Day 4: Forbidden City Visit

 

Today was our last day with Joe the Great and our last day in Beijing before we take a bullet train to Xi’an. On the bus ride to the city, Joe was going over some of the history behind the Forbidden City, for example, no building in Beijing can be built higher than the city. Before we went to the Forbidden City, we went through Tienanmen Square. There we saw the building housing Mao Zedong’s body. The building was being renovated so we could not go inside. However, we did see Mao Zedong’s famous portrait hanging over the entrance to the forbidden city.

From our program guide –
“Tiananmen Square us the third largest city square in the world. It has great cultural significance as it was the site of several important events in Chinese history. The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty.”

Once we made it through the city walls Joe had a challenge for us, determine out of the two lion statues, which one was the female and the male. The only difference between the statues was that the one of the left had a ball in its paw and the right one had a cub in it. It turned out that the female was the one on the right because that statue was the one playing with the cub (“women are always right” – Joe the Great 2017). This was to show that the emperor was merciful? (the female lion) but powerful (male lion).

After visiting the Forbidden City, we went into a more historic district of Beijing (“suburban”) where we took a rickshaw through the town and arrived an older gentlemen’s house where he talked about how the town has transformed over time (fashion, the city becoming more populated, and how the roads got smaller to fit more housing). To finish the day we visited the Temple of heaven and had a Tai-chi class in the park area of the temple grounds.

From our program guide –
“Temple of Heaven is regarded as a Taoist temple and is built for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. It had a profound influence on architecture and planning in the Far East over many centuries.”

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