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The Fifth Day ...
- Forbidden City (紫禁城)
The highlight of our Beijing trip was definitely the
Built in 1406 to
1420, The Forbidden City is the world's largest
surviving palace complex and covers 720,000 m2 (7,800,000 sq ft).
It is a rectangle 961 meters (3,153 ft) from north to south and 753 meters
(2,470 ft) from east to west. It consists of 980 surviving buildings with
8,707 bays of rooms. After
being the home of 24 emperors — fourteen of the Ming Dynasty and ten of the
Qing Dynasty — the Forbidden City ceased being the political centre of China
in 1912 with the abdication of Puyi,
the last Emperor of China.
The Palace Museum was then established
in the Forbidden City in 1925. In
1933, the Japanese invasion of
China forced the evacuation of
the national treasures in the Forbidden City. Part
of the collection was returned at the end of World
but the other part was evacuated to Taiwan in
1947. This relatively small but high quality
collection was the core treasure of the National
Palace Museum in Taipei.
The crowds in the Tiananmen
Square and the Forbidden City were unbelievable. When we entered the
gate under Wumen (午門),
we were actually pushed forward by the people behind us, and I had to hold
Iris' hand tightly to make sure we always stuck together. The palace
architectures and surroundings were really impressive, but it was quite a
challenge to take pictures with people everywhere (and I still needed to stay
in our group following the lead of our guide). The walking tour last for
about three hours (from ~9:30AM to 12:30AM) as we had a slow pace and all the
treasures were worth a more detail visit.
- Royal Silk (帝珍絲綢)
We spent quite a lot of time here to shop for silk duvet and silk clothes (for
girls). Iris and Erin were playing and running all over the shop with
their new clothes on.
When we got back to the hotel in Beijing, we received
a birthday cake for Woanyu from the hotel. However, it was funny
that there was a typo on the cake ....
The Last Day ...
- Lugou Bridge (盧溝橋)
Construction of the
original bridge on this site commenced in 1189 and was completed in 1192 and
was later reconstructed in 1698. The Lugou Bridge is 266.5 m (874 ft) in
length and 9.3 m (30.5 ft) in width, supported on 10 piers and 11 segmental
of artistically unique stone lions from different eras line both sides of
determine the total number of animals have been carried out on several
occasions but the results have proved inconsistent, ranging anywhere from
482 to 496. However, record has it that there were originally a total of 627
lions. The posture of each lion varies, as do their ages. Most date from the Ming (1368-1644)
and Qing (1644-1911)
dynasties, some are from the earlier Yuan
Dynasty (1271-1368); while the
few lions dating from as long ago as the Jin
Dynasty (1115-1234) are now quite
The bridge also has its history significance in the 20th
century: the Lugouqiao
was a battle between
the Republic of China's National
Revolutionary Army and the Imperial
Japanese Army, often used as the marker for the start of the Second
Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945).
- Summer Palace (Yihe Yuan, 頤和園)
The Summer Palace
covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometers, three quarters of which
is water. The central Kunming
Lake (昆明湖) covering 2.2
square kilometers was entirely man made and the excavated soil was used to
build Longevity Hill (萬壽山).
The palace complex suffered two major attacks—during the Anglo-French
allied invasion of 1860 (with the Old
Summer Palace 圓明園
also ransacked at the same time), and during the Boxer
Rebellion, in an attack by the eight allied powers in 1900. In 1888, it was given the current
name, Yihe Yuan. It served
as a summer resort for Empress
Dowager Cixi (慈禧太后),
who diverted 30 million taels (三千萬兩)
of silver, said to be originally designated for the Chinese
navy, into the reconstruction and enlargement of the Summer Palace.
It started to rain when we got to the Palace. We
have reserved the whole boat for our group to tour around the lake. It
was not bad at all to have the boat tour in the misty rain.
Going Home ....
Before going home, it was time to do the final shopping.
Linus and I were not interested in shopping at all, so we found a bookstore and
then a McDonald's to spend our next hour.
It took about 3 hours to fly back to Taiwan (8PM -- 11PM), and it already passed
mid-night when we got back home in Taipei.
China has grown so much in the recent years after they started economic
liberalization in 1978, and has become a major power in the world economy and
many other areas. It was a very good experience to travel to China as we
share the same history background and language.
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