Today we started off the day heading to The Temple of Heaven which is ranked among the most famous structures in China.
The temple was used several times annually when the emperor, bearing the hopes and sins of the Chinese people, humbled himself before heaven and performed rituals calculated to insure good harvests.
It is a very popular place for retired Chinese folk to hang out, exercise and to play games such as hackey sack or cards.
From there we went to The Pearl exhibition centre were we learned the pearl life, how to tell the difference between a fake and a real pearl and the different colours and sizes of pearls.
We had lunch at a local restaurant and then went to The Tian’anmen Square which covers 44 hectares and is the largest public square in the world.
In the centre of the square are the Monument to the People’s Heroes and the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall where Mao Tse Tung’s embalmed body lies in state. The most recognizable feature of the Rostrum is Mao’s portrait; a required backdrop for any photo visitors may take of themselves. Often people go here to protest by lighting themselves on fire and you will find guards here standing by fire extinguishers.
Crossing Changan Avenue and directly behind the Rostrum is the entry to the Forbidden City, so called because it was off limits to commoners throughout the history of Imperial China. Commoners caught in the palace during this period were executed.
The current construction was originally built between 1406 and 1420 by 100,000 artisans and a million labourers as a palace for the Ming and Qing Emperors; it lies on more than 178 acres and has more than 9,999 rooms. (9 is a lucky number in China).
After the Forbidden City we went to The Academy of Chinese Medicine to get reflexology massages which was much needed after the hike up The Great Wall yesterday. Both Stephen Harper (previous Prime Minister of Canada) and Obama have been treated at this academy.
We finished our evening at a Kung Fu Show with acrobats, kung fu masters and a story of a boy who grew up to be a Kung Fu master.
Can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store. xxx- an apple a day