China is a large country with a very long history and a large number of interesting places to see. Many visitors take multiple weeks excursions through China just to begin to see them. However, there are some places that everyone coming to China will see and some that only a few foreigners coming during the winter will see. On our trip, we will engage both categories.
The Great Wall of China (Chang Cheng) is one of China's most recognized icons. Although it can be accessed in many locations, the Great Wall at Badaling is the most visited and offers easy access to a large part of the Wall.
Entrance to the Great Wall
The Great Wall at Badaling
The Great Wall is Steep!
The Forbidden City/Imperial Palace (Gu Gong) in the center of Beijing offers the most complete glimpse into the Feudal Periods of China when Emperors ruled Dynasties and the Arts of the Court were refined over Centuries. Well restored and hosting hundreds of thousands of artifacts and historical treasures, an in depth visit to the Forbidden City could easily occupy multiple days of exploration.
Entrance to Forbidden City
Forbidden City Sculpture
Forbidden City Architecture
Perhaps China's most recognized icon is the Temple of Heaven (Tian Tan) where China's Emperors came to pray for good harvests. Here the rituals of the belief systems that ruled Dynastic China are evidenced by the architecture and uses of the lands and buildings.
Tian Tan - Temple of Heaven
Double Circle Pagoda
Grounds Surrounding Temple of Heaven
The Emperors of China built many large parks throughout Beijing. As with all Dynastic China's creations, they are large and ornate and allowed the Emperors ample room to divert their attentions from the affairs of State. Two of the most elaborate are The Summer Palace (Yi He Yuan) at the edge of Beijing and Bei Hai next to the Forbidden City in the heart of Beijing.
The Summer Palace
Bei Hai Park
Winter on Bei Hai Lake
The culture of China is all around you. Food, sights, sounds, smells will leave you with the definite feeling that you are not in Kansas anymore.