is the largest of the 10 panels. Crossing the Yangtze River, the People’s Liberation Army rush toward Nanjing, the stronghold of the Kuomintang and in the background, battleships plow through the waves.
  • The final panel is "Long live the Liberation Army!"
Chinese National Flag seer 9/14/03 2:49 PM
At the northern end of Tiananmen Square is the Chinese National Flag, which is raised and lowered every day with significant ceremony. On October 1, 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong raised the new flag over Tiananmen Square. At three o'clock in the afternoon, with 300,000 people watching, Mao Zedong pressed the button on the flag pole, and the red flag with its five stars ascended over Beijing for the first time.

After that first momentous flag-raising ceremony, the task passed to two workers from the History Museum. They would come out in the morning, hoist the flag and then take it down in the evening. In the 1960s some discussion started about how to give the flag more attention. In 1969, soldiers with the Beijing garrison took over the task of raising the flag, and after a few years the honor was passed on to a squad of armed police.

Click image for Peter Danford's marvelous view of the flag, tourists, and square!

On December 28, 1982, the flag ceremony was elaborated to its present form. On that morning, 96 honor guards raised the flag in two minutes and seven seconds. (The time taken for the sun to rise above the horizon.) The number 96 also has some symbolic meaning as the territory of China has 9.6 million square Kms. Even the 56 poles in the balustrade around the base of the flag have a special meaning. They represent the 56 different ethnic nationalities living within China's borders. In addition to this well-attened daily flag-raising at sunrise and the lowering of the flag at sunset, on the first, eleventh and twenty-first of every month visitors are treated to a grand ceremony, complete with a 60 piece military band.

I once followed the honor guard back across Changan Avenue and through the Tiananmen Gate after the flag-raising ceremony. They are stationed just on the right (east side) past the main entrance. From what I could tell, keep in shape by playing basketball. These soldiers march from their post, though the Tiananmen Gate, across Changan Avenue, to the flagpole, and then back again all at 108 paces per minute.
Great Hall of the People seer 9/14/03 3:07 PM

The Great Hall of the People is the national assembly of China. The building is 336 meters long from north to south, 206 meters wide from east to west, and 46.5 meters high at the highest point, for a total floor space of more than 170,000 square meters. Built in ten months, it was one of ten structures built in Beijing to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Peoples Republic of China in 1959.

The building is divided into three main sections: a 10,000-seat auditorium, a banquet hall where 5,000 people can dine at one time (as was done on the occasion of Richard Nixon's visit to China in 1972) and the offices of the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress with reception halls named for each of China's provinces.

AP Image. Click on image to read an interesting BBC News story
Tiananmen Gate seer 9/14/03 3:46 PM

Photo by Sue and Tony Wright

The Tiananmen Gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace) is arguably the icon of China. The original gate was built on this site in 1417 as an entrance to the imperial palace and was called Chentianmen, (Gate of Heavenly Succession.) After it was destroyed by fire, the present gate was built in 1651 and it was given its present name, Tiananmen, the Gate of Heavenly Peace. It is 34.7 meters high, with 9 intercolumniations, or spaces between the columns, from east to west and 5 intercoluminiations from north to south. This design was chosen according to the belief that the numbers 9 and 5, when combined, indicated supremacy. This architectural style was used exclusively for imperial palaces.

Facing Tiananmen Square at the base of the Gate are seven marble bridges. They are called the Golden Water Bridges. The central bridge was reserved only for the use of the Ming and Qing emperors. Moving out from the center, the other bridges also had specified uses. The Wanggong Bridge was for the royal family, the Pinji Bridge was for civil and military officials and the Gongshen Bridge was for minor officials. Atop of the central archway is a portrait of Chairman Mao with slogans on each side stating "Long Live the People's Republic of China" and "Long Live the Unity of the Peoples of the World."

From imperial days, the yellow glaze-tiled double-eaved tower functioned as a rostrum for proclamations to the assembled masses. In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Imperial edicts were lowered from here to officials kneeling below. Once the edicts were removed from their gilded, phoenix-shaped box, they were copied and announced all over the country. This is the spot where Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the new China. October 1, 1949, saying "Today, the Chinese people have stood up."
Re: Beijing thanks lunatech 10/12/03 12:22 AM

Many thanks for the posts on Beijing. I have just returned from there. I got to see many sights and thanks to your posts I was able to navigate with ease. What an incredible experience, a whole different world. Hard to belive there is over 13 million people in this city...over half the population of Canada in one location.
Awesome. I will post pictures of some of the sights when I get over the jet lag.
Catch the WAVE: Wonderously Advantageous Ventures in
Re: Beijing thanks seer 10/13/03 3:51 PM
Glad you were able to visit. It is a great experience. Anxious to see your photos. There are many places I've not bookmarked and specifically a large set of locales within the Palace Museum that I've not yet assembled all the photos for.
Imperial Palace seer 11/17/03 9:24 PM
>From the early 1400s to 1911 this was the seat of China's government. Known as the Purple Forbidden Palace, the Forbidden City, and now officially as the Palace Museum in People's Republic of China descriptions, it is in many ways the greatest milestone of civic construction in architectural history.

It is also a living textbook of Chinese history that retains much of its power and grandeur to this day. (For example, the PRC leaders built their own homes in the shadow of the Palace's western wall. Maybe Freud would have had an opinion about why that might be.)

With the Imperial Palace being so large (720,000 square meters!) it is difficult to understand the scale from a description. The Palace Museum administration has an excellent Official Palace Museum Website that is a good place to start. Also good is viewing the film The Last Emperor, which was filmed there with favorable access and lighting opportinities. This Virtual Tour is also well done. Daily life in the Palace (in recent times) is described nicely in Princess der Ling's Two Years in the Forbidden City.

A map and a social commentary. Most of the important national treasures and muesums throughout the world have signs in the native language(s), and either or both of French and English. Look for a non-English sign some time in the U.S. for the aid of our foriegn visitors...

In a break from tradition, I am initially going to placemark the significant points within the Imperial Palace without detailed photos and descriptions, then edit those placemarks to add details at a later date. This is so the descriptions can reference other structures/placemarks, as in "The Veranda of Red Snow is between the Pavilion of Flowery Style and the Left Gate of Everlasting Health" Also, there is the chance that lunatech will recover from his deep jet lag and be able to share photos of these locations by replying to the postings.

Also, if you have photos of these places, please reply to the particular post with your photo and experiences. Thanks!

Update: Now up to 40% of the Imperial Palace postings with photos or panoramas. Asterisks in the title signify interesting content rather than empty Placemark.
Empress Statue (*) seer 11/17/03 9:37 PM
She is at the west side of the Gate of Supreme Harmony and the Emperor lion is at the east side. She has a lion cub under her paw and he has the world under his. This is the original inspiration for all 'lion statue at the gate' sculptures in the world. One small example of the impact of the Imperial Palace architecture and design!

Seer photo, Copyright 2002

See a spherical panorama of this very spot!

