Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Beijing Temples

The Temple of Heaven is probably Beijing's most well-known temple, but the city contains literally hundreds of other temples.

Temple of Heaven

The Ming Dynasty Temple of Heaven (or "Altar of Heaven"), which is located in the south of the Temple of Heaven Park, was used as an altar by the the Emperor to perform his ceremonial rites as the Son of Heaven: praying for good harvests, seeking forgiveness from the gods for the wrong-doings and sins of the Chinese people. 

Access

Chongwenmen or Qianmen Subway Stations. Chongwenmen is on both the Circle Line and Line 5. Qianmen is on the Circle Line.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Great Wall of China

Great Wall Facts

Parts of the Great Wall were built over 2,000 years ago

You CAN'T see it from space

The wall is a UNESCO World Heritage site listed in 1987

The wall is approximately 4,000 miles long

The wall averages 15 to 30 feet high and 15 to 25 feet wide

That dead slaves were buried in the wall is probably untrue

The Great Wall is not one continuous wall but a series of walls joined together

The wall was built by prisoners, soldiers, and local people

The Great Wall visible to tourists today was built mostly during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China


Read more on the Great Wall of China

Images Courtesy & Copyright © Smallstepsinchina.com

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Beijing Street Food

Beijing has some excellent cheap eats to be found on its streets.

Most Beijingers frequently grab something from a street stall, whether it be the ubiquitous breakfasts youtiao (a deep-fried stick of dough) and zhou (rice congee or porridge) washed down with a cup of douzhi (bean curd milk) or another type of snack such as kao yang rou chuan (a roasted lamb kebab).

Beijing Food Stall

Other common foods found on street stalls include mala tang (spicy noodle soups), hongshu (baked sweet potatoes) and rou jiamo (braised pork in a baked bun). More exotic fare may include some varieties of insect including white scorpions, cicadas and centipedes.

Beijing Food Stall Insects

The most famous place for tourists to sample Beijing street food is Donghuamen Night Market, near Wangfujing Dajie opposite the Xin Dong An Plaza, where prices at its multitude of food stalls are much higher than just off the street anywhere else in the city. The nearest subway station is Wangfujing on the East-West Line.

On the whole most street food in Beijing is safe to eat, but those with weak stomachs may prefer to eat elsewhere.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Taichi in Beijing

Thousands of mostly older people begin their day with a session of taichi (taijiquan) in Beijing's parks and other open spaces.

Taichi in Beijing

taijiquan - which can translate as "boundless fist" or "supreme ultimate fist" is a soft-style martial art, with obscure historical roots, which became more formalized and widely practicised in 19th century China.

A group of older people practicing taichi in a Beijing park

The poses in taichi would seem to be based on the natural and graceful movements of animals and birds and the practice of this martial art aims to promote the circulation of "chi" energy around the body, improve concentration, balance and calm the mind for meditation and reflection.

As a means of defence, taichi emphasizes re-directing violent blows aimed at the practitioner.

Images Courtesy & Copyright © Smallstepsinchina.com

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