A few months ago, my family and I went to Beijing to spend our Holy Week. Being the capital of China, it’s one of the most populated cities on earth. Every tourist destination we went to was filled with swarms of both local and foreign tourists. Our first itinerary was the most obvious: The Forbidden City.
The Hall of Supreme Harmony, also known as the throne hall, symbolized the power of the emperor. According to our guide, this was the only roof in the entirety of China that has the complete set of figures. See, in China, these figures represented power. The number of animals symbolized the seniority of the person residing in the building, so the greater the number, the higher the rank. Of course, this hall had the most among all because who could be higher than the emperor himself?
This massive complex was composed of several palaces and structures. All buildings were perfect examples of Chinese Architecture. Reds, golds, blues, marbles, and intricate details were evident on every single structure. I took up Architecture for three years so just imagine my happiness with all these buildings! An absolute feast for the eyes.
There were also vast paved courtyards in the complex. Wide, empty, but beautiful. Only in ancient times can you build something so grandiose without receiving remarks on how you’re wasting so much space.
The Large Stone Carving, according to our guide this was the largest stone carving in Beijing. I can’t remember if he said “the world”. A single massive stone almost 17m long and 3m wide, filled with dragon and sky carvings (dragon was the symbol for celestial power and the emperor), it weighed more than 200 tons and was transferred here from the FangShan mountains using logs (during summer) and by pouring water on roads during winter, sliding it as the water froze. Talk about effort!
If you’re wondering about those tiny steps beside the carving, those were used by the emperor’s servants to carry him across while sitting on his sedan chair. He was the only one allowed to pass over it. It was like a personal (permanent) red carpet.
We also got to take a look at the emperor and empress’ bedrooms. The photo above was the emperor’s. Every corner of this room was filled with tourists so was very difficult to squeeze through. Luckily, I was able ninja my way to the front.
One of my favorite parts of Forbidden City was the Imperial Garden. It was a huge area filled with stones, plants and really old trees. Seeing the trees was a very humbling experience. Some of them were more than 500 years old. Can you imagine that? I’m just a speck of dust compared to that lifetime.
That’s it for this stop! On my next entry, I’ll be blogging about our visit to this country’s most renowned structure, a truly majestic wonder: The Great Wall of China! Until then.