And the Emperor Lion on the other side:
Imperial Tricycle (*) seer 11/18/03 8:46 AM
P'u Yi (Aixinjueluo Puyi), the last Chinese emperor, rode his tricycle in this walkway.

The Right Gate of Everlasting Health (the northern gate of the First West Alley) that the woman in the photo is stepping through in this south-facing view is the only threshold-free doorway in the Imperial Palace. Its 10 inch high threshold was removed so that P'u Yi could ride through without obstruction.

Notice the white steps on the left? They are recognizable in the Placemarked view. (Best viewed with terrain off.)

Seer photo, Coopyright 2002

Who was Henry P'u Yi? The PRC and the movie "The Last Emperor" have their views, but in a 1995 interview, his wife Li Shuxian shared this memory:

I found Pu Yi an honest man, a man who desperately needed my love and was ready to give me as much love as he could, said Li. When I was having even a slight case of flu, he was so worried I would die, that he refused to sleep at night and sat by my bedside until dawn so he could attend to my needs.

But, she said, her husband did not know how to do even the simplest household chores like washing a handkerchief. Once in a boiling rage at his clumsiness, I threatened to divorce him. On hearing this, he got down on his knees and, with tears in his eyes, he begged me to forgive him.

I shall never forget what he said to me: 'I have nothing in this world except you, and you are my life. If you go, I will die', she said, adding: But apart from him, what did I ever have in the world?

Apparently he was a man like many others--he gave love and needed love, and feared being alone.
Be seeing you, Seer
Flower Tiles (*) seer 11/19/03 4:52 PM
These beautiful flowers have been in bloom for nearly 600 years. They fill the angled wall at the center of the attached Placemark and at the left side of this photo, between the Gate of Heavenly Purity and the Gate of the First East Alley, South.

They are a regular rectangular mosaic of square tiles each carved with deep relief. (If you inspect closely, you can see the slight mismatch where the tiles meet.)

Seer photo, Copyright 2002
Panoramic View (*) seer 11/19/03 8:42 PM
This 1900's panorama is from the interesting Tales of Old Peking website.

The Northwest Watchtower is located near the middle of the photo.
Zhendu Gate seer 11/20/03 11:32 AM
The Zhendu Gate.
Zhaode Gate (*) seer 11/20/03 11:33 AM
The Zhaode Gate is just to the left of this image, however the panorama below was taken just on the other side of the left wall from the location of that white bridge in the distance.

See the inner panorama from the corner just east of the Zhaode Gate.
Wuying Gate seer 11/20/03 11:34 AM
The Wuying Gate.
Upright Gate seer 11/20/03 11:34 AM
The Upright Gate.
Tower of Pleasant Sound (*) seer 11/20/03 11:36 AM
The Tower of Pleasant Sound was the Palace's venue for traditional opera. Elaborate stage with trap doors, openable ceilings, etc. No doubt Lord Tan performed here at some point. (Did you see Shadow Magic?)

Panoramic view from main stage.
Tiren Hall seer 11/20/03 11:36 AM
Tiren Hall.
Tiananmen Gate (*) seer 11/20/03 11:38 AM
The Tian An Men gate is the outer entryway to the Imperial Palace and perhaps the most photographed spot in China. Here is an ethereal image.

The bulk of the Tiananmen Gate photos are in the Tian-an-Men Square area.
Study of the Emperor (*) seer 11/20/03 11:39 AM
This was the Emperor's study and normal daily work area.

Study was an important pursuit of the Qing emperors. The four early Qing emperors achieved a high degree of knowledge of Han Chinese culture and Confucian philosophy. Emperor Shunzhi was an accomplished painter and calligrapher, whose work "Upright and Above Reproach" (Zheng Da Guang Ming) still hangs above the throne in the Palace of Heavenly Purity.

Emperor Kangxi was a skilled calligrapher versed in the classical texts and also schooled in astronomy, geography, mathematics and medicine. Interested in the practical application of scientific knowledge, he commissioned and imported astronomical and terrestrial surveying equipment. The gilt bronze calculator, the gold celestial globe and the table-screen of astrological diagrams represent examples of scientific instruments the emperor acquired.

The Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong reigns are considered the golden years of the Qing Dynasty which, in turn, had been deeply influenced by the preceding Ming Dynasty. The Qing emperors' desire to further validate their legitimate rule over the Chinese empire was reflected in their promotion of the study of Confucian philosophy and Han literature.
Study of the Crown Prince seer 11/20/03 11:39 AM
This was the Study of the Crown Prince.
Southwest Watchtower (*) seer 11/20/03 11:42 AM
The Southwest Watchtower. It now overlooks the homes and workplaces of PRC leaders immediately to the west of the moat.

See a panorama.
Southeast Watchtower (*) seer 11/20/03 11:43 AM
The Southeast Watchtower.

(All four watchtowers look just like this one, which I believe is the Southeast Watchtower.)

See a spherical panorama.
Right Palace Gate seer 11/20/03 11:44 AM
The Right Palace Gate. (Left and Right are relative to a southerly view along the meridian line of the Palace.)
Qianlong Garden seer 11/20/03 11:45 AM
The Warlord's garden was built during the Qianlong-era.
Palace Moat (*) seer 11/20/03 11:46 AM
The Palace Moat (known as the "Tube River") is, like the Sunday-school song says, both deep and wide. Here it flows under the Meridian Gate.

See a spherical panorama.
Northwest Watchtower (*) seer 11/20/03 11:47 AM
The Northwest Watchtower. This is the one at the center of the 1900's panoramic image of the Imperial Palace.

See a panorama of of the Northwest Watchtower.
Northeast Watchtower (*) seer 11/20/03 11:48 AM
The Northeast Watchtower. The Bell Tower and Drum Tower are visible from here.

Panoramic view.
Nine Dragon Screen (*) seer 11/20/03 12:03 PM
The Nine Dragon Screen (Jiulongbi) is one of three Nine Dragon Screens in China.

Each of the dragons is playing with an enamel ball.

Of the three Nine Dragon Screens in China, the oldest one is located in Datong City, Shanxi Province. It was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Another was built in Beihai Park which is just to the north-west of the Palace, during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The screen in the Palace was built in 1771 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong, and is 6 meters high and 31 meters long.

See a spherical panorama of the screen.
Meridian Gate (*) seer 11/20/03 12:05 PM
The Meridian Gate is the main entrance to the Imperial Palace. Very few outsiders were allowed to enter this gate, just as very few within the palace ever exited it.

Outside view from above

Outside view from the ground

Inside view

View of the Meridian Gate with the Inner Golden River in the foreground (Photo from west edge of courtyard.)

Looking north from the atop the Meridian Gate toward the Inner Golden River Water and Inner Golden River Bridges, and beyond that to the Gate of Supreme Harmony with the Empress lion on our left and Emperor lion on the right.

