National Centre for Performing Arts, Beijing

On August 24, 2011, in Beijing, Cultural Experience, Must-sees, Tours, by Jack Li

Travel to Beijing and there are many buildings that will catch your eye. A China Tour will allow you to experience the rejuvenation of a nation that is steeped in great history. During the period of the Opium War in 1840 to the final establishment of People’s Republic of China in 1949, Chinese architecture has […]

Travel to Beijing and there are many buildings that will catch your eye. A China Tour will allow you to experience the rejuvenation of a nation that is steeped in great history. During the period of the Opium War in 1840 to the final establishment of People’s Republic of China in 1949, Chinese architecture has witnessed a blend in Chinese style and western style. Although the traditional Chinese architectural system still retained the prevailing style, buildings serving for the entertainment industry, such as theaters, restaurants, and hotels, as well as the business buildings, such as department stores, food market and so on, all made breakthroughs out of the traditional architecture style and succeeded in building up business sites in a combination of Chinese and Western elements.

The National Centre for Performing Arts in the Centre of Beijing is one of those iconic buildings that have broken through the mold and produced a structure that is new, exciting and increasingly resembling of western architecture. The main construction of the building is formed via a very unique shell shape that is 47 meters high. The shape of the building is the only one of its kind in Asia. The exterior of the theater is clad in titanium-accented glass that is completely surrounded by a man-made lake. This makes it looks like an egg floating on water from the air. It was designed as an iconic feature and something that would be instantly recognizable all over the world just like the Sydney Opera House.

Located in the middle of Beijing adjacent to Tian’anmen Square, Great Hall of People and The Forbidden City, it is in the hub of a touristic location. However, this caused much controversy amongst locals and the government as this futuristic and modern is juxtaposition very traditional and ancient Chinese monuments that behold the beauty of China’s Heritage. However, the architect Paul Andreu tried to design with large open spaces, water, trees, and it was specially aimed to complement the red walls of ancient buildings and the Great Hall of People in order to melt into the surroundings as opposed to boldly standing abrupt against them.

Further controversy was caused when the building cost rose from what was expected to be 2.7 billion RMB to a finished grand total of 3.2 billion RMB. The major cause of the cost increase was a delay for reevaluation and subsequent minor changes as a precaution after a Paris airport terminal building collapsed. The cost has been a major source of controversy because many believed that it is nearly impossible to recover the investment. The government for the first three years subsidized 80% of the operating, maintenance, and general usage costs, and now that amount has fallen to around 60%. Much of the revenue is being reinvested into theses operational costs and therefore it has become a non-profitable cause.

Used for many performing arts exhibitions and theatre shows the centre is becoming an increasingly popular venue in Beijing. The magnificence of the building outweighs the controversy it has created, and it is a must see attraction. So book your Beijing Tours and witness a piece of China’s growing architectural promise.

 

Sichuan Cuisine

On August 23, 2011, in China Travel Gossip, Restaurants & Food, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

I am sure some of you have ordered a ‘Szechwan Chicken’ before in a Chinese restaurant back home, but there is much more behind this glorious cuisine. Firstly, it is more known in China as ‘Sichuan’ as opposed to the Western term, ‘Szechwan’ or ‘Szechuan.’ Chinese food in general is delicious, however, Sichuan has a […]

I am sure some of you have ordered a ‘Szechwan Chicken’ before in a Chinese restaurant back home, but there is much more behind this glorious cuisine. Firstly, it is more known in China as ‘Sichuan’ as opposed to the Western term, ‘Szechwan’ or ‘Szechuan.’ Chinese food in general is delicious, however, Sichuan has a unique taste to it. It is known for its bold flavors, spiciness, due to its vast use of garlic and chili peppers. Peanuts, sesame paste and ginger are also essential ingredients to Sichuan cooking. When you are on your China Tours you should ask your China Hotels for directions to your nearest Sichuan restaurant.

