China: Bejing - Attractions (Translated by Irina Novikova)
This is the second album that tells about my trip to China. As is the first one it is dedicated to Beijing.
The Gate of Heavenly Peace is located on one side of the already-mentioned Tiananmen Square, and leads to the Forbidden City. During the imperial rule, common people weren’t allowed here, hence the name.
It is a large territory – about 7 hectares (70,000 sq meters). The imperial palace is located in the center of the square.
The construction of the Forbidden City lasted 15 years, beginning in 1406. Twenty four emperors of two dynasties lived here. The last emperor left the Forbidden City in 1925.
Inside there are many structures in, I’d say, Buddhist style.
Everything is either renovated or is getting renovated. However, one thing caught my eye – in places the parts of the gates are made of smooth metal pipes, which couldn’t possibly be made during the imperial rule. In places, the structures are built form quite contemporary cement blocks, perfectly finished, with a neat layer of concrete.
For example, when I observed similar in North Korea, there was somewhat of an excuse – there the Americans with their humanitarian bombardment marched all over very well. But it isn’t clear why in Beijing the restoration was done without so much as an attempt for imitation of old materials and under the slogan “build anew.”
Roofs – surely the strong side of Buddhists.
Observe an interesting tradition of building high stairs leading to the entrance. The idea is to prevent the harmful spirits from entering the building.
The visitor must necessarily step over the entrance sill, stepping on it is considered disrespectful.
The strange look of the lions is explained by the fact that there was none in China and Chinese found out about them from the travelers.
All in all, they portrayed the animal more or less accurately. :)
The next attraction, which by the way left on me the biggest impression, was the Great Wall of China.
It is said that the wall’s length is 5 or 6 thousand kilometers, but I can only vaguely imagine such a stretch (as a reminder, the diameter of the Earth is 12 thousand kilometers).
The given section (Badaling) was reconstructed and is located near Beijing.
Since the landscape is highly mountainous, the wall rather looks like a stair with a few flat spots and signal towers.
At the beginning of the section the large numbers of people create real traffic jams. Besides Chinese, the visitors are tourists from Japan, Korea, Europe, USA, and Russia.
In the process of ascend people quickly lose their enthusiasm and there is almost no one in the upper part of the section.
In support of some ancient legend, hundreds of locks hang on the chain. I do not know the gist of the legend, but in today’s interpretation they are hung by newlyweds. It is thought that their union will be especially strong.
It is somewhat strange that all locks and ribbons are absolutely the same. I suspect that couples buy locks at the shop nearby. :) But, in my mind, this approach defeats the idea.
The wall goes further, but almost no one goes that far.
In all honesty, if there was more time – I would walk around the wall for an hour or two with great pleasure. The views are breathtaking.
The sides of the hills are seeded with bushes that serve as an obstacle fro the falling rocks.
And it looks beautiful this way too.
This is the first Chinese astronaut. ;-)
“NO CLIMBING” (probably means on the tower), “NO SMOKING”, “SPEAKING CELLPHONE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED WHEN THUNDERSTORM”.
On the middle sign the second character means something like “stop,” the last one – “smoke.”
The higher, the more frequent are the autographs in style of “I was here.”
As far as I remember, the first two characters here mean “light.” Could be part of the name? Who knows?
On the top signal tower the city names “Habarovsk” and “Vladivostok” are scratched in.
This reminds me about Chinese numbering system. In China there are two (even three) sets of characters that mean numbers. One set that is fairly easy to remember, and the second one that is terribly complex, with the massive number of dashes. The latter is, so called, “financial” – with a high level of security. ;)
On the subway ticket from the previous album there is a digit 4 like that.
By the way digit 4 is considered very unlucky, because the character sounds similar to character designating “death.” But 8 is liked by everyone, because it means “wealth.”
Alternative method of descend/ascend. But it looks as if this path goes only as far as the gazebo.
The closer to the top (height about 1000 meters) the fewer people were left.
Some walk around in tank tops (the temperature was about 5 below, plus the wind).
The wall is tricky in a sense that every tower looks like the last one. But when you reach it, it turns out there is another brief descend and again a sharp rise to the next tower. ;)
Recently I stumbled upon a picture (by Alex Lebedev) concerning this very topic.
The last attraction of Beijing for today will be Park Baihai (North Lake).
Visible on the background is the White Dagoba.
The park is located on a small island, in the middle of a lake.
At some point this was a garden for the emperors, and later a private garden of the wife of Mao Zedong (if the sources tell the truth).
White Dagoba was built in 1651, but the park itself is at least a thousand years old.
It is probably especially nice here in the summer.
The heart goes out to the bamboo that somehow manages to grow in these conditions.
It is unclear then, why does the plant not grow in Russia, if the cold and snow do not disturb it?
Turtle – symbol of longevity.
Heron – also symbol of some sort.
People ignore warning signs here too :)
Just remembered – in China one can very often see various warning signs and hear announcements, etc, that end with words “Thank you for your cooperation” ;-)
In the winter portion of the lake is designated for using somewhat bizarre modes of transportation.
As far as child-rearing in China:
Everyone knows, that in China the government is attempting to limit the number of newborns. To have a second child families need to obtain permission, otherwise a fine will be applied. I asked – locals say that the fine is small and those that want a second child – will pay without a problem. Moreover, now the government is relaxing the limitations, because they begin to foresee the problem – shortage of young people.
Also, locals shared, that before in the country several occurrences took place, when one boy was exchanged for 3-4 girls. :)
The ceiling in this gallery is beautifully decorated. Lower I offer several enlarged fragments.
That is all I wanted to show at the Park Beihei.
Near the square Tiananmen.
This is probably “Front Gates” (Qianmen)
In the next album we will travel to the Hainan Island. That is also in China, but to the south. By plane it is over two hours away from Beijing.