See a wonderful spherical panorama.
Lodge of Red Snow (*) seer 11/20/03 12:07 PM
The Lodge of Red Snow faces the Imperial Garden from the East (left) side. It was renamed the Lodge of Red Snow because the dropping blossoms of the crabapple trees planted there were thought to resemble red snow.
Lodge of Nature Cultivation (*) seer 11/20/03 12:09 PM
The Lodge of Nature Cultivation faces the Imperial Garden on the West (right) side. It is opposite the Lodge of Red Snow and is directy facing the rockery area of the garden.

Panoramic view.
Left Palace Gate seer 11/20/03 12:10 PM
The Left Palace Gate.
Inner Golden River (*) seer 11/20/03 12:11 PM
The Inner Golden Water River flows beneath the the five Inner Golden Water River Bridges.

The central bridge was used exclusively by the emperor. The two flanking it were for use by members of the royal family. The two outer bridges were for court officials. The bridges have marble balustrades richly carved with dragon and phoenix motifs.

This is a winter photo from Apex Photos (Excellent photography!) I have been in Beijing in the winter and can say that its combination of sub zero (F) temperatures, strong winds, and clear skies is literally arctic. No wonder the Inner Golden River is frozen.

The path of the river is shaped to resemble a Tartar bow, and correspondingly the Inner bridges were shaped like five arrows reporting symbolically to Heaven, because the emperor condidered himself the Son of Heaven. They represent the five Virtues taught by Confucius: benevolence, righteousness, rites, intelligence and fidelity.

See a spherical panorama.

Note: The best picture of the river is in the Meridian Gate posting. Striking!
Imperial Theater (*) seer 11/20/03 12:14 PM
The small Imperial Theater was a small theater used for private entertainment of the Emperor and by the Empress Dowager Cixi. (If you have seen the film Shadow Magic you have some sense of what it looks like.)

(And this is what the actor Lord Tan looked like.)
Imperial Tea House seer 11/20/03 12:15 PM
The Imperial Tea House.
Imperial Stables seer 11/20/03 12:16 PM
The Imperial Stables (at least this is where they where located when there were stables in the Palace.)
Imperial Kitchens seer 11/20/03 12:17 PM
The Imperial Kitchens spanned most of the north-south extent of this side of the Palace.
Imperial Garden (*) seer 11/20/03 12:18 PM
The Imperial Garden was for the exclusive enjoyment of the Emperor's family and very close associates, such as P'u Yi's English teacher, Mr. Johnston.

This statue of the mythical Kylin is just inside the doorway. His special powers are just the thing for an Imperial assistant.

This pavilion is visible in the Placemarked view. Here is a panorama from the inside.

See a panorama of the Garden's west side, and rockery.

Central garden panorama.

Eastern side panorama.

Panorama of rockery.
Hsi Ho Gate (*) seer 11/20/03 12:19 PM
The Hsi Ho Gate, at the extreme left of this image, and the Gate of Supreme Harmony at the extreme right.

Notice the Emperor and Empress lion statues (green-patina bronze castings) in the distance.
Hsieh Ho Hate (*) seer 11/20/03 12:19 PM
The Hsieh Ho Gate is at the top of the ramp at the left of this photo.
Hongy Hall seer 11/20/03 12:20 PM
Hongy Hall.
Hall of Worshiping Ancestors seer 11/20/03 12:21 PM
The Hall of Worshiping Ancestors.
Hall of Union and Peace seer 11/20/03 12:21 PM
The Hall of Union and Peace.
Hall of Tranquil Old Age seer 11/20/03 12:22 PM
The Hall of Tranquil Old Age.
Hall of Tranquil Longevity seer 11/20/03 12:23 PM
The Hall of Tranquil Longevity.
Hall of Supreme Ultimate seer 11/20/03 12:24 PM
The Hall of Supreme Ultimate (Tai Ji Dian) was the place for the Emperor to practice Tai Chi (Tai Ji).
Hall of Supreme Harmony (*) seer 11/20/03 12:25 PM
The Hall of Supreme Harmony.
Hall of Sincerity and Solemnity (*) seer 11/20/03 12:26 PM
The Hall of Sincerity and Solemnity.

The Hall of Abstinence (Hall of Fasting) is the building at the center of the lower-left courtyard. The building just to its right is the Hall of Sincerity and Solemnity, and to the right of that beyond the thin covered walkway, is the Hall of Great Benevolence, and right of that, the left-most of the two buildings at the extreme right is the Hall of Bearing Heaven, also known as the "Hall for Receiving Imperial Edicts."
Hall of Preserving Harmony (*) seer 11/20/03 12:26 PM
The Hall of Preserving Harmony (Bao He Dian). The site of the Imperial Examinations, the final rung on the ladder of Civil Service examinations. No simple description can convey the importance of these examinations to the Scholars who took the test, but at least we can understand that it meant more to them than life and death itself.

Hall of Middle Harmony on the left foreground and Hall of Preserving Harmony in the background.

The staircase at the north side of the Hall of Preserving Harmony has what is said to be the largest and heaviest jade carving in the world, at 250 tons. It was brought to the Imperial Palace from far western China along frozen rivers and specially dug canals.

Looking up toward the Hall of Preserving Harmony. (The cluster of people just north of the Hall of Preserving Harmony in the Placemarked Keyhole image are taking photos just like this one.)

Side View. (Notice Dragon at lower right...)

Detail of Carving showing Dragons at Play. (...recognize this Dragon?)
Hall of Peace and Harmony seer 11/20/03 12:27 PM
The Hall of Peace and Harmony.
Hall of Nature Cultivation (*) seer 11/20/03 12:28 PM
Panorama of Gate leading into the Hall of Nature Cultivation courtyard.

Panorama of the Hall of Nature Cultivation courtyard.

Panorama of the Hall of Nature Cultivation.
Hall of Military Prowess seer 11/20/03 12:29 PM
The Hall of Military Prowess.
Hall of Mental Cultivation (*) seer 11/20/03 12:32 PM
The Hall of Mental Cultivation (Yang Xin Dian) was the bedroom of eight Qing emperors and the final point of Imperial rule in China--it is where Empress Dowager Cixi signed P'u Yi's letter of abdication.
Hall of Medium Harmony (*) seer 11/20/03 12:33 PM
The Hall of Medium (or Middle) Harmony (Zohng He Dian).

Hall of Medium Harmony.

Right to left: Hall of Supreme Harmony, Hall of Medium (Middle) Harmony, and Hall of Preserving Harmony.

From the other side, in left-to-right order: the large Hall of Supreme Harmony, the small, square Hall of Medium or Middle Harmony, and the Hall of Preserving Harmony at the far right. (Notice the White Pagoda in Beihai park in the background)
Hall of Manifest Compliance seer 11/20/03 12:34 PM
The Hall of Manifest Compliance.
Hall of Literary Glory (*) seer 11/20/03 12:36 PM
The Hall of Literary Glory. (a.k.a., the Imperial Library).
Hall of Kindness and Tranquility seer 11/20/03 12:37 PM
The Hall of Kindness and Tranquility.
Hall of Joyful Longevity seer 11/20/03 12:37 PM
The Hall of Joyful Longevity.
Hall of Imperial Zenith seer 11/20/03 12:38 PM
The Hall of Imperial Zenith.
Hall of Imperial Peace seer 11/20/03 12:39 PM
The Hall of Imperial Peace.
Hall of Heavenly Purity (*) seer 11/20/03 12:39 PM
The Hall of Heavenly (Celestial) Purity.

