The last stop, but in my opinion the most important, during the travel through China, was its capital – Beijing. We got there by plane from Xian. This fascinating city with its even more impressing surroundings, left us with a deep impression.
I will start from the surroundings, as this is what we visited first after arriving in Beijing. First and one of the most important things we wanted to see, was the Great Wall of China which is easily accessible from Beijing. It is located about 70 km from the city center, the so- called Badaling site. Badaling Great Wall was built during the Ming dynasty and is about 4,5 km long. It is the most visited site of the Great Wall. I have to say, that it was not easy to climb it from one guard tower to another. I was not so keen on reaching them all:) However, the view was unforgettable. It is definitely one of those places in the world that you just have to see.
On the way back from Badaling to Beijing, we stopped to visit the Ming Tombs. The place is known as Thirteen Tombs of the Ming Dynasty (not all the tombs of the dynasty are located there, but their majority). What was interesting to me, is that this place was chosen based on the feng shui principles.
The 7km long, so-called Sacred Way, leads to the complex of tombs. It is a special path guarded by monuments of animals and officials. I have never seen something like that before. It was really exceptional.
The next day, was dedicated mainly to the Summer Palace. As a complex of lakes and parks seems like a perfect place to rest, it becomes doubtful in the tourist era. The place was very beautiful but also due to this fact, full of tourists. This made visiting a bit difficult but still worth coming. We took there a boat ride on the lake and listened to many interesting stories.
And now coming back to the city of Beijing. Our Sightseeing started from the Tiananmen Square, which I have heard about with regards to the 89′ protests that were brutally suppressed. The first thing we saw was also something that I had never seen before – soldiers cleaning the bars that divided the free walking zone. We visited there the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, who is still the beloved leader for many Chinese people. They greet him with a bow and offer flowers while passing by his body…
I have lived in the communist Poland just for 2 years of my life, and I cannot remember a thing from that period. I definitely read and saw a lot of documentaries on this subject, but Beijing gave me more than that. A real experience.
On the side of a square, there is an entrance to the Forbidden City. Who once watched the movie “The Last Emperor”, by Bernardo Bertolucci, like myself, may want to visit this place at least once in their life. I strongly recommend this movie. I wanted to see this palace very much and I was not disappointed by what I saw. This was the main residence palace of the Chinese Dynasties from 1420 to 1912. However, the Mao’s portrait hangs above the entrance, in order to underline the current system.
The Temple of Heaven was another unique site we have visited. This spiritual place is full of symbols and definitely worth visiting.
The last place we visited was one of the working class quarters of Beijing. We could see how simple Chinese live their life in this big and crowded city.
I strongly recommend visiting China.