Tuesday, November 29, 2016

my imperial Beijing, part one

My very last day in Beijing, despite the pretty unhealthy pollution levels, I went for a visit of one of the more emblematic sights of the capital – the Forbidden City. I had been there countless times before, but a colleague mentioned that they had just very recently opened to the public a section of the western side, so I had good reason to go have a look!

And so, as on so many occasions before, I approached this behemoth of a construction, from Tiananmen Square, under Mao's picture, into the massive courtyards...







As I was headed for the eastern side instead of the super famous temples down the middle, the moment I stepped away from the usual tourist route I found myself almost alone, enjoying the sights.






There was a grove of trees that had turned gold, some of them supported in traditional Asian style with poles...




Of course, the key role the Mongolians played in the capital's history was reflected in a number of temple plaques, like this bilingual Mongolian-Chinese one. 




And unlike all my other previous visits, now you could enter some exhibition halls! Like this one dedicated to Buddhas of all sorts, kinds and sizes, plus a strange two-legged winged monster:





Also wandering around this newly opened part I came across a small temple, beautifully arranged, peaceful, quiet...




The rest of my explorations around this western part went amazing. There were alleys, small parks with ponds, long never-ending stern walls...








At some point, you reach the end and you re-enter the main part of the compound, with the usual – but never underwhelming – views of the the rest of the impressive Forbidden City...








Like every single time I had visited, by the end I was a bit tired and was only looking for the exit. But still, this was one visit I enjoyed greatly. I saw new things, and it brought back memories as well. And it left me feeling energized and wanting more, so the Forbidden City is not all I saw that last day...

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