During our visit to China (see parts 1, 2, and 3 if you missed them!) the city we spent the most time in was Beijing. It is probably due to this that Beijing ended up being my favorite city, simply because we saw and did so many things there. On our first full day in the city we took a tour through Tian'anmen Square and the Forbidden City.
The Tian'anmen Square is the third largest city square in the world, and was originally built in 1651. It has been used as a large meeting place since its creation, and has been the site of many important political events and protests. When we were standing in the square, it was easy (if not a little scary) to imagine it filled to the brim with people. Lucky for us it was not very crowded on the day we visitied. Walking around a place that has seen so much history never ceases to amaze me.
Yesterday (October 1st) was actually the 63rd anniversary of the People's Republic of China, so I'm sure the square was completely filled! We loved looking at the buildings in Tian'anmen Square, like the Monument to the People's Heroes, the Mausoleum of Chairman Mao, the National Museum of China, and more. As if all of this wasn't enough, the entrance to the Forbidden City (or the Gate of Heavenly Peace) is at the square as well.
For over 500 years the Forbidden City served as the home of emperors and their households... as in no common people could set foot in the city. It has 9,999 rooms and is now mostly open to the public as the "Palace Museum." When you walk through the main entrance from Tian'anmen Square, you can see row after row of elaborate Chinese buildings, the lion statues, and the city wall. It is so impressive and hard to believe that most people in China during imperial rule had no idea what it looked like inside. I even read that it took 15 years and over 1,000,000 workers to build!
About the above picture... my mom and brother decided to act out the "mother lion and baby lion" seen in all of the statues in the doorways (see the statue behind them). We were laughing so, so hard, and people around us probably thought we were crazy :)One of the things our tour guide mentioned about the Forbidden City was the floor... 7 layers of brick were used throughout the walled city so that enemies could not dig tunnels into it. Pretty crazy right?
We loved visiting such important sites from Chinese history, but I must say that my two favorite places we visited in Beijing (and possibly all of China) are coming up next... thanks for stopping by!