Apart from a series of three articles at kingscalendar that commenced with Winter Holiday Part 1 : Jan 2004 and an article in 2005 at Magic City entitled: Security in Beijing I am not aware of having specifically provided a file of photographs from Beijing; especially of the Imperial Palace, The Ming Tombs, The Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven.
Today, without commentary, except for quoting signs found at those locations (errors included), I provide some of the less that 'usual' tourist photos. I hope you enjoy them.
There are now, more and larger photographs to be found at KingsCalendar under the title: Photographs of Beijing Tourist Sites
The Palace Museum
Built in 1406-1420, The Imperial Palace, popularly known as the Forbidden City, was the permanent residence of the Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
|Stock Standard shot at the Forbidden City|
|Forbidden City with top left corner White object being Tibetan.|
It's buildings are divided into two parts. The front part, or the 'outer court', consists of Tai He Dian Hall, Zhong He Dian Hall and Bao He Dian Hall, which are taken as it's main body, plus Wen Hua Dian Hall and Wu Ying Dian Hall, which are taken as it's two wings, Where the Emperor held important ceremonies.
|Off the track side of the forbidden city surrounded by a moat.|
|By the usual entrance to forbidden city.|
The rear part, or the 'inner court', consists of Qian Ging Gong Palace, Jiao Tai Dian Hall, Kun Ning Gong Palace, Yang Xin Dian Hall plus the six east palaces, the six west palaces and Yu Hua Yuan garden, where the Emperor handled routine affairs and he with his Empress and concubines lived or spent their leisure hours.
|Temple on hill on far side of the forbidden city. Note the Bronze pot. The French stole all the gold gilting years ago.|
|The Last Emperors wedding night bedroom from which he fled in boredom.|
The Imperial Palace is the largest and most complete group of ancient buildings which China has preserved to the present. It embodies the fine tradition and national style of Ancient Chinese Architectural art. In 1961 the Imperial Palace was listed by the State Council as one of 'the important historical monuments under the protection of the Government', and, in 1987, it was affirmed by the UNESCO as 'The World Heritage'.
|One of the throne rooms in Forbidden City|
|Interesting shot through 3 gates into an area not open to the public at that time. Forbidden City.|
From Ming to Qing Dybasties, a total of 24 Emperors lived here. The Qing Dynasty was overthrown in the revolution of 1911. From then on, as the feudal Imperial Palace, the Forbidden City completed it's historical mission. In 1914, the Museum of Antiquities was housed in the outer court. In 1925, the Palace Museum was established.
|Rockery formation Forbidden City.|
Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 not only the palace buildings have been repaired, but also a vast amount of work on the arrangement, restoration, collection and exhibition of precious cultural relics has been made. Today, some of the halls or palaces are kept as they were originally furnished, the others are used to exhibit special art treasures, such as jewellery, ancient paintings, bronzes, ceramics, arts and crafts, clocks and watches, etc, which show the age-old and splendid historical civilization of the Chinese nation.
|Interesting shot in the side streets of Beijing looking to Forbidden City|
(BenDedek footnote: According to documentaries on CCTV 9, during the Japanese occupation the Imperial Palace contents were packed up and sent west for safety. About one third of these however, are still under the control of the Taiwan Government.)
Temple of Heaven
Our country's worshipping Heaven dates back to the ancient times. it is from the 2600 B.C. (Five Emperor Dynasties) to the early of the 20th Century when the feudal society was disintegrated. The Temple of Heaven was a place for the Ming and Qing Dynasty's emperor to worship Heaven and to pray for good harvest. The Temple of Heaven was built in 1420 D.C. (the 18th year of Emperor Yongle's reign of the Ming Dynasty), it is Imperial Sacrificial Altar constructed according to Chinese traditional system.
|From within Temple of Heaven complex.|
|Temple of Heaven shot of the roof - enhanced.|
From the 19th year of Emperor Yongle's reign of the Ming Dynasty, there were 23 emperors to go there to worship Heaven. The Revolution of 1911 overthrew the feudal society's monarchy and abolished the worship of Heaven. The Temple of Heaven was opened to public as a garden in 1918. The Museum for Heaven Worship introduces the rituals of heaven worship in ancient China and shows the history and the culture of it.
|Ground shot inside the circular Temple of Heaven|
|Hazy shot of the Temple of Heaven from the Park|
Imperial Hall of Heaven
The Imperial Hall of Heaven was 'The Heavenly Warehouse' of the altar of prayer for grains. The tablet of 'The God of Heaven' and the tablets of the Emperor's ancestors to be displayed and worshipped during the ceremony held in the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests were kept here.
|Prayers at Ming Tombs|
The day before the ceremony the Emperor came here in person to burn incense sticks and perform the Divine Greetings for the transference, and then the officials of the Ministry of Rituals transferred the tablets to their appropriate places in the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests.
|Enhanced photo of room at Ming tombs|
With a square roof and eaves in four directions covered with blue glazed tiles, the hall was first built in 1420 (the 18th year of Ming Emperor Yongle's reign), and the hall placard bears an inscription in the handwriting of Zhu Houcong, Emperor Jiajing of the Ming Dynasty.
The Great Wall of China
|The easy way to the top of the Great Wall at Badaling.|
|Looks great - a hell of a climb though.|
The Changling is the burial mausoleum of Chengzu(1360-1424), Zhu Di, the Third Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, and Empress Xushi.
|Ming Tombs Fat Guy.|
The construction of the main structure of the mausoleum - The underground Palace - began in 1409. It was completed in 1427. It occupies an area of about 120,000 square metres. The mausoleum is composed of the underground structure (Burial Chamber) and surface palace. The Changling is the biggest in scope among the mausoleums in the Tianshou Mountain.
|Crown on display at the Ming Tombs|
The mausoleum buildings have been repaired many times after the Ming Dynasty, and the principal ones have been preserved. The Hall of Eminent Favour and the Gate of Eminent Favour Built of Nanmu, the only hall and gate of such structures still remaining among the Ming Mausoleums, look magnificient.
Built with materials of excellent quality, they deserve to be treasures of ancient Chinese archetecture.
The Summer Palace
|Close Up of Summer Palace. The dowager Empress used to 'run' up the hill with the eunuchs trying to catch up.|
|Summer Palace walkway. Longest covered walkway in the world.|
The pictures of the Summer Palace in particular, come alive when you read the stories of Princess Der Ling
R.P.BenDedek is the pseudonym of the Author of 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran' (www.kingscalendar.com), and is a guest columnist at Magic City Morning Star News. An Australian, he currently teaches Conversational English in China.
Photographic Stories From China
"The King's Calendar" is a chronological study of the historical books of the Bible (Kings and Chronicles), Josephus, Seder Olam Rabbah, and the (Essene) Damascus Document of The Dead Sea Scrolls.