Sichuan Province is commonly known as the ‘heavenly country’ due to its huge amount of food and natural resources, thus the region is famous for its food. It is the first thing that comes to my head when I think of Sichuan Province. There are seven basic flavors: sour, pungent, hot, sweet, bitter, aromatic and salty. Furthermore, there are 5 types of Sichuan foods: sumptuous banquet, ordinary banquet, popularized food and snacks.

I am sure some of you are familiar with Kung Pao Chicken. The Chinese word for it is ‘gongbao jiding’ just in case you wish to order it in a restaurant where the menu is not in English. The dish was in fact named after Ding Baozhan, a late Qing Dynasty official. His titlse was ‘Gong Bao’ and thus the name ‘Kung Pao’ derived from it. Kung Pao chicken consisnts mainly of diced chicken. The wok is seasoned and then chili peppers and Sichuan peppercorns are fried to add fragrance to the oil. The dish itself is also mixed with peanuts before being topped off with Shaoxing wine to enhance the flavor of the marinade.

Mapo doufu is another special Sichuan dish. It is a combination of tofu set in a spicy, bean-based sauce. Doufu is often cooked with minced meat, usually pork or beef. Sometimes you can vary the ingredients and add water chestnuts, onions and other vegetables to the dish.

My favorite Chinese dishes are pork-based, therefore the Sichuan dish I would strongly recommend is a dish called “Twice Cooked Pork” or “Hui Guo Rou.” Its name is as it is because the dish is essentially cooked twice before serving. First, by boiling the belly pork steak chunks with slices of ginger and salt. The next step is to cut the pork into small slices and place them back in the wok to be fried. Cabbage and peppers or leaks usually accompany the dish.

Finally, Chinese cuisine would not be complete without noodles, thus I suggest you try the Sichuan style noodles, referred to as, ‘Dan Dan Noodles,’ which literally translates to ‘Peddler’s noodles.’ The dish consists of a spice sauce containing vegetables, chili oil, Sichuan pepper, and minced pork, scallions served over noodles. It is named after a type of carrying pole (dan dan), which was used by walking vendors who sold the dish on the street.

As I stated earlier, I love Chinese food, and one thing I love more than Chinese food is spicy food. So Sichuan has it all. If you have a taste for hot dishes, I thoroughly recommend you make Sichuan one of your first dining experiences in China. Book your Air China flights now to experience this unique culinary culture.

 

The Chinese New Year

On August 23, 2011, in Accomodation, Cultural Experience, Transportation, by Jack Li

The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival as it’s been called since the 20th century, remains the most important social and economic holiday in China. Originally tied to the lunar-solar Chinese calendar, the holiday was a time to honor household and heavenly deities as well as ancestors. It was also a time to bring family […]

The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival as it’s been called since the 20th century, remains the most important social and economic holiday in China. Originally tied to the lunar-solar Chinese calendar, the holiday was a time to honor household and heavenly deities as well as ancestors. It was also a time to bring family together for feasting. With the popular adoption in China of the Western calendar in 1912, the Chinese joined in celebrating January 1 as New Year’s Day. China, however, continues to celebrate the traditional Chinese New Year, although in a shorter version with a new name–the Spring Festival. Significantly, younger generations of Chinese now observe the holiday in a very different manner from their ancestors. For some young people, the holiday has evolved from an opportunity to renew family ties to a chance for relaxation from work. It is highly recommendable to make your China Travel during this amazing festival, if you are going to Travel to Beijing, make sure to know and learn about this festival because it is surrounded and performed through Chinese ancient culture.

The Traditional Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year period began in the middle of the 12th month and ended around the middle of the first month with the waxing of the full moon. Observance of the New Year period was traditionally divided into New Year’s Eve and the first days of the new year.

Traditionally for the Chinese, New Year was the most important festival on the calendar. During this time, business life came nearly to a stop. Home and family were the principal focuses. Elders gave out money to children. In fact, many of the rites carried out during this period were meant to bring good luck to the
household and long life to the family–particularly to the parents.