Raised Walkway and Hall of Heavenly Purity.

Emperor's Throne.

Panoramic view.
Hall of Harmonious Universe seer 11/20/03 12:40 PM
The Hall of Harmonious Universe.
Hall of Great Yang seer 11/20/03 12:40 PM
The Hall of Great Yang.
Hall of Great Benevolence (*) seer 11/20/03 12:41 PM
The Hall of Great Benevolence.

The Hall of Abstinence (Hall of Fasting) is the building at the center of the lower-left courtyard. The building just to its right is the Hall of Sincerity and Solemnity, and to the right of that beyond the thin covered walkway, is the Hall of Great Benevolence, and right of that, the left-most of the two buildings at the extreme right is the Hall of Bearing Heaven, also known as the "Hall for Receiving Imperial Edicts."
Hall of Gathering Excellence (*) seer 11/20/03 12:42 PM
The Hall of Gathering Excellence.
Hall of Flowery Style seer 11/20/03 12:42 PM
The Hall of Flowery Style.
Hall of Festive Joy seer 11/20/03 12:43 PM
The Hall of Festive Joy.
Hall of Exuberance seer 11/20/03 1:24 PM
The Hall of Exuberance.
Hall of Everlasting Spring (*) seer 11/20/03 2:01 PM
The Hall of Everlasting Spring.

The Hall of Everlasting Spring is the building across the courtyard.
Hall of Eternal Peace seer 11/20/03 2:02 PM
The Hall of Eternal Peace.
Hall of Eternal Longevity seer 11/20/03 2:03 PM
The Hall of Eternal Longevity.
Hall of Earthly Peace (*) seer 11/20/03 2:04 PM
The Hall of Earthly Peace. The Imperial wedding chamber. Notice the 'Double Happiness' on the carved entryway screen. Very common sight at Chinese weddings world-wide.

Panoramic view #1 and #2.
Hall of Culture (*) seer 11/20/03 2:05 PM
The Hall of Culture is the old Imperial Library (before the library collection and facilities were moved to the Hall of Literary Glory.)

The Hall of Culture is the black tiled building at the lower right. Why black? Black symbolized water and water was a protector from fire, the nemesis of books. The 'H' shaped building (that looks like two closely spaced buildings in this view) before the Hall of Culture is the Hall of Literary Glory.

If I was the Emperor, and you were looking for me, this would be the place to start.
Hall of Cherishing Essence seer 11/20/03 2:06 PM
The Hall of Cherishing Essence.
Hall of Bearing Heaven (*) seer 11/20/03 2:08 PM
The Hall of Bearing Heaven (Cheng Qian Gong) is also known as the "Hall for Receiving Imperial Edicts" in some translations.

The Hall of Abstinence (Hall of Fasting) is the building at the center of the lower-left courtyard. The building just to its right is the Hall of Sincerity and Solemnity, and to the right of that beyond the thin covered walkway, is the Hall of Great Benevolence, and right of that, the left-most of the two buildings at the extreme right is the Hall of Bearing Heaven, also known as the "Hall for Receiving Imperial Edicts."
Hall of Assisting Earth seer 11/20/03 2:08 PM
The Hall of Assisting Earth.
Hall of All Encompassing Universe seer 11/20/03 2:10 PM
The Hall of All Encompassing Universe. (Located right behind the Hall of Supreme Ultimate )
Hall of Abstinence (*) seer 11/20/03 2:10 PM
The Hall of Abstinence, for ritual fasting by the Emperor.

The Hall of Abstinence (Hall of Fasting) is the building at the center of the lower-left courtyard. The building just to its right is the Hall of Sincerity and Solemnity, and to the right of that beyond the thin covered walkway, is the Hall of Great Benevolence, and right of that, the left-most of the two buildings at the extreme right is the Hall of Bearing Heaven, also known as the "Hall for Receiving Imperial Edicts."
Hall for Worshiping Buddha seer 11/20/03 2:11 PM
The Hall for Worshiping Buddha.
Grand Chamber seer 11/20/03 2:12 PM
Where members of the Grand Council worked.
Gate of Western Glory seer 11/20/03 2:13 PM
The Gate of Western Glory.
Gate of Supreme Harmony (*) seer 11/20/03 2:13 PM
The Gate of Supreme Harmony.

Looking south toward the Gate of Supreme Harmony (center-right) and beyond to the Meridian Gate (center-left) and in the diance on the left, the Tiananmen Gate. (The Gate of Supreme Harmony is off the image to the right)

Looking north from the Gate of Supreme Harmony toward the Hall of Supreme Harmony.

Spherical panorama from inside the gate.
Gate of Spiritual Valor (*) seer 11/20/03 2:14 PM
The Gate of Spiritual Valor is the back door of the Imperial Palace.

Looking south.

Panorama from same spot as photo. The Beijing Novotel is the tall building in the distance at the extreme left edge of the panorama. The Palace Hotel is immediately behind it. The Northeast Watchtower is at the left foreground, the Gate of Spiritual Valor in the center, and the Northwest Watchtower is at the right foreground. Photo taken from Coal Hill, as is this one:


Panorama from entry.
Gate of Solar Perfection seer 11/20/03 2:15 PM
The Gate of Solar Perfection.
Gate of Peaceful Old Age (*) seer 11/20/03 2:15 PM
The Gate of Peaceful Old Age.
Gate of Obedience and Chastity seer 11/20/03 2:16 PM
The Gate of Obedience and Chastity.
Gate of Lunar Glory seer 11/20/03 2:17 PM
The Gate of Lunar Glory.
Gate of Intense Happiness seer 11/20/03 2:17 PM
The Gate of Intense Happiness.
Gate of Imperial Zenith seer 11/20/03 2:18 PM
The Gate of Imperial Zenith.
Gate of Heavenly Purity (*) seer 11/20/03 2:19 PM
The Gate of Heavenly Purity with the beautiful Fower Tiles on each side.

Detail of Lion at left-center of upper image.
Gate of Flourishing Posterity seer 11/20/03 2:19 PM
The Gate of Flourishing Posterity.
Gate of Flourishing Fortune (*) seer 11/20/03 2:20 PM
The Gate of Flourishing Fortune is at the left of this image.

