October 18, 2010

A Walk Through The Forbidden City

Last week's travel to Beijing was incredibly fruitful.  I had the opportunity to visit some touristy sites in Beijing and warm my tummy with some yummy Peking Duck! Well, I was so engrossed in my food that I forgot to take a picture of the famous Peking Duck! 

I stayed at the Marriot Beijing City Wall, located near the Beijing Train Station and the Tianmen Square.

I was also given a tour of the Peking Union Hospital, one of the most elite hospitals in the country. I love that the architecture of the hospital has a mix of the old and new. This hospital is famous for having the best doctors in the country and patients are willing to save 6 months of their savings to receive state of the art treatment from this hospital. 

And the amazing thing about China is that there's an equal appreciation of Western medicine (where pharmaceutical companies dominate) and Chinese Medicine (a mix of herbs and roots). In fact, there's a public perception that Western medicine only provides symptomatic relief whilst Chinese Medicine treats the root of the problem. Each concoction is tailor made to the patients' condition and welbeing, with a balance of ying yang in mind. 

Artifacts in the Museum...

Next stop, I went to the Beijing Forbidden City. Naturally, anyone would think the 'Great Wall of China' when mentioning 'Beijing'. But it requires an additional day to travel to the site, and I didn't have spare time on this trip. I did manage to squeeze a few hours to see this beautiful site, which housed emperors, empresses and concubines. 

They have 3 doors, the main door (center) only given access to the emperor, who by the way was always carried by 16 servants. The empress was only given one chance to walk through the main entrance on the wedding day. 

The whole square has no trees or bushes, probably a superstition that still exist with older generations of Chinese that a combination of 'trees' and 'square' will mean difficult times. For those who knows Chinese, think the chinese characters when combining the two words together. 

And no building in this proximity is built taller than this palace. Intentionally as well. 

And as with any tourist sites, the number of sales people pressuring you to buy souvenirs is rampant and quite annoying!

Kids are a rare sight in Beijing. Perhaps it's due to the one-child policy. This little girl with an empress crown was singing and dancing to the music that streamed from the compound speakers. Very cute.  

The palace has a huge compound and would probably require a million servants to serve the emperor. 

Water canals are sighted at the front of the palace


The decorations fill every pore of the building, from ceiling to pillars...

There are layers and layers of compounds... 

This one housed the emperor, who slept on 27 different beds in case of possible assassinations during the night. In fact, the title of the emperor is automatically passed down to the eldest son of the deceased emperor. Often, the first and second sons were murdered for this very reason. 

The emperor throne. It was known that nobody could look at the emperor directly at his eyes, otherwise the victim was executed immediately. 

A throne in another waiting area. 

The gap, decorated beautifully with dragons in between the two stairs on either side was there since the emperor never walked and was always carried by 16 men. 

Lion and lioness statues guard the palaces. A ball represents power and is associated with the male lion. Notice how the lion eyes are covered? That's a sign that the secrets of the compound is always kept in the palace. 

The wedding bed that belonged to the empress. 

And, the final amazing building that lay on the Palace Gardens. 

I hope you enjoyed the pictures!

1 comment:

Rainy Days and Lattes said...

Amazing pictures! :) Beijing is simply breathtaking! I wish I could learn all of China's longstanding history :)

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