On New Year’s Eve, the extended family would join around the table for a meal that included as the last course a fish that was symbolic of abundance and therefore not meant to be eaten. In the first five days of the New Year, people ate long noodles to symbolize long life. On the 15th and final day of the New Year, round dumplings shaped like the full moon were shared as a sign of the family unit and of perfection.

Evolution of Spring Festival

In the early 21st century, many Chinese families spent a significant amount of their discretionary income celebrating the Spring Festival with traditional symbols
and food. They also spent time watching the televised Spring Festival Gala: an annual variety show featuring traditional and contemporary singers, dancers and
magic demonstrations. Although the rites of the holiday no longer had religious value, people remained sensitive to the zodiacal animals to the extent that they considered what, for example, a year of the rat might mean for their personal fortunes or for a child born at that time.

A change in attitude toward the Spring Festival has occurred in China’s young people, with Chinese college students reporting that they prefer surfing the Internet,
sleeping, watching TV or spending time with friends to celebrating with family. They also reported not liking traditional New Year food such as dumplings and
glutinous rice pastry. With its change of name from Chinese New Year to Spring Festival, for some members of the younger generation the holiday has evolved from an opportunity to renew family ties to a chance for relaxation from work. Book your China Hotel as soon as possible a do not miss this incredible experience!

 

Yes, China is Beautiful!

On August 22, 2011, in Accomodation, Cruises, Tours, by Jack Li

China has one of the richest natural lands on the world, China is the fourth largest country on earth, and its vast territory can be divided in three big stepsthat go down from high mountains including the peak of Mount Everest, plateaus, and huge vital basins like Yangtze or Ganges rivers in the west, to […]

China has one of the richest natural lands on the world, China is the fourth largest country on earth, and its vast territory can be divided in three big stepsthat go down from high mountains including the peak of Mount Everest, plateaus, and huge vital basins like Yangtze or Ganges rivers in the west, to a central region of medium mountains and hills, followed by to flat lands and foothills close to the eastern coast like the landscape of Hebei or Zhejiang provinces. Steppes and desserts are in the northwest including the Gobi desert and the Turpan depression. The north central of China have tundra-type vegetation and in the south there are several tropical rainforests. You definitely have to book your China Flights and China Hotels to enrich your eyes with these beautiful sites..
Practically, each piece of farmland has been developed in China and many others have been created by man, especially in the eastern seaboard of the country, to
be able to feed a fifth of the world’s population.

The economical improve of China has impacted directly in the rest of Asian economies and even in the entire world. The production of the country is supported on its abundant coal, which is an inexpensive fuel for meeting constantly increasing power necessities, but Chinese coal also produces the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions on the world. Uncontrolled use of coal has originated in recent years some risky acid rains near to South Korea. Neighboring countries are suffering the great development of China. People are being exploited and many species are being exterminated to satisfy the Chinese market necessities.

Forests

The vast territory of China and its particular geography have created a diversity of forest types. In northern China there are large tracts of coniferous forest…

Grasslands and deserts

Half of the China’s territory is occupied by grasslands and deserts. There are productive grasslands at the north and west of China in Inner Mongolia…

Freshwater ecosystems

Freshwater ecosystems have a vital importance to China, and a great number of the people depend on wetlands for drinking water, flood control and industrial
production…

Saltwater lakes and coastal wetlands

Around half of lakes of the country are saline and represents significant breeding grounds for waterfowl. The majority salt lakes are situated in northwestern China…

Our world holds breathtaking beauty and grace, full of life and wonder as mother  nature your China Travel through nature will unfold  charm and elegance within the extremeties of the earth. Many are moved and touched by the magnificence of our world and the wonders it brings  to mankind. Here are some of the wonders given to you by China through nature’s  phenomenons of River and Mountain: Huang He, Chang Jiang, Huang Shan, Everest and the Himalayas.

