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From Hong Kong, Post 2 
21st-Oct-2008 07:03 am

More pics from my first full day of touring in Beijing. These are of the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven.

The Forbidden City was the Chinese Imperial Palace from the middle of the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing. A period of about 5 centuries. It consists of almost 1000 surviving buildings and covers an area of over 700,000 square meters and is the world's largest surviving palace complex. It served as both the Imperial residence for the Emperor and his household as well as being the seat of government. At its height it housed 12,000 people within its walls, serving the Emperor and the organization of state. It took 15 years to build and required more than a million workers. It's surrounded by a wall over 7 meters high and a 52 meter wide moat.

Just inside the outer courtyard of the Forbidden City.

Wider view of the outer courtyard. That's our city tour gude, Allen, in the blue and white shirt in the foreground. He likes wearing a Beatles cap and is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin. We have a national tour guide that accompanies us throughout the tour in China as well as separate city tour guides that join us in each city.


. Most of the ground and marble walkways are the original ones. There are many ornate copper and iron vats dotted around the complex which form part of the ancient firefighting system.

Inner courtyard

In ancient times, the number of mythological animals that decorated the roof corner showed the importance of the person who owned the building. This is the Hall of Supreme Harmony is the throne hall and has the maximum of nine. No other buildings in the country are allowed to have this many.

On the roof of the Hall of Supreme Harmony, there is (starting from the front) :

an immortal riding a phoenix, followed by:  a dragon, a phoenix, a lion, a heavenly steed, a sea horse,
a SuAnNi, a YaYu, a XieZhi, a DouNiu and a HangShi. This is the fixed pattern for the order of the animals.

The other buildings in the Forbidden City are relatively less important and, therefore, the number of small animals on the roof is reduced. The elimination starts from the back.

 View of the archway of one of the buildings

Throne room. Unfortunately we were not allowed inside any of the buildings and could only look through open doorways or through windows.

 Hall of Consolation (Residence of the Empress Dowager)

A Jade sculpture just outside the doorway

A decorated wall just inside the doorway to block the view to the inside

Bedroom inside the Hall of Consolation

Room inside the Hall of Consolation

Another room inside the Hall of Consolation


Rock, tree and flower garden inside the Palace

Gazebo in the garden

The Temple of Heaven is where Ming and Qing Emperors went for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. The building is made without any nails. Each piece fits perfectly into each other.

Inside the Temple of Heaven

Avon Cally Sit LookR
21st-Oct-2008 11:34 am (UTC)
I am soooo jellous, there are four things I want to see before I die, and probably won't now
The pyramids in egypt
The Forbidden city
The terracotta army
The Great wall of China
And you have seen at least two of them on this holiday. Thank you for the pictures, you seem to have the same taste in holiday snaps I have.
21st-Oct-2008 01:03 pm (UTC)
Stunning - and the colours and the ornate carvings are beautiful. Thank you for sharing, they are great ... Now I know I really must get there one day.
21st-Oct-2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
So much good stuff that I can't say which I like best.
21st-Oct-2008 07:36 pm (UTC)
How very beautiful! [mems]

I'm so glad they didn't pull it all down or gut it and turn it into offices. It seems to be wonderfully well kept. A friend just came back from St Petersburg and Moscow, and many of their buildings are only now being maintained after being neglected for 90 years.
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