When one is thoroughly on the Prowl in Beijing as Doc Ben was the last week, it is not always easy to return to base and still have enough energy to keep a Blog and describe the wonders of the Day. Surely not! As Doc Ben has a habit of browsing through every nook and cranny of Beijing’s Palaces and Many Temples, his adventures are many, exciting and yes- rather exhausting. At the moment Ben has two fine blisters on his feet just to prove it !
Luckily, after 7 days of long walks, fabulous sites and -hopefully- magnificient photos, Doc Ben was supposed to Fly out to the West, but .. did not. He missed his Flight due to a variety of reasons and factors conspiring against him.
But – there is an up-side to everything, or at least – a true explorer always tries to find it. Today, belatedly, instead of Photos from Gansu Province, instead an overview of the passed week and some updates of what has changed in Beijing in the last year. I think you could say – we have good news on the New Beijing !
First of All – An update on what will be coming to your computer in the period leading up to the Beijing Olympics in August of 2008.
As the hard work progresses, Doctor Ben once again moved swiftly but accuratly passed and through a number of Beijing Landmarks & Monuments on his way to the "completion" of the Virtual City of Beijing. The results were many. Here a quick list of what is new and now recorded in 12.2 megapixel photo:
The Chongwen District – as you may have noted on our Website in the last few months, although neighboring Xuanwu District and most of the (Huge!) Imperial Palace (aka Forbidden City) have been introduced and described for you , the Chongwen District, as yet is incomplete and without proper description.
On reason for this was the fact that Dr. Ben works near 70 hours and more a week, and therefor sometimes lacks the Time to do some proper writing. The other reason, much more practical and logical, was that the Chongwen District – when we left in Summer 2005- has just started on it’s huge overhaul, pulling the District into Modernity. As a direct result of this, anything we might have written and uploaded for you, would have been outdated severely by this Time.
The good news on the Chongwen District – plans and construction of the changes to Chongwen District are now reaching their final stages and shape, enabling us to to give you directions for years to come.
Recorded in November 2007 in the Chongwen District were – the Yong Ding Men, former South Gate of the Qing Dynasty wall surrounding both Chongwen- and Xuanwu Districts. Next up – the nearby (walking distance) former Altar of Agriculture, which is the Place where the Emperor symbollically tilled a piece of Land, and performed Rituals for an auspicious season and abundant harvest.
Also among the Treasures of the District, a revisit of the World Cultural Heritage Site, the most sacred Shrine in China, The Tiantan – or Temple of Heaven. In the past, due to hardware failure, some of the photos of this magnificent Park had been lost to The China Report, however – in the past week we returned to one of the lesser wonders of the Park, the double-eaved Pavilion, and recorded it once again for you and History. This Time in 12.2 Mega-Pixels !!
Last but not least in our listing for Chongwen, a return to the Chongwen Fire God Temple on West Flower Market Street, including the Old Mosque, the Center of Worship in what was once a Muslim Hutong Area in Beijing. Both holy shrines have recently been fully restored, as we hope to show you as soon as is humanly possible.
Next – the Haidian District of which so far we have been unable to show you much.
This will change soon ! Among the Monuments and Landmarks of the Haidian District recently covered, first of all – a Return to Beijing Zoo, home of the Panda’s!
Although this Time we did not enter the Zoo, we did make an effort to show you more of the surrounding area which includes Xizhimen Subway Station and the still new western starting point of recently opened Subway Line 13, which can be dubbed the Olympic Line. From the West, line 13 arches through Haidian District to pass by all the Olympic Venues and newly built Stadiums for the Beijing 2008 Olympics and there-after.
After seeing this, we returned to our more traditional subjects and made our way up to the Great Bell Temple. The Great Bell Temple is the Home of the 6.75 meter solid bronze Yongle Bell – the largest and heaviest ancient Bronze Bell in China. Go have a look for yourself if you are in the area, as the Great Bell Temple offers much more than what one would expect upon entry ! If you are Fan / Enthousiast for Ancient Bronze Bells and Chinese Achievements in Bronze Casting – you mUst visit this Temple ! Many of the finest Bells in China have been brought together and are on display at this Fine Place.
Other future photo-laced Haidian Reports will further include – the Altar of the Earth, located just outside the 2nd Ring Road across from YongHeGong – Lama Temple (Part of Dongcheng District).
And there is More ! Next – The Palace Museum aka the Forbidden City which can easily be counted as a District all in itself !
Here China Report already covered an unprecendented percentage of the Palace, making the first Virtual Palace Museum on the World Wide Web (See China Report – Beijing). However, even we did not cover all, yet, as we are speaking about the largest preserved group of wooden buildings in the World. Therefor we had a return to the Palace in the Hope to Score yet more magnificent photos of this Timeless Palace and Wonder. And we succeeded !!
Coming soon to your Computer ! Unique Photos of the Palace of Peaceful Old Age, better known as the retirement Palace of Great Qing Emperor Qianlong.
Photos will later be available through our automated Photo Galleries and prints – even in wall size or larger, can be purchased (then) through www.chinaphoto.eu, our Future Stock Photography Pile on China.
And still there is more ! Before partially incomplete, Doc Ben further made hard efforts to complete the Full Introduction to the Dongcheng District of Beijing. The Dongcheng District, already much photographed beforehand, will be enriched with even more photos !
Additions in the coming months will involve the Confucius Temple, shrine to the world renowned and fabled wise-man from the far Past. Other important visits in Dongcheng – the Dr. Sun Yat Sen memorial Park. Once part of the outer Imperial Palace during much of the Ching Dynasty, Sun Yat Sen Park, now is a large shrine to the Father of the Chinese Revolution, the unsurpassed Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, and ofcourse his equally unique wife and later widow – Madame Soong Ching Ling.
The park is a large and pleasurable garden and is usually good for a great getaway from the Tourist Crowds and traffic noise of the North End of TiananMen Square. Go there and be surpised, or … wait around and have a virtual visit through your computer and our website !
Last Up in this week’s Photo-Coverage of the Wonders of Beijing – the beforehand nearly undescribed and un-photographed Business District of Beijing – ChaoYang.
In ChaoYang one can find one of the Last Imperial Altars of the far past, the Altar of the Sun.
The Sun Altar and Temple are located at Ritan Park in Central ChaoYang District. Although now counted as one of the lesser wonders and smaller Parks of Beijing, naturally the Virtual City of Beijing would not be complete without it. Furthermore, covering this Park gave us an excellent chance to browse through Beijing’s Embassy District, scout out the fenced off but large North Korean Embassy in Beijing and from there move on to DongYue Temple.
You may not have heard of the latter at all, but we can inform you that DongYue is once more, a splendid Temple in Beijing. And not only that, it is one of the most popular and most active Taoist Temples in Beijing. Find the Father of all Taoist God’s in control of his many many subjects at the DongYue Temple, also known as the Place of the Beijing Folklore and Folk Art Museum. It is both a worthy place to offer your prayers (Father God is the Home God of Tai Shan Holy Mountain in Liaoning Province) and a great place to discover more and marvel about the interesting Folk Arts of Beijing. Toys abound, paper-cuttings, ofcourse the un-missable Beijing Kite and more joyous items await.
More of the ChaoYang District will be covered tomorrow, on what will hopefully this Time be our last shooting day in Beijing.
That is- for the coming two weeks !!
As always – Doc Ben shall return to Beijing to complete his Gargantuan Volunteer Task !
A monks Job ???