Tagged with:  

The Great Wall of China

On August 22, 2011, in Accomodation, Beijing, Cultural Experience, Tours, Transportation, by Jack Li

Throughout my China Tours I have encountered many different challenges. Amongst all the cultural shocks, language barriers and heat waves, nothing could have prepared me for what was to come when coming face to face with the Great Wall of China. Travelling from my Beijing Hotel a minibus took a group of 10 of us […]

Throughout my China Tours I have encountered many different challenges. Amongst all the cultural shocks, language barriers and heat waves, nothing could have prepared me for what was to come when coming face to face with the Great Wall of China. Travelling from my Beijing Hotel a minibus took a group of 10 of us to this historic, world famous landmark amidst the wilderness of Huairou County, which is 70km northeast of Beijing.

 

There are many places on the great wall to visit however the best-preserved section of the wall is in Mutianyu. It possesses the most picturesque scenery and very unique and distinctive characteristics that are not a part of the wall in other areas. The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs.

Being a more touristic part of the great wall there is a nice ambiance around this part of the great wall. Surrounded by people from all around the world makes you realize how big this must see attraction is. There are a range of routes that you can take to explore many areas of the wall. Each route allows you to experience something new, different and exciting.

 

By taking the cable cart up to the wall you witness some of the never-ending scenery that surrounds the wall. As the ascend increases the mountains and hills begin to reveal the glory of the great wall. The moment is breathtaking. The granite wall stands amongst the greenery of the surrounding trees. The magic of the wall is enchanting and its beauty sends you into an awe of appreciation.

At this part of the wall there is a denser number of watch towers which almost act as checkpoints along the length of the wall. With a total number of 23 spanning a distance of 2,250m there is a lot of wall to see. From tower six to one is claimed to be the scenic and best for taking photos. Hence, it proves to be a popular choice for most tourists. The walk between these towers seems easy, but the way in which the wall has aged and deteriorated makes the journey no easy task. The irregular steps along the way make the journey a physical challenge for all. The height of the task increases further if you visit the day during the peak of the summer blaze. Nevertheless, the rewards of reaching the final tower (tower one) are priceless. The views from this area of the wall show its spectacular beauty amongst the encasing foliage.

This area of the wall is also popular for its toboggan journey down. This slide takes you down back down to the bottom of the hills via a winding metal track. This is a fun activity although your safety is in your hands!

 

Overall the great wall is a must see and if you are in china it is an opportunity that should be grasped with both hands. So if your looking for something to do, something that will last a lifetime in your memory, book your China Flights, and experience some of the delight china has to offer.

 

The Legend of Mulan

On August 22, 2011, in Cool Places, Cultural Experience, Featured China Stories, by Jack Li

What do you know about Mulan? There is much more to know about the story than the hit 1998 movie suggests. For those who don’t remember, 13 years ago, one of the best Disney productions, Mulan hit the box office with a cartoon classic. With stars, such as Eddie Murphy, this film was popular amongst […]

What do you know about Mulan? There is much more to know about the story than the hit 1998 movie suggests. For those who don’t remember, 13 years ago, one of the best Disney productions, Mulan hit the box office with a cartoon classic. With stars, such as Eddie Murphy, this film was popular amongst all ages. It was based on the legend of Hua Mulan, an iconic figure in Chinese ancient history. This is a story of bravery, courage and family values. China has such a fascinating history and this only one of the many tales, which are expressions of Chinese culture. So if you Travel to Beijing or Travel to Shanghai, or even Xi’an, after taking in the tourist attractions, take some time to learn more about these folklores.

The tale is described through the words of a unique Chinese poem, the ‘Ballad of Mulan.’ It is said that Mulan served in the army for 12 years during the Northern Wei Dynasty (386AD-534AD). The legend states that during her battles, she merited 12 ranks of rewards, further proving what a heroine she is

To some extent, the outline and plot of the Disney film is a fair reflection on the real story. This is shown through the words of the ballad. For example, one of the verses reads:

“The Khan is calling many troops,

The army list is in twelve scrolls,

On every scroll there is a Father’s name.

Father has no grown-up son,

Mu-lan has no elder brother.

