Monday, February 05, 2007

Back from Beijing (Part 2) - Entering the Forbidden City

[From: Back from Beijing (Part 1)]
Beijing - TollgateThe toll gates from the airport to the city gave a hint of the architectural designs one might get to see in Beijing, particularly the Forbidden City -- the imperial palace.

According to the Frommer's travel guide that I borrowed (2006; 4th edition; Call No. 915.155604 FB; under the Travel section in NLB libraries), "sourcing of materials for the original palace buildings started in 1406 and construction was completed in 1420".

What stood out for me was how the palace was constructed according to geomancy principles -- from the geographic location of the palace grounds, to the schematics of the buildings. Our tour guide did a wonderful job in explaining all that, at least enough for me to make some sense from what little I knew about geomancy. Unfortunately, I didn't take notes and can't adequately explain them here.

Anyway, you might make something out of these maps here, here and here (the last one is a satellite picture).

We started off at Tiananmen (天安門) or the "Gate of Heavenly Peace".
天 "Tian" = "Heavens/ Sky"
安 "An" = "Peace"
門 "Men" = "Gate/ door"

Tiananmen - Forbidden City

You step through the entrance (right under the portrait of Mao Zedong) and walk through...
Through Tiananmen - Forbidden City

... into this courtyard that's before the Duanmen (the "Upright Gate", which is in the distance).
Approaching Duanmen - Forbidden City

Then after the Duanmen, you reach the Wumen ("Meridian Gate").
Duanmen - Forbidden City

At this point, I lost track of what gate or location I'm at. I'm just following the guide absently, taking in the sights, wondering how it was like 500 years ago. The wind was biting. My hands turn numb as I kept taking and putting the gloves on and off to operate the camera. Basically, there's more walking and you have more gates to pass...
Before the Sea of Flagstones - Forbidden CitySea of Flagstones - Forbidden City

... before you reach where the emperor holds court.
Chamber - Hall of Celestial Purity

Whew... talk about 'Red Tape'. LOL.

Next: More pictures from the Forbidden City.


  1. Nice pic. I always wanted to go Beijing esp. Forbidden City. Do you enjoy for the whole entire BJ trip?

  2. Hi Pauline, yes I certainly enjoyed myself throughout the Beijing trip. I'm sort of rediscovering parts of it as I look through the photos now.

  3. Anonymous2:32 pm

    Hi, came across your block and get pretty excited when I saw your photos. I love Beijing personally and have gone there twice on my own. If you are revisiting it, do go to '798' the place where art, artists and art lover gathers. Awesome place really.


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