Living Hall is located north of the Fasting Palace, behind Beamless Hall. This was the place where the emperor exercised abstinence, met with officials and guests. During my visit, the hall was closed, so I was not able to see inside.
The signboard was written as:
" The Living Hall, constructed in an antique style and bearing two characters " Respectful Abstinence" at the lintel, is a place where the emperor used to exercise abstinence before he held the sacrificial rites. The Hall is composed of five rooms. The middle room with a throne bed and a flower table served as the emperor's reception room where he gave audience to officials. The third room in the north was the bed chamber during the abstinence in winter. There was a bed with a thick canopy, and an underground fireplace and charcoal burners for heating the chamber. The third room in the south was used as a living room during the abstinence in Summer. The two annex chambers served as a living room and s study respectively, where Emperor Qianlong wrote dozens of poems in eulogy of Heaven worshiping. "
In Chinese: 寝殿 (Qin Dian)
In Temple of Heaven , near the Fasting Palace, there is a site with column foundations named " Column Foundation of the Sacrificial Hall. This site has significant history related to the process of the ceremonies of prayer to Heaven.
The signboard was written as:
" In the outer enclosure of the Temple of Heaven there was a Sacrificial Hall (not existing today) where the cattle were raised for the use of the sacrificial rituals in the altars. The hall covered an area of five room units housing the "God of Sacrifice." During the construction work in recent years the column foundations were discovered and moved into the altar of preservation. "
I come here often to have foot massage , it's quite close to my work place.
It's on the second floor inside a building, there are quite a few separate rooms where 4 to 6 persons can sit down relax . The ambience is clean, staffs are extremely friendly. Staff are not allowed to receive tips from clients. I like this!
They will first warm your feet up in the hot water with herbs, after about 30 minutes when you foot become softer, you start to enjoy their 1:30 minutes soft massage. Very relaxing!
Price: Before 18:00 happy hour RMB70
18:00-02:00 a.m RMB120
Everybody gets so dominated by the freshness and beauty of the gardens, that the temptation is to skip the houses, as a common detail. But I think it would be wrong.
More than in the Forbidden City, the houses here give a more lively idea of their use, and though more discreet, they are also good examples of Chinese architecture.
In the Beijing Summer Palace, there is an officially recognized Four Star Toilet! It has an official sign issued by the Beijing Tourism board. While it is a better than average toilet for China, I don’t think I would have rated it 4 star. It is just a 3 star in my humble opinion. I think the tourism board is so used to no star toilets, that any clean toilet looks like a 4 star toilet to them.
The former Imperial Ancestral Hall or Supreme Temple (Taimiao) now goes by the name Working People's Cultural Palace. An inscription with that name in the handwriting of Mao Zedong hangs over the southern entrance gate (Laodong Renmin Wenhuagong Dongmen).
The temple or palace is like a miniature forbidden city without tourists. We post it as OTBP, because we walked here alone while crowds flocked to the nearby forbidden city.
When you enter the gate you find yourself in the cypress forest which surrounds the temple. The oldest of them were planted soon after the temple was built in 1420 (Ming dynasty), the youngest were planted during the Qing dynasty and are still 300 years old.
The temple itself consists of three halls, only the rear or northern hall is open to the public and houses an exhibition. Eyecatcher of the exhibition is a big bell orchestra.
The southern hall with its pavillions fences of the large courtyard in front of the main hall. To reach it one crosses one of several stone bridges across the Golden River (Jinshuihe).
The main hall has a double-eaved roof and a stone base of three layers. All the roofs are made of beautful yellow tiles.
The Ming and Qing emperors used to offer sacrifices to their ancestors in this temple on very special occasions, such as ascending the throne or returning victoriously from battle. At other times the temple stood empty except for its caretakers. It was converted into a Cultural Palace on Labour Day 1951. For this purpose auxiliary halls have been converted into a library, an exhibition hall, a theater and a stadium. The palace served as venue for events like the 100-day countdown to the 2008 Olympics and the "3rd Garden Party to Help Beijing Citizens Learn Foreign Language".
For more pictures see the travelogue.
