Beijing: Day 2
On the bus at 8:00 am.to go to the Temple of Heaven where, in the time of the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Emperor went four times a year (each season ) to worship heaven and to offer prayers for peace, bountiful harvest etc. Only the Emperor was allowed inside. It was beautifully constructed. Since 1911 (People's Revolution ) it is open to the public and is surrounded by a beautiful park. What a happy place! People were playing cards, dominoes and other games. Some women were crocheting or doing other crafts. Some seniors were there with their grandchildren; others were on their own exercising on the equipment provided (one elderly fellow was doing chin ups, or joined with a group doing taiji or dancercise. The park was filled with people enjoying themselves.
We explored Tia'namen Square next (biggest city central square in the world.). It can hold a million people.We saw Mao Tse Tung's mausoleum and took Dan's picture beside a huge photo of the Chairman.
Leaving there, we continued on to walk through the Forbidden City from South Gate to the North Gate which required more than two hours. The emperor lived here with his family and conducted business and ceremonies within its walls. The dignitaries lived outside in the Imperial City and outside its gates were the homes and businesses of the common people. Anyone who passed the examinations held in the Forbidden City became officials.
We traveled to the Tea House that served the Emperor until 1911 after which it was taken over by the state. We tasted some delicious teas before proceeding to our cultural entertainment The Golden Mask Dynasty. This show was amazing - one of the best we have ever seen - from the costumes, acrobatics, choreography and seamless scene changes to the on stage flood. Our seats were front row centre and we were surrounded by flowing water that covered the stage as a rocky falls and came almost to our seats.
On our way to the hotel, we made a quick stop at The Place to see the first electronic dream backdrop (sky TV) in Asia and the second largest with the length of three football fields (about 300 meters).