Saturday, November 14, 2015

Beijing - Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City

Monday August 17, 2015 was our last full day in China and we spent it seeing a couple of the beautiful and important places of Beijing. We got up early Monday morning and caught the subway to Tiananmen Square. 
Below is the Zhengyang Men, one of the gates to the square.

 Across the street is the ancient Arrow Tower that was built in the 1st Ming Dynasty

Below you can see Mao's Mausoleum

 Tiananmen Square was built for Protests by the people. It was the site of the Student's May 4th protest in 1919, and where Mao proclaimed China "A People's Republic" on behalf of the people in 1949. It is also where the Pro-Democracy protests of 1989 came to a tragic conclusion. The square is huge and can hold massive amounts of people. Although there were Pro-Democracy protests through out China, it is estimated that as many as one million people took part in the Beijing protests and between 500 - 1,000 were killed. We will never really know.

Above is the China National Museum and below is the Great Hall of The People, the seat of the legislature, and the Monument to the People's Heroes. (Mao Zedong and others) For me, the hero of Tiananman Square will always be "Tank Man". I remember watching the events on the square unfold on TV in 1989, the day after the massacre in the square, and watching a lone demonstrator stop a column of tanks. We should all have such courage.

They were constructing a replica of the Great Wall for an event coming up on the square.

The whole square was impressive, but it wasn't beautiful. I guess I was spoiled by our lovely square in Ordos. 
We left the Square and walked across the street to the beautiful and peaceful Forbidden City. We were in line waiting for it to open so when we first entered it was very peaceful and lovely. 

I wish we could have read the plaques on the trees and around. They did have a few things in English, but it soon got so very crowded that it was hard to see them.

The thing that struck me most about the Forbidden City was the immensity of it and the acres of ground and number of structures that made up the complex. How very lonely it must have been to hear the world outside the walls and never know what was there.

Darryl and I had thought we would go into the museum, but we walked the grounds first and when we got to the museum there were nearly 1,000 people waiting in line. The grounds had only been open for an hour - maybe. 

They say that over 10,000 people a day tour the museum during the high season, with as many as 60,000 touring the grounds each day.  We decided that today wasn't our day to tour the museum.

After 1 1/2 hours it was getting very crowded so we decided it was time to find our way out of the 183 acre complex and go to our next destination.  

 By the way, it took us about 20 minutes before we found a way to get out of the complex. It really is quite large and they have many limited access areas and walkways to try and protect it from the swarms of tourists who are there in the summer.

It is such a beautiful and lovely place, I only hope that the Chinese people will treasure it and not treat it badly and trash it like they seem to do to some of their cities.

Coming next- Photos of our visit to the Temple of Heaven.

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