I just returned from an amazing week in China and a week in Korea, visiting my daughter and her boyfriend who are teaching English there. I’d like to share some photos with you over the next few weeks.
Our first stop was at the Forbidden City. According to China Highlights, ” The Forbidden City, situated in the very heart of Beijing, was home to 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The construction of the grand palace started in the fourth year of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty (1406), and ended in 1420. In ancient times, the emperor claimed to be the son of Heaven, and therefore Heaven’s supreme power was bestowed upon him. The emperors’ residence on earth was built as a replica of the Purple Palace where God was thought to live in Heaven. Such a divine place was certainly forbidden to ordinary people and that is why the Forbidden City is so named.”
It’s hard to comprehend the sheer size of the place. It goes for several miles and consists of over 90 buildings, not all of which are open to the public. When I stepped into the first plaza, surrounded by palace buildings on all sides, tears came to my eyes. As a child I always dreamed of traveling. When those dreams come true, it is with a profound sense of wonderment and awe.
Everywhere we went in Beijing was packed with crowds. The mass of humanity and the humidity were a little overwhelming, but eventually we found a covered pavilion, near the garden of the Forbidden City, where I paused to sit on a bench in the shade and do some people watching.
Fire, in the Forbidden City, was always a problem (due to lightning strikes or arson), so there are many huge brass basins, used to collect rain water for use in case of fire.
(all photos by Hans J. Landig, copyright 8/10)
Next up: The Great Wall of China!