Tag Archives: Beijing

China – Beijing University

Throughout its history, the university has distinguished itself in terms of intellectual freedom and has produced and hosted many modern and prominent Chinese thinkers, including figures such as: Lu Xun, Mao Zedong, Gu Hongming, Hu Shih, Li Dazhao, and Chen Duxiu. Peking University was influential in the birth of China’s New Culture Movement, May Fourth Movement, the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989 and many other significant events.

China – Beijing – Qianmen Street

Located at the central axis of Beijing City, Qianmen Street is a famous pedestrian street. It runs from Jianlou (the Archery Tower) of Zhengyangmen in the north to the turning of Tiantan Park in the south. Qianmen Street is 840 meters (about 919 yards) in length and 21 meters (about 23 yards) in width. It is composed with buildings whose styles resemble the late Qing Dynasty (1644 — 1911).

Qianmen Street has history of more than 570 years. It was called Zhengyangmen Street during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and finally named Qianmen Street in 1965. During the Qing Dynasty, there were many specialized outlets on either side of Qianmen Street, such as a meat market, cloth market and jewelry market. And there were also many craftsman workshops, warehouses and theatres in the Hutongs nearby.

After more than one year’s renovation, Qianmen Street reopened on August 7th before the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It is a symbol of genuine Beijing local culture. Qianmen Street has many of China’s time-honored names. Visitors can enjoy a traditional Chinese way of life. Moreover, Qianmen Street has many international brands, such as H&M, Haagen-Dazs, Sephora, ZARA, Qggle, COSTS CAFÉ, and SK Jewelry. The most famous of China own names are as follows: Quanjude, Yitiaolong, and Douyichu, and Changchuntang.

China – Beijing – Lugou Qiao Bridge – 1925

The bridge was built in 1189 by the Jin Dynasty Shizong Emperor. Damaged by floods it was restored in 1444 and 1698. It has eleven arches and spans over a dried up Yongding River in south-west Beijing.
The interesting feature of the bridge is the 485 lions in all in different positions sitting on 140 balusters. The locals claimed the lions are too many to be counted. At both sides of the bridge are two stellae, one describing the renovation by the Kangxi Emperor in 1698, and the other with the characters “Moon over Lugou Bridge at Dawn” in the Qianlong Emperor’s handwriting.
It was called Marco Polo Bridge in the West because Marco Polo (1254-1324) described it in his travel book, “The Travels of Marco Polo”. This book was apparently dictated by Marco Polo and penned by a fellow prisoner in Genoa called Rusticello of Pisa, purportedly the author of a romantic tale of King Arthur. The book fascinated Europe at that time with tales of the grandeur of Chinese culture and technology, but it was then so unbelievable that the book was called Il Milione, The Million Lies and Marco Polo received the nickname Marco Millione, i.e. Marco Polo of a million lies.

China – Beijing – Forbidden City

The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum.
For almost five hundred years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political centre of Chinese government. Built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings with 8,707 bays of rooms and covers 720,000 m2 (7,800,000 sq ft).
The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. S
ince 1925, the Forbidden City has been under the charge of the Palace Museum, whose extensive collection of artwork and artifacts were built upon the imperial collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Part of the museum’s former collection is now located in the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Both museums descend from the same institution, but were split after the Chinese Civil War.

 

China – Beijing – Summer Palace

The Summer Palace started out life as the Garden of Clear Ripples in 1750 (Reign Year 15 of Emperor Qianlong). Artisans reproduced the garden architecture styles of various palaces in China. Kunming Lake was created by extending an existing body of water to imitate the West Lake in Hangzhou. The palace complex suffered two major attacks—during the Anglo-French allied invasion of 1860 (with the Old Summer Palace also ransacked at the same time), and during the Boxer Rebellion, in an attack by the eight allied powers in 1900. The garden survived and was rebuilt in 1886 and 1902. In 1888, it was given the current name, Yihe Yuan. It served as a summer resort for Empress Dowager Cixi, who diverted 30 million taels of silver, said to be originally designated for the Chinese navy (Beiyang Fleet), into the reconstruction and enlargement of the Summer Palace.

In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List. It declared the Summer Palace “a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of 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.” It is a popular tourist destination but also serves as a recreational park.

The Pavilion pf precious Clouds it is also know as the Bronze Pavilion or Baoyun Pavilion.

It is a structure with a double-eaved roof. With a height of 7.55m, it weighs 207 tonnes. The pillars, rafters, brackets, tiles, beasts on the ridges, windows and doors and even the lintel of the bronze pavilion are all made from wood. Greenish-grey in color, it is delicately and intricately made. It is documented that the copper cuttings accumulated in the process of polishing the surface amounted to 2,500kg. The pavilion sits on a white Buddhist-style marble base with carvings. Bells with the same material and color hang by brackets from the four corners. The bells ring in the wind. The sunlit painted pavilion looks dainty and delicate, giving a sense of perpetuity.

When the construction of the bronze pavilion was finished, Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) wrote poetry on the stele standing before it. In the reign of Emperor Qianlong, Lamas from Tibet came here to pray for the emperors and empresses of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) on the first and fifteenth day of each lunar month. The 10-meter-high brackets on the stone cliff behind the pavilion were all used to hang Buddha figures during the ceremony.

Constructed in the twentieth year of the reign of Qing Qianlong, Baoyun Bronze Pavilion survived many calamities and historical shifts. In 1860, the Allied Forces of Britain and France burned the Garden of Clear Ripples (former name of the Summer Palace) but the Baoyun Bronze Pavilion remained intact due to its bronze material. Nevertheless, the furnishings inside the pavilion were all destroyed, leaving a bronze table alone. In 1900, the Eight Allied Armies ransacked the Summer Palace, yet could do nothing to the bronze pavilion.