Beijing – China’s grand capital
We took the fast speed train to Beijing from Shanghai and stayed at the luxurious The Peninsula Beijing. The same with all the Peninsula hotels worldwide, this branch is ultra-extravagant and well worth its five-star ranking.
Beijing is, of course, China’s center of politics, economics, and culture. The capital has a history that stretched for over 3,000 years. You can see their history is when you see the old structures like the Great Wall. Remember that it was built long before some countries were founded.
One experience I would forever remember is enjoying eating street food like small crabs on HouHai Bar Street which are surprisingly really good. First-time visitors should really try these. I also admired all the people painting art on this street and really wish I could also paint them too.
Day 4: 1 day Tour of Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum, Tiananmen Square – Forbidden City, The Great Wall
A visit to the Mausoleum of Chairman Mao Zedong
There was a long line of people who still want to visit the mausoleum of their former leader, Chairman Mao Zedong. We did not line up so we were unable to see the grave itself but you can see from the pictures below how long the line was. He was really a very influential part of their most recent history as their Chairman from 1945 to his death in 1976. The Chairman was a very good ruler and one who had been part of their lives for so long.
Another must-see in China is a visit to the Forbidden City. I found out that this place is home to the Ming and Qing Emperors of ancient Chinese dynasties. It is huge and reputed to be the biggest royal compound in the whole world. The royal museum inside showcases the Imperial family’s awesome collection of ancient Chinese art.
Lastly, we managed to see the famous Tiananmen Square. Surprisingly, “Tiananmen” means The Gate of Heavenly Peace and was built in the 1400s. The flat dimension is perfect for meetings and announcements that still happen even now.
Long before I can travel extensively, I learned that the Great Wall of China is one of the Seven Wonders of the World from school books, and seeing it for the first time is really like going back in time. It is really amazing and I love how the government did their best to maintain this ancient structure that we can still marvel at even now.
This wall is so long at over 5,000 kilometers and it would take almost two years to walk it from one end but to be exact 18 months. History lessons said that the Chinese built the wall to protect them from invaders. I saw restored guard posts for the soldiers who used to patrol these walls. And I managed to take pictures of what would have been their view. I imagine that this has not changed from all those centuries ago.
Temple of Heaven Park
Our last day of the tour was in the Temple of Heaven. As in most places in China, the whole area is sprawling! In my picture below is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest. There were a lot of tourists and the view of the massive temples are the most perfect backdrop.
This site is where the annual Worship of Heaven ceremony took place. This very important ceremony has a lot of special rules for its preparation including a precise place, time, steps, music, and even the dance that needs to be performed. This ancient ceremony comes a part of the divine right of an emperor. It is a huge part of the religious beliefs of the ancient Chinese.
One other lovely spot here is the spectacular trees. It is home to a famous tree called “the grandfather tree” which is said to be several centuries old and aptly named Nine-Dragon Cypress as it has branches like nine dragons winding with each other. The trees are a restful spot and locals use it to perform very graceful morning exercises.
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