(Blurry photo, but at least it shows the gate.)
Gate of First West Alley (south) seer 11/20/03 2:21 PM
The southern gate of the First West Alley.
Gate of First East Alley (south) seer 11/20/03 2:22 PM
The southern gate of the First East Alley.
Gate of Extending Auspiciousness seer 11/20/03 2:22 PM
The Gate of Extending Auspiciousness.
Gate of Everlasting Health (right) (*) seer 11/20/03 2:24 PM
The right (west) Gate of Everlasting Health connects the Imperial Garden and the north end of the First West Alley.
Gate of Everlasting Health (left) seer 11/20/03 2:25 PM
The left (east) Gate of Everlasting Health connects the Imperial Garden and the north end of the First East Alley.
Gate of Eastern Glory seer 11/20/03 2:26 PM
The Gate of Eastern Glory. The Night Market and modern Palace Hotel are a few blocks East along this street.
Gate of Earthly Peace seer 11/20/03 2:27 PM
The Gate of Earthly Peace, leading to the Imperial Garden.

Panoramic view.
Gate of Chastity and Obedience seer 11/20/03 2:28 PM
The Gate of Chastity and Obedience. (Not the same as the Gate of Obedience and Chastity, though both are northern portals.)
Gate of Celebrating Bestowing seer 11/20/03 2:29 PM
The Gate of Celebrating Bestowing.
Gate of Beautiful Harmony seer 11/20/03 2:29 PM
The Gate of Beautiful Harmony.
Garden of Peace and Tranquility seer 11/20/03 2:30 PM
The Garden of Peace and Tranquility, south of the Hall for Worshiping Buddha.
Department of Military Affairs seer 11/20/03 2:31 PM
The Department of Military Affairs.
Concubine Pearl Well (*) seer 11/20/03 2:32 PM
This well is named for Concubine Pearl, who drowned within its depths. (Or who was killed then thrown in. The details are somewhat uncertain.]

Panoramic view.
Cining Gate seer 11/20/03 2:33 PM
The Cining Gate.
Archery Pavilion seer 11/20/03 2:34 PM
The building is the Archery Pavilion and old maps of the palace indicate the grassy area (now the rows of trees) as the Archery Ground. Just beyond the trees are the Hall of Culture and the Hall of Literary Glory.
Re: Imperial Palace Lrae 11/20/03 5:28 PM
And for those that want to find things on their own... This PDF file has a great map. Zoom in about 300% and scroll around.

Re: Beijing kk2003 2/23/04 1:16 PM
Many thanks for your picture! i haven't seen so much pictures of beijing before.even though i live in this city many years. Welcom to china! But i think many foreign friends didn't know china very well.i think the best way to konw china is learn his history and culture . my english is very poor.but i hope you can introuduce china to your friends.welcom to china! welcom to beijing!
Re: Beijing seer 2/26/04 10:06 AM
Thank you for your kindness. China is a beautiful country rich in history.

Perhaps you can find other Beijing photographs to share here on the Keyhole Community. Please feel free to post them here and to add other interesting places that I have not placemarked. (I only placemarked locations in the high-resolution area so did not list the Chaoyang Theatre or many other fun places.)

Chaoyang Acrobats (just to the east of the high-resolution area)
Re: Beijing gbonny 3/20/04 9:33 PM
Here's a link to digital Beijing - an interactive map linking all the roads and shops, but it's in Chinese. There's also an English version, and "Bird's View" with what looks like DIgital Globe Quickbird images of the entire city. Posted for those of you who know Beijing well and are regularly amazed by how much the city has changed in the past few years.
Digital Beijing

Neutiquam erro (I am not lost)
Beijing Opera seer 8/1/04 7:30 AM
There are several opera houses in Beijing dedicated to the unique art form known as Beijing Opera, the sense of which is communicated wonderfully in the movie, Shadow Magic.

Beijing opera character of Monkey

This monkey is likely the monkey in Monkey King Makes Havoc in Heaven, which is based on the important novel Journey to the West. (Read it on-line HERE!) If you've read the novel, seeing Monkey playing with the very special peaches is a powerful image indeed. I guess his magic cudgel is out of sight over is right ear.

There are many famous operas, including Qin Xianglian, the Gathering of Heroes, Riverside pavilion, King Xiang Yu Bids Farewell to His Concubine, Liu Bei marries the Young Sister of Sun Quan, Yang Silang Pays Homage to His Mother, The Phoenix Returns to Her Nest, and Wild Boar Forest.

Homework (only for those who read the novel): What boast finally got Monkey in real trouble?
Re: Beijing Opera ed.sterrett 8/1/04 8:01 AM
The monkey King has his own web site.. even though it's only in Chinese.

The gist of the web site is that there is a huge movement on to make hm the official mascot of the 2008 Olympic games.

Zhongshan Park seer 8/1/04 8:15 AM
An early morning stroll through Zhongshan Park, at the southwest corner of the Forbidden City, is a wonderful Beijing experience. Mist, birds, people dancing to ballroom music, people singing in the Beijing Opera style, and grandparents doing Tai Chi.

Unexpected amidst the rockeries and gardens is this pavillion:

Seer Photo Copyright (c) 2002

and its exuberant international contents:

Seer Photo Copyright (c) 2002

Roof of pavillion is at placemarked location.
Re: Beijing Opera gbonny 8/1/04 2:31 PM

Sun Wukong, the Chinese name for the Monkey King, was imprisoned in a stone in the Five Phase Mountains after boasting he could jump out of Buddha's palm - whose fingers then grow to the size of the five sacred mountains at different ends of the earth. The lesson he learns is that there is no part of the universe outside the Buddha's compass. Of course it's not the only boast he makes, and many land him in hot water.

The tale of the Journey to the West, which I read in Chinese about ten years ago (with Anthony Yu's excellent English translation near at hand), is a mythologized account of a spiritual journey, not unlike Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, but much more entertaining, and based on the actual 16 year journey of the Chinese monk Xuan Sanzang (aka Tripitika or the Three Baskets of the Pali Buddhist Canon) to India to retrieve the Buddhist scriptures and translate them into Chinese during the Tang Dynasty. The historical traveller left Dunhuang in 629 AD and returned 16 years later with 657 items of Buddhist scriptures, of which he made translations of 47, totalling 1337 volumes. Much of his journey through now-vanished Buddhist kingdoms in Central Asia can be traced through medium-resolution areas in Earthviewer to the north and west of Tibet.

It's interesting you should mention this rascally character, Seer, since I have just returned from a Taoist-Buddhist retreat, and was given the task of memorizing the Heart Sutra in the Chinese translation written by Xuan Sanzang after his journey. In the fictionalized Journey to the West, the Heart Sutra is given to Xuan Sanzang by the Zen Master of Pagoda Mountain at the beginning of his journey.

I believe all journeys are spiritual voyages, and few people return unchanged if they travel with their minds open and their feet on the ground.

Now then, Seer, your homework is to tell us what Monkey's name, Sun Wukong, means and why it is closely linked to the Heart Sutra.

Here's a link to an illustrated version of the novel on the web.
Sun Wukong seer 8/1/04 4:02 PM

2004 Canadian Commemorative Stamp Set

Now then, Seer, your homework is to tell us what Monkey's name, Sun Wukong, means and why it is closely linked to the Heart Sutra.

