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Album: By Country | By Date China | July 2001 < Prev: Beijing Nights | Next: The Summer Palace >
Travelogue: By Country | By Date China | July 2001  

July 2001 - Forbidden City

Where emperors once roamed, and as the less than interesting signs repeatedly informed us, "attended to state business and received officials," or sometimes vice versa

This gives some idea of how big the Forbidden City is.  The wall in the foreground is the shortest side of the rectangular enclosure.  This is taken from Jinghshan Gongyan, the park on the north side of the City, and a very nice change from the bleak, crowded spaces of the City.
Crossing Tiananmen Square - yes, the place where the pro-democracy demonstrators hung out and were killed in 1989.  Tiananmen occupies more than a hundred acres, making it one of the biggest public squares in the world.  This is looking north toward Tiananmen Gate and the entrance to the Forbidden City.  We have already traversed about two thirds of this ghastly, bleak, and hot space.   Mao above Tiananmen Gate.  It is from the gate that Mao proclaimed the People's Republic in 1949. Another gate
Beyond the Meridian Gate is a large courtyard (the place is arranged as a series of gates, courtyards, and raised pavilions as one walks north through it), through which the Golden River runs in a bow-shaped arc. The river is crossed by five parallel white marble bridges, which lead to the Gate of Supreme Harmony. Lion Nicely decorated ceiling We were often impressed by Chinese packing materials.  (Big rolls of cable were covered with mats.)
Turtle Maggie liked this crane Dunc and Maggie chatting This is the heart of the Forbidden City, where three main halls stand atop a three-tiered marble terrace overlooking an immense plaza. The area encompasses some seven acres (three hectares)--enough space to admit tens of thousands of subjects to pay homage to the emperor.
Throne.  Nearly every building bore a sign telling tourists that the building was where "the emperor conducted state business and received officials."  Another pavilion and gate Nice work Nice dragon
Nice girl Goofballs Goofier girl
Looking toward the next gate Bronze-colored water pot.  The place used to catch fire frequently. Another throne Another hall
Another rooftop Another ceiling . . . are you starting to get the idea? Another of Maggie's command performances Tree
Cool lion Art on display The dominant feature in the gardens is this mound of strange-shaped rocks and mortar. A pavilion in the gardens
Clowning in the clownish Imperial garden Buddha statue A corner and moat The fancy Peking Duck dinner with Michael and Jackie