I want to buy a saddle and a horse,

And serve in the army in Father’s Place.

The poem was developed into a novel during the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The ballad, itself, was one of the first poems in Chinese history to support the notion of gender equality. The essential plot is that of a young woman who disguises herself as a man to fight in place of her elderly father, who was too weak and frail to go into battle at the time. She selflessly offered to enter the depths of manhood, just for her father. She proved to be a great soldier, soaring to the rank of General in quick succession. The war was won, and even up till this point no one knew she was a woman. Eventually, a friend she made in the army, General Li, visited her home and came to know she was a woman. As a result, he asked for her hand in marriage. However, there are many versions to the end of the story. The general consesnsus is that after the war, the Emperor offered her a governmental job to which she refused, so she could stay and take care of her father. A lot of the tale is still up for debate, but the main plot and outline highlighted in this article is believed to be true. It is also said that Hua Mulan (pictured below and above) lived till she was 90 years old.

So there you have it! A story of one of the bravest warriors China ever saw. There are very few female legends in Ancient Chinese history, but the legend of Mulan is to some extend, symbolic of feminism in China. So when you are on your China tours, ask someone to give you an account of this epic tale.

 

Chinese Calligraphy

On August 19, 2011, in Adventure Trip, Beijing, Cultural Experience, by Jack Li

China Tours offers a wide variety of cultural experiences, so Travel to Beijing and get blown away.   China is renowned for many things; it is a magical country now coming to the forefront of global activity. Throughout china there are many areas that still represent and preach the traditional ways of life in this […]

China Tours offers a wide variety of cultural experiences, so Travel to Beijing and get blown away.

 

China is renowned for many things; it is a magical country now coming to the forefront of global activity. Throughout china there are many areas that still represent and preach the traditional ways of life in this historic country. Chinese calligraphy is richly indulged in ancient history making it one of the most prominent forms of art within china. Each historical period boasts a different style of calligraphy. In china calligraphy is used to showcase the abstract beauty of lines as well as show casing and expressing the deep and meaningful thoughts of scholars and literates.

 

According to historical records, it was during about the later half of the 2nd and 4th centuries that Chinese calligraphy came into being in the real sense. However, this does not mean ignoring, weakening or denying the artistic value of previously existing calligraphic forms. The differences in the number of strokes or the degrees of complexity in characters show the laws of symmetry and balance. The course of Chinese civilization is one influenced by a periodical and linear process, and it is against such a background that Chinese calligraphy has been staging its development. Wang Xizhi, the greatest calligrapher of all time, created his own brand of calligraphy. The phenomenon was such that it was the mainstream calligraphy right through to the Tang Dynasty. Throughout this period it was very difficult for other calligraphers to rise and showcase their styles and many of the unknown calligraphers were unrecognized until after the Tang Dynasty.

 

Calligraphy not only influenced art and abstract forms of writing the deeper meanings of the characters started to bare impact upon literature. The Tang Dynasty also witnessed improvement of calligraphic theories, with the publishing of some theoretical books, such as Shu Pu (Manual of Calligraphy) and Shu Yi (Etiquettes in Calligraphy), which cast significant influence on later books. Due to the anarchy caused by wars and the unstable political condition in following dynasties from the Five Dynasties to the Yuan Dynasty, the development of calligraphy also took on complications. Calligraphers of that period then chose to express their inner feelings and interests through calligraphy. Since then more theoretical books have come out, providing theoretical guidance for the later generations.

 

The popularity of calligraphy as an art form has been recognized all over the world and the talent has spread into other oriental countries such as Korea, Japan, and Singapore. Famous artists such as Picasso have recognized this type of art form in the west.

 

Throughout china you can find an array of scrolls beautifully encrypted with poetic and thoughtful rhymes which are both pleasing to eye and meaningful.

Air China provides competitive prices to go and explore a culturally rich country.

