Since moving to Shanghai, China just seven months ago, a lot has happened. I’ve started teaching, met a thousand and one people I’d never known existed, and seen a bit of the city in-between one weirdly, wonderfully, stressful week and the next. In the beginning of October, I went to South Korea – a trip I adored and shamefully took perhaps just four photos. Oh, well – the memories, if not their physical counterparts, are embedded in my mind.
Last week, I went to Beijing, which is the *main* focus of this post! Though we stayed for just three short days, we packed them to the brim with site-seeing and getting our 10,000+ steps in.
Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square
We arrived to Tiananmen Square in central Beijing (just off of which is the Forbidden City) at 7am on a Tuesday morning, and already it was crowded.
The Forbidden City houses the Palace Museum, and the palace itself.
The latter was active from the Ming dynasty (13th-14th century) to the Qing dynasty (20th century) and it took apparently 14 years to build the 980 buildings still standing within. The architecture is beautifully detailed and almost delicate in its extravagance. Rich colours and intricate carvings breathe regality in structures where time seems to stand still.
It was home to all the emperors of those 600 years, and – as you can expect – there are some fascinating tales to be told.
Though it was crowded, the spacious grounds (over 180 acres) made it seem like nothing at all.
The museum houses carefully preserved and looked-after artefacts and antiques.
Apparently, the dragon is a symbol of masculinity and the emperor, and the phoenix, of the empress.
A separate post will up soon about the Great Wall!