Directions: With subway Line 1, get off at Tian’anmen East; bus no's 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 52 and 57 stop close by. Instead of entering the forbidden city at the Gate of Heavenly Peace, find the gate of the Cultural Palace grounds just east of it.
Entrance: Only RMB 2!
This lively Buddhist Temple is the seat of the Chinese Buddhist Association. It was build during the Ming-Dynasty. But its origins go as far back as the Jin-Dynasty (1115–1234)
Inside the temple's front gate is the Devaraja (Heavenly Kings) Hall and, to each side, the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower. In the center of the compound is the Mahavira Hall, where offerings were made to the Buddhas of the Three Ages. The images here are the work of the noted craftsman Jiao Wanli of the Kangxi period. Further inside the courtyard is the Hall of Perfection, in which 11 bronze images of the Goddess of Mercy are displayed.
I visited the temple during an important Buddhist holiday in November 2009. The temple was full of worshippers and monchs. This was a very impressive event.
The Chinese name is Lidai Diwang Miao
This temple was build in 1523 of the Ming Dynasty. It was renovated in recent years and again houses the tablets of all past emperors, excluding tyrants and usurpers. There are also tablets of famous ministers and generals.
It was a place to remember the deads of the ancestors and it brings to mind the long succession of emperors.
You can see from some burning insence sticks and fruits, that there are still people coming to worship.
Xichengqu, Fuchengmen Neidajie 131 (西城区, 阜城门内大街 131)
I like to come back to Fayuan Si again and again. I like the quiet and solemn atmosphere, the sound of chanting and drums. Fayuan Si is a lively temple, where some Buddhist monchs live and Buddhist ceremonies are held.
The Fayuansi, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Beijing, is situated in the Xuanwumen area in the southwest quarter of the city. According to the Shuntian Prefecture Annals, Li Shimin, the second emperor officers and soldiers who lost their lives in battles, built the temple in 645. At the time it was called the Minzhongsi (the Temple in Memory of the Loyal). It was rebuilt in the Zhengtong period (1436-1449) of the Ming Dynasty and renamed the Temple of Exalted Happiness (Chongfusi). Its present name dates from 1734.
Occupying an area of 6,700 square meters, the temple contains a number of fine early cultural relics. The bronze sculptures pf the Four Heavenly Kings (Davarajas) and lions date from the Ming Dynasty, as do the rare gilded figures of the three Buddhas-Vairochana (Piluzhena), Manjusri (Wenshu), and Samantabadra (Puxian). The huge stone urn in the form of a Buddhist alms bowl, which stands on a double base before the Hall of Pure Karma (Jingyetang) rivals the jade urn in the Circular Wall (Tuancheng) in Beihai Park in terms of size and decoration. The sides of the Platform in Memory of the Loyal (Minzhongtai) are inscribed with a cursive rendering of The Ode to the Pagoda by Zhang Shijin in the calligraphy of Su Lingzhi, who lived in the Tang Dynasty. There are also many fine examples of stelae, stone carvings, stone pillars inscribed with Buddhist sutras, plaques inscribed in the calligraphy of emperors and printed Buddhist scriptures, all dating from the Ming and Qing dynasties.
In the past, the temple was famed for its lilac gardens and was also known as the Sea of Fragrant Snow. Each year when the trees came into bloom, the monks would hold vegetarian banquets, which were attended by all the celebrities of the day. Pines from the Tang Dynasty are found in the front courtyard, and cypresses from the Song stand before the drum and bell towers. A gingko reputed to be several hundred years old is growing next to the Sutra Tower (Cangjingge).
After visiting the National Stadium and walking by the National Aquatics Center, we had some time to kill before we had to take the night train to Shanghai so we strolled along the Chaoyang district. We walked towards the west and after crossing the North 4th Ring Road Middle, we noticed some interesting architecture on what we first thought was houses in an advanced state of decay (picture #2). On closer inspection we realized that the houses weren't decaying, and that the tiles on the roof was another way to make something simple interesting. The houses looked like part of a temple/complex of some sort and unfortunately we weren't allowed to go in that day because there seemed to be a private event. The houses can be found crossing the main street by the Beichen West Bridge (the one closest to a KFC shop and Pangu Plaza).