 

Survival Mandarin Lesson

On August 19, 2011, in Adventure Trip, Cultural Experience, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

So you have just arrived in China and perhaps you’ve forgotten your phrasebook. Fear not, here are a few tips on how to get by in China, in terms of the language barrier. Everyone in China is so friendly and welcoming to tourists, but learning a few useful phrases, especially when you ride a taxi, […]

So you have just arrived in China and perhaps you’ve forgotten your phrasebook. Fear not, here are a few tips on how to get by in China, in terms of the language barrier. Everyone in China is so friendly and welcoming to tourists, but learning a few useful phrases, especially when you ride a taxi, go to a restaurant or ask for directions can enhance this. Nonetheless, your holiday will be one to remember, whether you travel to Beijing, travel to Shanghai, X’ian or beyond, this country is simply spectacular.

 

Introductions:

As I’m sure many people know, ‘hello’ is ‘ni hao.’ It is worth remembering the phrase, ‘Wo shi,’ because it means ‘I am.’ So when you are introducing yourself to someone simply say ‘Wo shi…’ It is pronounced like ‘wo she.’ If you want to be even more polite to someone and ask them how they are simply say, ‘ni zen me yang?’ If someone asks you this, reply with ‘wo hen hao’, which means ‘I am fine.’ If you wish to politely let the person know that you don’t understand much Chinese, the most applicable phrase would be, ‘buming bai.’

Food:

There are a wide variety of cuisines in China. For example, dumplings and roast duck are very common in the Peking Region. So if you’re in Beijing for instance, it is well worth giving these local delights a try. The word for dumpling is ‘jiaozi’ and roast duck is ‘kaoya.’ Other useful dining phrases are ones that you would need to use at the end of the meal. Maybe the waiter wouldn’t know the word for ‘bill.’ If you wish to pay simply say, ‘wo yao maidan’ pronounced, wo yao mydan.’

Drink:

If you are at a bar and you would like to order a beer the best way of asking is ‘wo yao pijou.’ Pronounce it as you would in Enlgish and your bartender will undersand. The word for ‘bar’ in Mandarin is ‘jiu ba.’

Shopping:

The most common phrase you will need to learn when you are in China, as you would in many countries you visit is, ‘How much?’ the most useful way to ask this is, ‘duo shao qian,’ a little more difficult to pronounce but give it a try and hopefully the person selling you something will understand.

Taxi:

When you are taking a taxi in Beijing, the best thing to do is ask for your hotel concierge to write the address on a piece of paper and hand it to the taxi driver when you get in the car.

Another thing to learn is the word for goodbye which is ‘zaijian.’ A lot of these phrases will come in handy on your China Tours. Good Luck!

 

 

 

 

 

Chaoyang Park

On August 19, 2011, in Adventure Trip, Beijing, Festivals, Must-sees, Tours, by Jack Li

Many people may think when travelling to Beijing that they are entering a place full of skyscrapers and busy city atmosphere. However, if you are one for exploring the scenic and more tranquil attractions Chaoyang Park is the place for you to visit. Travel to Beijing and relax by taking a tour through the beautiful […]

Many people may think when travelling to Beijing that they are entering a place full of skyscrapers and busy city atmosphere. However, if you are one for exploring the scenic and more tranquil attractions Chaoyang Park is the place for you to visit. Travel to Beijing and relax by taking a tour through the beautiful park. Why wait, book your flights via Air China and take a break from your everyday life.

Chaoyang Park, also known as “Sun Park”, offers a great range of activities for families, small groups, and for individuals. This public park covering 288.7 hectares features flower gardens, fairground rides (including a roller coaster), landscaped areas and several large swimming pools. Located centrally there is a lake that intertwines with all areas of the park. An amazing feature of this particular park is that you can hire a variety of boats, depending on how many people you are with, and explore the park on a cruise around the calming lake.