Sun Wukong means "aware of emptiness", which in the novel's value system, tells us of one awakened to the idea that what we often see as real, substantial, and valuable is in fact less than nothing. Less, that is, in the sense that not only are such things without lasting merit, but that time and energy spent seeking and cherishing them is lost time that could have been invested in matters of true value, that might direct one's path, and enhance the meaning of life. Much the same way that a starving person, gorging themselves on mushrooms would be doing less than feeding themselves.

The Heart Sutra posits that one's mental and physical existence is empty of both nature and essence; that this emptiness is the same as form and thus is the same reality that we sense; that this emptiness does not undermine our world, but rather is a "positive" emptiness that defines it. "I recognize you by your shadow", "The party was not the same without you", "After my great loss I was bitterly lonely, and being so alone was forced to reflect; in my sad reflection I found peace and understanding, which has lead to unshakable calm and true joy. Did I have loss or gain? If it was both, and the first causes the second, then is there loss or gain?"

Do I pass?

Please pardon my delay in replying. Mrs. Seer and I just returned from our Sunday afternoon lunch and SCRABBLE picnic at the placemarked location.
Monkey King Website seer 8/2/04 6:54 AM

Hint for tourists: If you buy a Monkey King doll for your kids, make sure the little "toothpick" over his ear is not detachable or you could have big troubles at home.
Re: Sun Wukong gbonny 8/2/04 9:39 AM

You win, Seer. Blossom Hill for 18 points. Bodhisattva for 20.
Or if you're of another religious persuasion, you can try Scrabble Prayer
Re: Beijing Opera (UPDATE) ed.sterrett 8/2/04 4:39 PM
And the seegar goes to... the monkey!

Looks like the royal simian is indeed the winner of the 2008 auspicious object (aka mascot) contest.

::: MORE INFO ::: here.


People born in the year of monkey are usually thought to be as clever and quick-witted as monkeys. For the 0.12 billion Chinese born in the year of monkey, everyone of them will fully support the suggestion to take Monkey King as the auspicious object, since monkey is a "God of their year" and Monkey King is a "spokesman" of their wisdom and brightness.

OK.. I guess everyone needs their heroes..
Re: Beijing Opera (UPDATE) seer 8/2/04 8:50 PM
Gene Yang ( has drawn a fabulous interpretation of the characters in Journey to the West. I especially like the 'attitude' that they display in this image:

Copyright (c) Gene Yang. Gene Yang's remarkable vision of the four companions.

Friar Sand is perfect, Monkey is perfect. They whole thing is simply great!
Beijing Online seer 11/1/04 6:00 AM
The Beijing Page appears an excellent source of Beijing information and has links to details of most places that are placemarked here in the Beijing thread.
Re: Beijing Suburbs gbonny 1/7/05 2:28 AM
Here is version 1 of my Beijing Suburban Atlas. Based on the GEOnet country files for China, the 800 odd placemarks show smaller towns and features in the suburban Beijing area. They come with no descriptions (yet), and I have my doubts about the accuracy of many placemarks (a few towns appear situated on top of mountain peaks, hmmm). However, most placemarks are more accurate than one of the tourist maps I brought back with me last trip.

As a quick and dirty data dump, with minor style formatting of different features, this hardly compares to Seer's chef-d'ouevre (or in Chinese, jiezuo) of tour guides. But at least you only have to download one file

I will add more regions and provinces from time to time. Quantity is easy; adding qualitative background information will take a little longer.

Re: Beijing Suburbs shuvman 1/7/05 6:50 AM
The Atlas.kml is very informative and also layered well between towns, terrain, sites and hydrographic data. Thank you for the information.
Formal Visit seer 6/14/05 3:41 PM
What a pleasure it was to visit the Diaoyutai State Guest House last night.

Mr. Bo Xilai, the Minister of Commerce of the People's Republic of China, met with us and shared insights on economic and social achievements, challenges, and opportunities in China. He was generous with his time and observations. It was a very thought-provoking evening that was made serene by gracious hosts, interesting conversation, pleasant music (mostly Mozart), and a delicious dinner.

Photo from the State Guest House website


Hors d'Oeuvres
Four Small Dishes, the spicy bean curd cubes were memorable
Cream and Green Pea Soup
Beef Steak with Mushroom Sauce
Deep Fried Prawn Cutlet, the prawns were huge
Roast Fish with Cheese
Beijing Roast Duck
Braised Asparagus with Scallop
Compote of Chinese Honey Locust Bean

P.S. This is the same room where the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue are held.
Re: Formal Visit Hill 6/14/05 4:18 PM
It's Wednesday morning in China, and we on the west coast haven't even had dinner yet. You know, I never did finish exploring your wonderful China posts. This has brought them to my attention again and I'm about to explore further. What a fascinating place. Lots of potential Google Earth customers too.
Click the images to view two important videos about our only home.
A Pale Blue Dot HOME

“Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned, and the last fish has been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” Cree Proverb

My avatar Mr. Raven posed for me at the Tower of London.
Re: Formal Visit wisdo 6/29/05 10:20 PM
all those dishes.. so little time.... Forget the man man chi.. kuai chi ba!
Re: Confucius Temple number1fan 6/29/05 10:42 PM
As kids, my brother and I would get to go to Chinatown in SF.
My Father would always reference Confucius in a humoruos tone to exemplify Wisdom in our actions!

I hope somethings took hold!

Thank you for this wonderful section of posts!

It would be wise for our young people to learn the Chinese language and understand more of it's culture as our world becomes more close.

Perhaps this is a good place to Start!
Great speaker and nice meal seer 6/30/05 7:21 AM
The attached placemark shows the specific location...
Re: Beijing Railway Station fmeng 7/1/05 10:38 AM
your Beijing Railway Stating looks like Wangfujing, the lagest shopping are of Beijing.
Re: Beijing Railway Station seer 7/1/05 10:51 AM
Yes, thank you. The photo that I linked to has been changed. I have known Wangfujing street for 12 years and recogize the changed image as being a new one from the time when the street is blocked to traffic near the Foreign Language Bookstore.

I will look for a new photo now.
Re: Beijing awinant 7/21/05 4:10 AM
Hey seer, should I make posts about Beijing here instead of in the main earth browsing forum?

Also, what to do if I find incorrect postings?

Re: Beijing seer 7/21/05 8:15 AM
You can post here or in the main area, and you should certainly post corrections here.
Correction on Chaoyangmen, Beijing senlin 7/22/05 11:41 AM
Hi Seer,
Saw your reply to Alex on corrections.
Chaoyangmen is located wrong, please find attached the correct location.
I will be adding the other city-gates on the second ring road too in a while.
Is there a giant fish just to the north? finalcut 7/22/05 12:40 PM
It looks like there is a pool with a whale or some other giant fish just to the north of that gate. Is it some kind of aquariam park?
--- Bill
Re: Is there a giant fish just to the north? senlin 7/22/05 8:45 PM
Yeah, I understand what you mean.
Thing with the Beijing pictures is that they were taken at least 3 years ago, in the midst of the huge city renovation that is going on until at least January 2008.

