One of the greatest building enterprises in the history of the world is the Great Wall of China. Not so much one wall as a collection of ramparts, the punctuated Great Wall straddles China from the Yellow Sea in the east to its crumbling finale in the Gobi Desert. In its entirety, it is 6,430 kilometres long. Continue reading →
Fronting the Forbidden City, the sweeping square of the Gate of Heavenly Peace—Tiananmen Square—is the soul of China and the world’s largest square. The vast expanse of paving stones covering 100 acres is a colossal statement of state power. Chairman Mao is interred here and the monolithic Chinese parliament overlooks the square.
Tiananmen Gate with its huge portrait of Mao is the viewing stand for military parades. In the centre of the square stands the Monument to the People’s Heroes. South of this is the Mao Zedong Mausoleum, where the waxen-faced great helmsman lies in state. The hall was constructed the year after Mao’s death in 1976.
The square doubles as a huge park, with couples strolling languidly hand in hand, children playing, and enthusiastic kite flying.
The Temple of Heaven is believed to be the site where heaven and earth meet
Every heart that listens to the call of the distant shore wishes, fantasises of travelling through the mysteries of the Forbidden City, climbing the impregnable ramparts of the Great Wall, basking in the suaveness of Shanghai, and cruising through the mist-clad gorges of the Yangtze, but at least once in their lives. My month long solo journey through China was an answer to such a call.
Beijing, or Northern Capital has a powerful allure. The seat of power in China and proud capital of the Middle Kingdom was not at all what I expected it to be. I had arrived anticipating blue-attired homogeneous masses frantically cycling through a cluttered, crowded, chaotic city. Beijing instead was the complete antithesis. Wide tree-lined avenues, colossal squares, and huge palaces left me in awe. Blond-haired Chinese youths complete with earrings left me a wee bit amazed. Harmony and elegance were the order of the day. Continue reading →