On the lake you are left to your own devices to explore and navigate around the park. On the lake I came across beautiful lakeside palaces, a lakeside view of the rollercoasters, views of the surrounding city and other friendly boat users. The experience was magical. Strolling on the lakeside was a relaxing and new experience that provided me with a break from the crowds and rush in the city center. Whilst meandering down the river it became apparent that the Chaoyang Park possess much more than beautiful scenery. Floating upon the lake a sense of serenity and spiritual calmness possessed me. It was as though I was transported into a different world that was concaved by the concrete jungle of Beijing.

Following a boat cruise it there is still a vast amount of the park to see. The pathways intertwine with different features in the park. There are monuments and statues to admire for their beauty. Many people stop along the way and take photos amongst the picturesque trees and shrubbery. If you are not the walking type, there are pedal buggies that you can hire which make the journey around the park swift yet still allowing you to absorb the marvels Chaoyang Park has to offer.

As a large modern type multi-functional park of entertainment, Chaoyang Park feathers with the function of oversea sightseeing and culture industrial district, combining with the gardens, architecture style, entertainments, culture, science, sports and educations, which mostly learned from the foreign countries. Therefore, it offers a range of activities for all age groups to occupy themselves with. Open from 6am – 6pm Chaoyang Park will make time fly so make sure you allow enough time to explore it all. With an entrance fee of 5RMB (£0.50/$1) it makes it very affordable to visit.

Organize your holiday and take a break. China Tour offers competitive tour packages that will make sure you get the best out of your time in China.

 

Tagged with:  

Spiritual Day Out at the Temple of Heaven

On August 17, 2011, in Adventure Trip, Beijing, Cultural Experience, Featured China Stories, by Jack Li

Travel to Beijing this year to witness some of the world’s fascinating sites. One of the most notable ones is the Temple of Heaven (below) or, more specifically, the ‘Altar of Heaven’ is a compound of Taoist buildings in the southeastern part of Beijing. In ancient times, emperors of both the Ming and Qing dynasties […]

Travel to Beijing this year to witness some of the world’s fascinating sites. One of the most notable ones is the Temple of Heaven (below) or, more specifically, the ‘Altar of Heaven’ is a compound of Taoist buildings in the southeastern part of Beijing. In ancient times, emperors of both the Ming and Qing dynasties used it for religious ceremonies, mainly entailing prayer for good harvest. Most Beijing Hotels will be more than happy to assist you in organising such visits.

The temple grounds were built from 1406 and 1420 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor. It was named as the ‘Temple of Heaven’ in the 16th Century, under the rule of Emperor Jiajing who also built three other famous temples in Beijing: The Temple of Sun, Temple of Earth and Temple of Moon. The temple had undergone renovation in the 18th Century. In 1918, it was turned into a park and was finally open to the public. To this day, many locals visit the park to relax and wind-down, because the scenery is simply stunning. Tourists visit the Temple because it is an architectural masterpiece whose design is so special and unique. The whole site is a significant piece of Chinese history.

The temple grounds cover an area of 2.73 kilometers squared, mainly parkland with three distinct buildings: the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound Alter (right).

 

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (left) is a circular building- 36 meters in diameter and 38 meters tall. It was built on three levels of marble stone base. It is completely wooden with no nails. The original hall suffered a great fire in 1889, which resulted in destruction of the site. The fire was caused by lightning and was rebuilt only several years later.

The Imperial Vault of Heaven is also another circular building built on one level of marble stone base. Located south of the Hall of Prayer of Good Harvests. It looks very similar to it as well. A smooth wall called the “Echo Wall” surrounds the building. The Vault is connected to the Hall of Prayer via a 360-meter footbridge.

The Circular Mound Altar is the highlight of the area. At the Altars’ centre lies a round slate called “The Heart of Heaven” where the Emperor would pray for preferential weather. The design of the mound compliments the acoustic properties of the altar. It was believed that the sound of prayer would easily project to the Heavens due to the design and layout of the Altar.

The Temple of Heaven, like the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, is a symbol of Chinese culture and history. Chinese people take pride in the stories of their ancient age. So book your flights with China Flights for an experience of a lifetime.

 

Page 2 of 1112345678910...Last »