Thus "the big pond with whale" is merely a large building site, currently there are 3 major building projects going on.
Just north of there, in the "black hole" is the apartment building where I live

This area used to be hutongs (old Beijing streets and houses) and they all have been "chai-ed" (demolished) to make place for modern housing.

Basically the entire block, as well as the 2 blocks north of it are all huge building sites...
Re: Jingshan Park hryuyitung 8/14/05 2:10 AM
this hill was created from the earth excavated to build the moat surrounding the forbidden palace
Re: Beijing Janada 8/15/05 9:59 PM
I am Janada. I am in Beijing Now
Visit my place
Re: Beijing Suburbs Janada 8/16/05 2:09 AM
You and Seer is so good at Beijing! I am in Beijing now, I dont know so many place! Great thing!
Beijing Visit seer 8/16/05 7:42 AM
We will have been successful if your visit to Beijing is enhanced by our placemarks. It is such a wonderful and historic city. Enjoy!
Re: Beijing Visit Janada 8/16/05 8:49 PM
I am in Beijing now!
I want to add labels to GE ! What could I do??
Re: Beijing Visit seer 8/17/05 3:35 PM
Read the "Collected Wisdom" instructions.

Then make placemarks.
Post the placemarks here.

They will show up on the earth at the next database update.
Re: Beijing fmeng 9/13/05 7:52 PM
Some places I know in Beijing. I don't know if there is any better way to share it with other people and just attatched kmz file here.
Re: Beijing seer 9/14/05 7:54 AM
Great! I shop at the foreign language bookstore every time I am in Beijing. Thank you for sharing.
Re: Beijing fmeng 9/15/05 8:55 PM
I have updated and added some placemarks for Beijing. I have also found a high resolution picture in Sichuan Province. I gues that is Dujiangyan and Mt. Qingcheng and I have also added placemarks.
By the way, is there any plan to add more high resolution for China? Thanks
Re: Beijing yyf 9/24/05 2:22 AM
I cannot find Great wall, anybody found it?
Re: Beijing fmeng 10/2/05 8:04 PM
Updated some placemarks based on new high resolution map.
Re: Beijing Captain_Howard 10/3/05 9:48 AM
My first visit was in 1973 with the help of Arnard Hoost. His son, Winfred, was a classmate of mine in law school. In those days you entered through Hong Kong and walked across the border. As an American citizen my passport was not stamped and the visa was on fine rice paper tucked in to the passport. On leaving it was taken back so no evidence of the visit.

My last trip coincided with the announcement of full diplomatic relations between the US and the PRC. Another story in itself though I still have the street flyer (printed in red) that announced it to people.
Re: Beijing Zoo bjchp 10/5/05 5:27 AM
Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP) ( is doing for a project on the protecting the old city of Beijing. We need the newest update of the earth google about Beijing. Who can help us?
Please visit our website at
Re: Wangfujing Street princethorpe 10/8/05 6:36 AM
Hi seer,

There are three attractions which seem to have become permenant on Wanfujing.

1. A dancing water display fountains modulated in time to music (the inevitable Blue Danube.

2. A heart sinking catapult capsule further up the street. This is a small capsule which seats 3 and is suspended between 2 cranes the 2 bands attached to the unit are tensioned then released launching occupant and capsule 40--50 feet into the air.

3. Bronze figures rickshaw, stereo typical chinese figures and trade symbols

There used to be the largest Mac Donalds in the world on the corner of WFG and Chang An Ave but this was knocked down.

I first visited Beijing in 1986 and have been going back regularly since I love the place. Many change some good some bad. I have some earlier photo's

Re: Jingshan Park princethorpe 10/8/05 6:41 AM
The hill which was built is alledged to be 99ft high. This is supposed to be because the celestial spirits fly at 100ft and they are not to be disturbed. Perhaps just an anecdote for the tourists.

Re: Beijing Zoo princethorpe 10/8/05 7:02 AM
The zoo itself has fallen into quite a bit of disrepair although moves have been made to improove the facilities and accomodation of the animals. The antiquated amusment park which used to be located in the west end of the park has long gone. I miss the creaking ferris wheel (The was one in Shanghai zoo as well) The is a large modern western aquarium at the rear of the zoo. On it's first day open many of the exhibits dissapeared and became supper. The main attraction are the Pandas and are always worth a visit. It's worth after seeing them to walk to the Purple Bamboo Park and people watch. Nice authentic cuisine restaurant here.

Re: Altar of Heaven princethorpe 10/8/05 7:29 AM
The Alter of Heaven is Balanced in true chinese Yin Yang fashion by the Alter of earth which is located in Ditan Park near the Lama Temple. It is not as impressive as A of H with the often miss-named Temple of Heaven (Temple of Good Havest). The rooves at the A of H are blue which is peculiar to this structure only in BJ. An exception is the robing room where the emporer changed before worshiping. which is yellow (unfortunately restored by painting it bright yellow this year)
Interesting note about Tiananmen Gate Sumple 11/11/05 4:29 AM
everyone assumes the Tiananmen Gate has remained unchanged since the days of the Emperor, just like the rest of the forbidden city. Actually, it's not!

During the early days of the cultural revolution (late 1960's) the gate began to develop leaks and structural problems because of heavy use since the revolution.

Premier Zhou Enlai (Chou Enlai) ordered that the building be rebuilt from top to bottom. To ensure that the West does not hear about this, the entire building was covered with scaffolding and netting, and then taken apart from top to bottom.

This is why the Tiananmen Gate you see today actually has a base made of concrete. The actual building, though, was built with traditional material and techniques.

Because it is the cultural revolution, some of the dragons inside the building were changed to flowers during the reconstruction. This was fixed up in the 80's.
Re: Interesting note about Tiananmen Gate seer 11/11/05 12:30 PM
Re: Interesting note about Tiananmen Gate fmeng 11/14/05 8:10 PM
Yes. I remember this when I was a kid. If my memory is correct, the current Tiananmen Gate is taller than the original one.
Re: Beijing vanchuck 1/11/06 2:01 AM
This area, currently showing up as a construction site in google earth, has now been completed, though the buildings are still unoccupied as of Nov/05. I grabbed an (almost in focus, despite being handheld long exposure) photo while I was there, as you can see below:

(sorry couldn't get photo to appear in post because BB software won't recognize an image from my gallery software as an image!)

