Beijing

14-08-1999

Beijing, also known as Peking, capital city of the People’s Republic of China,with a population of 13 million.

To many foreign visitors, Beijing is an enormous treasure house of cultural and historical relics, stocked with various collections of palaces, temples, parks and above all, one of the seven wonders of the world, the Great Wall. It is a mysterious land with a striking contrast between the numerous traces of old tradition and the modern metropolitan life. What impresses visitors most is its long history and rich culture. Beijing had been the ruling center of China for several kingdoms and dynasties, and it has remained to be the center of China’s political and cultural life in addition to its role as a major trading center and a place of strategic importance.

Beijing is located in the southern part of the North China Plain, encircled by Hebei Province. The city center is situated at Latitude 39″6’N and Longitude 116″20’E. It is surrounded by mountains of the Taihang and Yanshan ranges in the west, north and northeast ,with the broad plain to the southeast. It is approximately 110 km northwest of the Bo Hai gulf.

The city center is 43.7 meters above sea level. The mountains average from 1,000 to 1,500 meters above sea level, with the highest Lingshan Peak measuring 2,303 meters, whereas the nadir point is less than ten meters above sea level.

15-08-1999

On the 2nd day morning, we begin our Beijing tour by taking public bus from the hotel to Tian’anmen Square. Is about 10 min from Dongdan to Tian’anmen. This is my first experience in Beijing, China.

Beijing Tian'anmen Square / Google Photos
Beijing Tian'anmen Square / Google Photos

The Tian’anmen Square is in the heart of modern Beijing. Occupying an area of 440,000 square meters, it is the biggest square in the world, that can accommodate 500,000 people. The founding ceremony of the Peoples Republic of China was held here on October 1, 1949, which climaxed with 1 million people gathering to hear the late Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the birth of New China.

The Tian’anmen Square is the site where important national celebrating ceremonies and grand gatherings are held. Towering at the center of the Square is the magnificent Monument to the People’s Heroes which is 37.94 meter in height and is built with over 17000 pieces of marble and granite.

On the national flag terrace at the center of the northern part of the square stands a silver-white flag pole. A grand flag-hoisting ceremony is held every morning. Accompanied by music played by a military band, the guard of honor of the three service in full dress hoists China’s national flag at sunrise.The ceremony has become a new attraction for sightseers and pedestrians.

In national day , the Square is always gorgeously decorated by flowers and flags, in those three days vocation , the square always become the hottest local point in Beijing.

2nd stop: ZhongShan Park
The main entrance to Zhong Shan Park is through a gateway of about 30 metres west of Tian’anmen Gate. There is also another entrance on the west of the Meridian Gate to the forbidden City. It covers an area of 24 hectares.

Beijing Zhong Shan Park / Google Photos

Located there is the Altar of the Earth and Harvests or the Altar of Land and Grain. It was set up in the 19th year of the Ming Emperor Yongle (1421 A.D.). The Altar is surrounded by a small square wall faced with orange tiles to the south, blue tiles to the east, black tiles to the north, and yellow tiles to the west.The passageway through each wall passes under a pailou (memorial arch). Inside the walls there are three tiers, square-shaped, leading to the top surface which is the altar. The altar is hard – packed earth divided into four areas, represented by earth of different colors: red to the south, yellow in the middle, black to the north, white to the west and green to the east. The earth was originally carried to the altar from the four corners of the empire and symbolized the principle that the “Son of Heaven” owned everything on earth.

In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the emperor came here twice a year to make sacrifices to the gods so that sowing would be successful and the crop bountiful.

The park is noted for its old cypresses. About 1,000 of are several hundred years old and it is said that a few of them are over 1,000 years old!

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