Thursday, February 17, 2011

Beijing Stop No. 5: The Forbidden City

We intended on visiting the Forbidden City on Monday, after Tian'anmen Square.  But it closed.  Lame.  Especially since we were flying out of Beijing the next day at 2 pm or something.  So we decided to haul ourselves back the next morning bright and early.  We were some of the first people in line and we were freezing.  It was SOOO cold that morning.  But the lovely thing was that the City was mostly empty and much more enjoyable that way.
The Forbidden City was the home to the Emperor and his court for a really long time, through both the Ming and Qing Dynasties.  Something like 24 Emperors lived there.  And the place is massive.  HUMONGOUS! Did they really need that much paved space?  I guess so.  There were several massive halls each with their own throne for the Emporer and each with their own large courtyard.

This is all one piece of stone, carved with all kinds of royal and mythological symbols.  

One of the many throne rooms

Ben imitating the dragon/dog guarding the entrance. It looks like it's stepping on it's pup, but they believed that it nursed from the paws.  So really Ben is imitating nursing...
It's hard to describe the grandeur and immensity of the place.  The very last place we came to was the garden, which was smallish compared to all the courts and halls.  But very pretty.  and by this time Ellie was out.  She had enough of being drug around in the cold and just cuddled up in our arms and zonked.
At the Lovers' Trees.  Two cypress trees growing intertwined

And that was Beijing for us!  A city with incredible history, unbelievable drivers, and inconceivably disgusting smog.

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