The fancy new LRT station is right beside/in front of it in the photo, which you can see in the satellite view.
Re: Museum of Chinese History Braham_S_Aggarwal 2/4/06 4:10 AM
For those of you who want to experience the 360° panoramas, original Chinese music, audio of Chinese phrases, video, photography etc. of following Beijing Sights:

The Great Wall
The Forbidden City
Tiananmen Square
The Gate of Heavenly Peace
The Summer Palace
Old Summer Palace
Jingshan Park
Beihai Park
Hutongs - Traditional Alleys
The Marco Polo Bridge

Here is the required web link, click and enjoy
The Great Wall of China ! Braham_S_Aggarwal 2/4/06 4:41 AM
The Great Wall of China extends for a good 3,000 miles from its origin at the seaside in Shanhaiguan (the Old Dragon Head), a seaport along the coast of Bohai Bay in the east, all the way to Jiayu Pass in Gansu Province. Stretching from the eastern part of Liaoning in Northeast China to Lintao (in modern Minxian) on the desert in the northwest of China, it passes through Liaoning, Hebei, Beijing, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Ningxia, and Gansu. The Chinese li equals 0.5 kilometer, so the Great Wall is 10,000 li long in Chinese measurement and hence it is known in Chinese as the Ten-Thousand-Li Long Wall.

The section closest to Beijing city proper is Badaling. This section offers awesome views, but it is also the most crowded, as it is the main Wall featured on all tour routes. Mutianyu is another restored section to the east of Badaling. This section requires a more rigorous climb, however, both Mutianyu and Badaling have cable cars to help you reach the top.

Badaling, the essence of the Great Wall, in 1987, was listed as the "World Cultural Heritage" by UN.

A wilder and less crowded option is to go to the section known as Simatai. This section is much farther away, over 100 kilometers northeast of Beijing, so you will have to make a whole day of a trip here. All of these sections have tours which go there, but the most popular is Badaling, as it is closest.
[color:"blue"] Worldwide Technologies [/color]
Puestos comida tradic. - Traditional food stands Txisko 2/28/06 3:35 AM
En ellos, a precios módicos, se puede comer cositas tan sabrosas como pinchos morunos de escorpiones o de larvas de gusano de seda, y de otras delicias como calamar, pollo, cerdo, ternera. Tambien numerosos tipos de dulces y bueñuelos, y por supuesto tallarines picantes y arroz.
On these stands, for a modest price, you can eat such delicatessen like brochettes of scorpions or silk worms, and others like squid, pig or beef. You can also find cakes and fritters, and of course hot spiced noodles and rice.
Re: Beijing Lullaby 3/3/06 1:34 PM
Just amazing!
Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero
Re: Beijing Hamunen 4/2/06 1:09 AM

Ok more news from China
and Cultural Exchance
Re: Palace Hotel rting 4/4/06 1:18 AM
What do you think of the prices at Palace Hotel?

(From western Canada) I am travelling to Beijing + Hong Kong with my wife and two small kids in late June 2006 and meeting a friend and his family there (also from Canada). Can't seem to decide on the hotel in Beijing. Palace seems to be rated very high on and but prices are also fairly high relative to others and we may end up needing 3 beds in one hotel room. Most internet travel sites does not allow bookings with 2 children and 2 adults in one room.

Would you have an opinion on the following hotels in Beijing also:
1. Hotel New Otani Chang Fu Gong - my friend made reservations there but seems to cost C$270 a night when my travel agent asked for a quote!
2. Tianlun Dynasty Hotel
3. Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing
4. may be you can suggest one - if I want to stay in Wangfujang area. :-)

Thanks in advance.

in Canada
Re: Palace Hotel seer 4/9/06 9:21 PM
Palace is very nice but expensive.

The Novotel, right across the street, is nice enough and half the price.
update for China fmeng 4/27/06 8:27 PM
Hello, does anybody know if there is any update plan for China? High resolution map for 2008 Olympic Game will be very interesting. Thank you.
Re: Beijing david9999 5/21/06 1:27 AM
There're more beautiful and historial city such as NANJING,XI'AN,SHENYANG
Re: update for China seer 5/21/06 1:33 PM
Gathering data about the People's Republic of China (and Iran, North Korea, etc.) is very complicated. It will be interesting to have the Olympics in a place where maps are hard to come by!
Re: Beijing seer 5/21/06 1:36 PM
How true. The People's Republic of China is beautiful and diverse. I will add detailed posts as soon as images of more areas in that country are available in high-resolution detail.
Now the high resolution maps are available fmeng 6/9/06 9:18 PM
and pretty new. I can see the Olympic constructions and new airport building. Fantastic! Thank google.
Re: Beijing KARLKINGS 6/14/06 12:47 AM
I am a Chinese.
I admire u for your posts.
Re: Beijing seer 6/14/06 6:59 AM
Thank you. Please enjoy all the new data showing your beautiful country.
Re: Beijing mrqueen 6/16/06 10:48 AM
Great! Do u know Hou Hai? there are lots of bars and noises. In summer, it's not a bad choice.
Citibank in Beijing GimpLlama 6/17/06 6:58 PM
Could anyone possibly make a location marker for the Citibank in Beijing? I'm having trouble finding it. Thanks so much!!
Re: Citibank in Beijing seer 6/18/06 8:54 AM
Re: Beijing cappucino 6/18/06 9:52 PM
pas mal, merci.
CAMIC - Chinese Language Study Program gclewis 6/19/06 5:02 AM
中国民航管理干部学院 (Zhōngguó Mínháng Guǎnlǐ Gànbù Xuéyuàn), the Civil Aviation Management Institute of China. If you plan to study Chinese in Beijing, this is one good choice. A very competent Chinese Mandarin teaching staff with a program well-tailored to the needs of foreign students. Lodging is provided in on-campus rooms. The campus also has a cafeteria/restaurant, a barbershop, tennis and badminton courts, and a *very* small weight gym (there are commercial gyms across the street and at the Holiday Inn down the street).
its not du jiangyan fxhe 7/26/06 6:20 AM
Du JiangYan is 150KM west from here.
Re: 13 Ming Tombs _zach_ 8/27/06 12:47 AM
As the name implies, I collected these tomb relics of the Emperors of the Ming Dynasty. just for your reference.
The Ming Tombs
Re: Beijing 120242pp 9/3/06 5:17 AM
hi sir
how do you like post any photos about Shandong Prov?
Silk Street 秀水街 (Xiu Shui Jie) eastdistrict 11/15/06 8:35 PM
Silk Street (Chinese: 秀水街, Pinyin: Xiushuijie) is a shopping center in Beijing that accommodates over 1,700 retail vendors, notorious among international tourists for their wide selection of counterfeit designer brand apparels.

Silk Street Placemark and 3D Model
Re: Beijing Online xhtc 6/3/07 12:50 AM
Beijing is definitely one of the most visited cities in the world. Every year, millions of visitors flock to Beijing just to see the capital of China, a great blend of old and new. For more information on Beijing attractions, please check BeijingTop 10 Must See Attractions
Re: Lodge of Red Snow (*) xtaaxt 3/27/08 12:51 AM

The tools ancient chinese used to observe the sky. they were used to measure the place of stars
Re: Lodge of Red Snow (*) GreatWallForum 2/8/10 12:52 PM
Best Great Wall maps and photos at the Great Wall Forum

More topics »