Saturday August 23, 2008.
We have been wanting to go back to Tienanmen Square to see the Olympic displays. Since the game's closing ceremony is on Sunday we thought we'd go down. Well it was closed again probably for a receiving party for foreign dignitaries. All was not lost so we decided we'd check out the Forbidden City.
Quote from wikipedia:
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the mid-Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the Dongcheng District, in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost five centuries, it served as the home of the Emperor and his household, as well as the ceremonial and political centre of Chinese government.
Built from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 surviving buildings with 8,707 bays of rooms and covers 720,000 square metres. The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.
We walked around and checked out the many museums and collections on display. The weather was nice and the air was clear and the skies were blue as you can see in this picture.
To get to the Forbidden city you have to pass through a series of gates the first being Tienanmen Gate. This gate has the portrait of Mao hanging on it. Here we are across the street from the first gate.
The next gate is the Meridian Gate pictured here.
Here is a shot from atop the Meridain Gate looking towards Tienanmen. Notice the pathway in the middle. This is the center line of Beijing. It actually bisects the city in 2.
Once through the meridain Gate you are officially inside the Forbidden City, we know this because this is where they collect the tickets. The cost for entry is 60 yuan or about $9. We then passed through the Gate of Supreme Harmony. This is a smaller building/gate.
After passing through the gate you are in front of the Hall of Supreme Harmony which is probably what most people see in pictures of the Forbidden City with its carved marble steps and shiny yellow tiled roof. This building was recently revovated. When I was here in January the building looked like this.
Today it is has been renovated and all of the brighly painted decoration have been restored.
We made our way to the rear of the forbidden city where the imperial gardens are and what we needed most shade. We had lunch and Olivia made some new friends.
We enjoyed our afternooon in the gardens and headed back out and along the way we checked out the many museums and collections along the way. We also made some new friends too.
We will return to the Forbidden City when Sandy's Mom visits in a few weeks.