Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Forbidden City Beijing

There are two things you really should do when you go to Beijing and one is visit the Forbidden City.

So despite 12 hour days and relentless flow of emails I took some time off to go round this extraordinary World Heritage Site, mostly 600 years old.

It is absolutely vast so in the end spent over 4 hours touring its apparently endless passages and halls:

I took the audio tour which is well worth it as it gives gems about the background.

Each building had a name - something like "Eternal Halls of Peace and Tranquillity"  - but the stories associated with them were usually very different to their names, almost always involving concubines scheming or dying of a broken heart.

It was the start of the school holidays and it felt like a million families were there too, but if you went furthest from the main route through the backbone of the site you could get a bit of quiet. My favourite moment was near the three level theatre:
Here I had a good sit and long drink of water, for it was another hot and humid day, and to consult the guide book.

I was finding I was doing this quite a lot as there is so much history about China that I for one don't know and it was hard to keep track of all the emperors and invasions.

Finally my zigzag route based upon the Lonely Planet and audio tour guides ended and I could proceed north to the exit and a well earned slice of water melon.
Then it was back to the hotel for work related chores, so I didn't go to Jingshan Park on the hill in the photo above.

There was indeed much I didn't manage to see - maybe next time!

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