Highly interesting News from Tiantan Park ( Tiantan GongYuan) in Beijing Central Cities’ South-Eastern Chongwen District. Yesterday, saturday the 28Th of May I made a new visit and tour of Tiantan Park, expanding on our current "Virtual Walk Through" , fleeing Beijing’s considerable City Heat and Discovering New Things ! The latest information being – The Temple of Heaven Main Shrine Hall of Prayers for abundant Harvest is currently under reconstruction/re-decorations and NOT open to the Public for viewing at this Time. There is however also some considerable good news, since the Fasting Palace (the place where the Emperor would purify himself by fasting on the eve and night before the Main Prayer Ceremonies for Good Harvest) is now open to the Public. Another addition, opened late last year (2004), are the Temple of Heaven Musical Administration Hall(s) where a new exhibition on the musical instruments, costumes and dances used in The Imperial Ceremonies are now on display. A new treasure trove has been opened at Tiantan Park ! Don’t miss out on the sensational instruments on display, photos and explanation of which soon to be uploaded and entered into www.TheBeijingReport.com (part of www.ChinaReport.com). Not available from Lonely Planet.
Yes, yesterday was one of those really pleasant days one can have in Beijing. Although HOT at TiananMen Square, the grounds off Tiantan Park are always considerably cooler with it’s many trees and and shaded area’s to benifit both local Beijing Citizen’s and .. the growing multitudes of Foreign Visitors and Chinese Tour-groups flocking to The World Famous Temple of Heaven, one of Beijing’s Main Landmarks. Feeling the heat coming on, eventhough the skies were not blue and clear at all (Beijing smog pollution and Coal Haze), I decided this would be a good day to expand on our current Virtual Walk of the Main Temple of Heaven Park Central Axis (South to North). In Doing so – this day I walked first from Tiantan Park’s Main (Tourist) South Entrance, then turned to the right and East even before reaching the so called Rounded Altar (the white marble structure including linxing gates and the echo stone). Turns out from there it is a pleasant walk between many trees, to a really quiet corner of the Park. Mainly, to be honest, there is NOTHING there. But still, quite an experience. Find yourself immersed in cooling and shady trees. Watch local birds come out,fly about and hear their calls (Photographing them is quite difficult. It seems like these birds are very cautious, which leaves me to believe they are used to being hunted.) Walk past Tiantan Gongyuan’s East Celestial Gate, curve to the North on an easy walking path abundant with flkowers and end up at The Park’s Eastern Gate, just a stones throw from the Chang Lang or 72 Arch Corridor. Enjoy the 7 celestial stones and see tourgroups flocking in- and out while local Beijingers have a nap on the many benches, and hear music played continuously at the Chang Lang, always a gathering spot for happy Chinese Park enthousiasts. From this point I had to double back all the way through the Park to return to the South Entrance from where … This time i turned Left and West, to explore Tiantan GongYuan’s Western reaches. Here find more trees, the East Celestial Gate, and follow the road North to the surprising new Musical Administration Halls. Here a new exhibition has been opened (in late 2004 as I am told by exhibition wardens), splendid and quite surprising, if not just plain spectacular. Get a good sense of the extensive Ceremonies that were once held at Tiantan with use of good explanations (english as well as chinese) , multiple painted depictions, display’s of Uniforms and last but not least with the help of some sensational Imperial Instruments on display. An un-precendented insight into the Living Tiantan Ceremonies as they once were. See small instruments such as the stone baked Cun (a common tourist souvenir at Banpo Village in Xian, Shaanxi), but also more interesting / impressive displays such as finally carved snake leather covered ErHu (Ar-Hu) and other snare instruments on display. The real masterpieces and stars of the Exhibition can be found in the Northern Halls of The Musical Administation Buildings, housing a Huge Man-High Ceremonial Drum painted with Dragons, and other similarly sensational Drum’s in leather, Bronze Bell- and Jade are also on display. (Names and Full text to be researched later and published at China Report.) I proudly announce that we (China Report) are -once more- the First to Report on these new museum and park extensions. As a matter of Fact – with our meticulous and detailed photo work we drew such attention from the Park Oversee-ers (Warden(s)) that we may be invited exclusively to Photograph some of the Central Music Hall, not generally open to the Public and only used for Special Concerts held at the "Spring Festival" (= aka The Chinese New Year.) I hope we will be invited as the Music Hall must be one of Beijing’s Best Kept Treasures, reserved normally for the chinese Elite. So ?? Stay Tuned ?? (We are aware of the general state of our website, as it is a huge project as yet unfinished by more than half. However, after our return to our Main Office in The Netherlands, we will surely spend a month updating and much improving our works. Thank you for your interest and patience!)