6/12/16

CHINA // BEIJING

Beijing has just about everything you ever think of when you think of China. This is where Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, the Hutongs all are, & outside of the city is the Great Wall of China. It is definitely a place you have to go to when you are in China. We we're there for three days & saw it all.

We arrived in Beijing in the afternoon & didn't get back out until the evening which we spent exploring the Hutongs. Hutong's are narrow streets/walkways formed between traditional-styled chinese buildings. Originally the Hutongs were homes & we're built surrounding the Forbidden City based social classes. Now days a lot of the whitings have been torn down, but the ones that still exist have a lot of shopping & places to eat. The hutongs in Beijing we're really fun to see. There we're so many different kinds of shops all over china & i loved seeing them throughout the hutongs & seeing what kinds of food they eat & different street performances.

The next day there we went to Tiananmen Square is ranked as one of the top ten largest city squares, so it's pretty big. The complete square was built in the early 1950's as a gateway to the Forbidden city, but the Tiananmen which is a gateway, was built back during the Ming Dynasty in 1415. From there we entered into the Forbidden city which is enormous. It felt like it never stopped going & what was interesting to me is that it is just the exact same buildings repeated one after another. There are 980 buildings that cover 180 acres within the Forbidden City that acted as the palace for almost 500 years. Going there was really cool because it's one of the big things you learn about in all of your history classes & for me, it's totally one of the images I had in my head of China. Being able to stand in these places that you have always heard about & grow up learning about is one of my favorite parts about traveling, it's such a surreal feeling. Going to the city was also one of the most insane tourist points of our trip & was definitely the most crowded spot we went to.

From there we went to the Summer Palace, which was just about a half hour drive away & was gorgeous. The palace is full of lakes, gardens & multiple palace buildings. Plus, it's a UNESCO World Heritage site, which I love visiting so much! UNESCO said that it is "a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of the hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples, and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value". Plus, it has the longest covered walkway which is 2388 ft. long, which is really impressive. The walkway has a beautiful view of the water on one side & gardens on the other & is covered in paintings along the beams & ceiling.

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