Unforbidden.. but still a city

Finally! After our 8 months in China, we have finally gone to Beijing and Xi’an. Which means, we have finally seen the Forbidden City, climbed the Great Wall of China, and taken in the Terracotta Warriors. And we’re excited to tell y’all all about it.

We flew to Beijing where we found a nice hostel hidden in a traditional Hutong; perfect for wandering. We had wanted to wake up early on the first day to see the raising of the flag in Tiananmen Square but when our hostel informed us that it was to be held at daybreak (around 4 am) we decided against it.

The Forbidden City as seen from Tiananmen Square

However, we still woke up early the next day thanks to the nearby morning market. It’s one of those traditional markets that the grandmothers take their grandchildren to for socializing while they pick up the ingredients for that day’s meals.  By 7 am it’s already noisy, but that was alright because this was one of those vacations that left us no time to waste…

We got to The Forbidden City when it was still relatively early but we weren’t able to get inside for quite some time because we kept getting stopped for photo ops (in places with lots of tourists, there are a lot of people whom have never seen foreigners before).  Besides, we had to take a few photos of our own in front of the infamous portrait of Chairman Mao hanging from Tiananmen Gate- the place where this man announced the formation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 to a crowd in Tiananmen Square.

Tiananmen Gate

After finally entering The Palace Museum, we were able to discover that, although the Forbidden City is no longer forbidden, it still is a city. It’s huge- nearly 7,800,000 sq ft! You wander in through hall after strangely named hall and it seems impossible to finally see the end of it all.

A few of the highlights (besides the general grandness of it all) include:

  • The Nine Dragon Screen; a beautiful way to divert bad Chi trying to enter The Forbidden City.
  • The Well of Concubine Zhen; A small well in which Emperor Guangxu’s favorite concubine was thrown into at the command of the infamous Empress Cixi.
  • The Hall of the Cultivation of Nature; the place where Emperor Puyi was given English lessons by Sir Reginald Johnston. Watching The Last Emperor is a great precursor for a visit to The Forbidden City.
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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jing Hu
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 08:02:37

    I hope you guys had fun! 🙂 My advice next time go to HUANGSHAN (Anhui province) they have China’s most beautiful mountains. 🙂

    Reply

  2. Harpal
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 08:01:51

    Hello Dear
    Your exp to China and near make an image in one’s mind as he himself was there.
    Dear One of your picture The facade of Sao Paulo’s Church is very good
    Can we use that picture in the advt of Macau to be released by my client.

    Pls let me know

    Thanking you
    Regards
    Harpal

    Reply

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