Bejing 2016 part I - Forbidden City


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July 1st 2016
Published: October 12th 2016
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Buildings and large open areasBuildings and large open areasBuildings and large open areas

This is the classic view of the Forbidden City. The large open areas and buildings in the distance

With 14 million visitors each year the Forbidden City is not so forbidden anymore





Last year Ake's mother, Britt-Marie, turned 70. Ake's birthday gift to her was a week in Beijing. Emma could not come along on this journey so Britt-Marie and Ake went by themselves. Here is the first blog entry from this trip and it is about our visit to the Palace Museum or, as it is better known as, the Forbidden City.



We arrived in the morning to the front gate and already then the queues were long. But the staff at the ticket office were efficient so we only had to stay in line a short while before we could go in. We started the visit by climbing up the Tiananmen Gate, which you pass when you visit the Forbidden City but isn't a part of the museum. Before we went up there we had to leave our bags in a locker room. The reason is simple: Tianmen Gate faces Tiananmen Square. Tiananmen Square is a very exposed and a very symbolic public place. The Chinese authorities do not under any circumstances want to see any protests there. It is easier
Palace buildings are impressivePalace buildings are impressivePalace buildings are impressive

The palace buildings are impressive
to ban all bags than to seach each one for banners or other unwanted materal.



Less than half of the palace is open to the public. But still it is so large and there is so much to take in that we spent the better part of a day on our visit there. One advantage with the Forbidden City being very large is that in spite of the great many visitors each day it isn't as crowded as you might expect. Also, many tourists visit the Forbidden City as part of a group. When a group passes by it gets very crowded for a few minutes. But once they have passed you might find that you have the site pretty much by yourself.



We walked from entrance in the south to the exit in the north. There really isn't very much to say about the visit other than that we both enjoyed it there very much even though it was a hot day.



A few things about the palace:

• On every roof there are decorations in the shape of small figures. They were not just decorations. It was believed
ThroneThroneThrone

A royal throne in one of the buildings
that the figures would prevent the building from being struck by lightning.

• The buildings in the Forbidden City are all built using wood. More than once there has been devestating fires destroying buildings.

• All over the palace there are large containers. These containers used to hold water to be used to put out fires.

• The Forbidden City is a world heritage site.

• There is a clock museum in one of the buidings in the Palace. The clocks on display were once used in the palace and many of them are priceless works of art

• When they dug the moat around the palace the excavated soil was deposited just north of the palace. The soil was used to create a small hill there, a hill from which it is possible to get a very nice birds eye view of the palace.



After we had visited the Forbidden City we went to a restaurant and had dinner. We finished this, the first day in Beijing, by visiting Jingshan Park just north of the Forbidden City and the hill I mentioned before, the one made from soil dug up when
14 million visitors each year14 million visitors each year14 million visitors each year

With 14 million visitors each year you might think it gets crowded. Surprisingly enough is is not as bad as you might expect. Look at the picture. It could be a lot worse, right?
creating the palace moat. In the evening sun the Forbidden City is very impressive.



For those who are interested in statistics: The Forbidden City sees around 14 million visitors each year making it the most visited museum in the world. The area enclosed within the walls surrounding the palace is, at more than 700 meters wide and 1,000 meters long, larger than any other palace in the world.



This is all for now. Hope you enjoyed it


Additional photos below
Photos: 37, Displayed: 24


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Not crowded at allNot crowded at all
Not crowded at all

To avoid people all together all you have to do is step to the side a bit
Some parts of the palace sees fewer visitorsSome parts of the palace sees fewer visitors
Some parts of the palace sees fewer visitors

Less than half the palace is open for visitors. Still, it is so large that most visitors skip some of it. In the lesser visited parts you are almost by yourself
Britt-Marie in the Forbidden CityBritt-Marie in the Forbidden City
Britt-Marie in the Forbidden City

Britt-Marie, Ake's mother, in the Forbidden City
Ake in the Forbidden CityAke in the Forbidden City
Ake in the Forbidden City

I try to avoid being photographed. But this is one of those places where you must have a photo of yourself, isn't it?
Water - in case of fireWater - in case of fire
Water - in case of fire

All over the palace there are large jars. These jars used to hold water to be used to put out fires.
CanalCanal
Canal

Near the entrance there is a small artificial canal going through the Forbidden City
Typical buildingTypical building
Typical building

Pretty much all buildings in the Forbidden City look like this
Tiananmen Gate Tiananmen Gate
Tiananmen Gate

Tiananmen Gate as seen from behind. In a later blog entry I will post a photo of it from the front, which is the famous view of that gate...
Small gate in the palaceSmall gate in the palace
Small gate in the palace

Decorated gate in the palace
Decorated wallDecorated wall
Decorated wall

Wall decorated with glazed tiles
Clock museumClock museum
Clock museum

There is a clock museum in one of the buidings in the Palace.
Clock museumClock museum
Clock museum

The clocks on display were once used in the palace and many of them are priceless works of art
Nine-dragon wallNine-dragon wall
Nine-dragon wall

There are three or four so called nine-dragon walls in China. This is a small section of the one in Forbidden City. Could you guess that this is approximately 2/9th of the wall?
Lion statueLion statue
Lion statue

These lion statues were probably a powerful symbol because they can be seen in many old buildings and other structures in Beijing.
Mythical creature statueMythical creature statue
Mythical creature statue

This gate is guarded by these statues
Statue of a tortoiseStatue of a tortoise
Statue of a tortoise

The powerful symbols of yesterday aren't always what we see as powerful symbols today. Tortoises aren't the pet of choise if you wish people to fear you...
Water containerWater container
Water container

Another style of water container. Every building in the entire palace is built from wood so a fire could really be devastating


12th October 2016

The Forbidden City
Happy 70th birthday to your mother Ake. What a great birthday present from her son...a week in Beijing. Fabulously sharp images of the Forbidden City. Having been to Beijing a few times I'm looking forward to where you take your mother next. Enjoy.
13th October 2016

I'll send my mother the greetings
Thanks for the comment. We will probably go somewhere together again. We have a few ideas on where to go but nothing is decided yet. /Ake
13th October 2016
Ake in the Forbidden City

It was nice of you to take your Mum on a trip!
13th October 2016
Lightning rod...

ahhhhhhh I've never seen that before, & I've seen lots of Chinese temples, but it makes sense ;o)
13th October 2016

Nice shots! I had planned to visit there from Malaysia but never got there waaaaaaa
14th October 2016

I love China
I have been to China several times over the years and I love it there. Unfortunately I don't think I will go there again any time soon. In the last couple of years they have increased the price for the visa a lot and now it has become so expensive that it is not worth it. That's a pity but there are close to twohundred other countries in the world I can visit so I don't cry myself to sleep at nights over it. /Ake

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