Moving on following Beichen West Road, we walked the block until we found a totem pole (picture #3), and then some inscriptions on a wall and thus we found the China Nationalities Museum (picture #4). China is the biggest country population wise, and there's a lot of minorities (in relation to the Han Chinese, which is the largest ethnic group), some of them being Uighur, Manchu and Tibetan. We didn't get inside the museum so I can't comment about the exhibitions. The museum is located on Minzuyuan Road.
On the same block, still on Minzuyuan Road, I found these buildings, with the kind of architecture that I have always associated with China. One of them seems to be a restaurant or a shop of some kind, but that we saw several tourist buses indicated that something was going on there. I was captured by the covered bridge (picture #5) and we wondered if there was a way that we could cross the street by using the bridge, so that we could also see it from the inside but we didn't find any way to get in. It is on this site, but across the street, where we found a cake shop and bought a snack before heading back to the hostel, picking up our bags and heading out to Shanghai.
Directions: all these places are accessible by metro stations Olympic Sports Center and Olympic Park (line 8).
This place is interesting if you're into agriculture - and at some point we all want to know how our 'made in China' food is produced. What you see first from the road is that white large building with 'traditional roof' made of recent material and vast paved square in front of it - when we came there were no people on the square and inside there were only a few visitors. It is said there are 10 halls but at time of our visit we could saw only main hall with large photos of modern and recent agriculture - of the changing techniques, lab (hmmm... genetics) works, chain food production, farming with modern machines, growing animals and crops in large fields and production halls.
There's real socialist style sculpture of a group farmers with horse in front of the museum at the square.
No admission fee.
Address: 16, Dongsanhuan north Rd., Chaoyang District, Beijing
Since the One Child Policy the central government implemented in the 1980s, the "little emperor" phenomenon-- wherein parents pamper and dote on their only child-- has become very common in cities.
I saw this toddler happily munching on something on the back of the bike as his grandfather peddled away and thought that it was a rather neat embodiment of this phenomenon, even though the the toddler may not in actuality be sitting as comfortably as an emperor over there!
As a general tip, the best sightseeing in Chinese cities can be done just on the streets-- this is where the Real Life happens, after all. So keep an eye out for these scenes as you hit the road!
Fa Yuan Si is the oldest temple in Beijing and dates from 645 A.D. Although there is nothing in particular noteworthy about the temple architeculture, it is pleasant to walk through. This is mainly because there are few tourists here and for the fact that unlike other old temples in Beijing, there is sort of an authentic feel to the place. There has been little in the way of restoration. The temple is also surrounded by hutongs, some of the few that I visited in Beijing. The helps with the atmosphere.
The Fa Yuan Si is located at Fayuan Si Qian Jie 7 in the Xuanwu Q district which is the south side of Beijing. It is a short walk from the Ox Street Mosque. Entry is 5 yen.
The New Summer Palace is always crowded, but everyone stays close to the Eastern entrance and the main pavilions. Strike out as far to the West as you can ad get lost in the gardens at the far side of the lake. Better still rent a small self-drive boat with an awning for protection from the sun for at least two hours and again go as far as you can to the West. Take a picnic with you. I am not sure about the legality of taking in food and wine but I pack it up in a chiller bag and no one has ever said anything.
By the way, do not even think of eating in any of the restaurants - they are bureaucratic run, the food is poor (rare in Beijing), expensive and check your bill carefully. Better self-cater.
THE Silver fox caves is 37 miles away of Beijing. Has rare stalactites one looks like a silver fox. Many stalactites uncommon shapes and sizes. Grand stone pillars, shining stone waterfalls stone pearls, glittereing calcites. Also an uderground river with short boat ride and also a train ride.
We waited for one of there guides who escorted us in turning on lights in the area we walked.
It is cold around 40 F like going into a walk in Freezer. Bring heavy jacket,camera. There are signs in english naming the stalactites. The steps are wet and steep and dark with limited lighting.
This Karst cave is amazing. Included with our fee was a short one way boat ride then to a minature tram train ride taking us almost back up and out of the cave.
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