Beijing, China Part 2
Some background and history:
The Forbidden City (called that because only the Emperor and his family were allowed inside) was built between 1406 and 1420. Followed by the Temple of Heaven and Tiananmen Square. Mao Zedong (aka Chairman Mao) is buried in Tiananmen Square, and people line up for hours to walk past his embalmed body, either to worship him or to make sure he is dead!
There must have been hundreds of thousands of people in the Square and the Forbidden City. Even the guide said he never saw so many people. A few days before we got to the Forbidden City it was reported that 182,000 people passed through it on that specific day.
To cross the road you had to go under a tunnel, and here is everyone coming out of the tunnel leading to the Forbidden City.
The Gate to the Forbidden City with Mau Zedong’s picture.
China is full of gates.. Gates lead to gates that lead to more gates.
The Forbidden City is all about gates. One gate leads to another, that leads to another. The Emperor was basically paranoid and believed that having gates (and he also had a moat) would make it difficult for someone to approach without being seen.
Flowers in Tiananmen Square
The Military was everywhere
The Chinese Emperor also kept concubines, so many that he didn’t remember who they were. They had separate apartments around the compound, with eunuchs watching all of them. The ground of the city was laid with bricks, 17 layers of bricks so that nothing could penetrate. He also didn’t have any trees or plants anywhere except in the Imperial Gardens on the North side of the compound.
The building was built above everything else. When there were meetings with the Emperor the great big urns you see were filled with incense and smoke covered the levels so that the building looked like it was in the heavens.
The vastness of the Forbidden City, and the actual bricks from the 1400s.
Since NO ONE was allowed into the city they had these big urns, placed all around the city, that were filled with water just in case a fire broke out. Since it gets very cold in Beijing in winter, the urns were placed on a platform that allowed the servants to build fires under the urns to prevent them from freezing.
The Imperial Gardens had strange rock formations. The prized concubines and their families lived around the garden.
One of the many statues in the garden.
The moat surrounding the City.
Once we left the Forbidden City we had lunch and visited one more temple, The Temple of Heaven. Then it would be time for SHOPPING!
Lunch was a basic Chinese Buffet, but this guy was shredding a huge glob of dough into a pot of hot water, making noodles
The view from the Temple of Heaven.. I was kind of done with Temples altogether. Had enough, but since this Temple is built on the highest point we had some great views.
The Gates leading to and from the Temple of Heaven.
The Chinese are amazing craftsmen, as you can see from all the buildings. Interior of the Temple