Beijing (Part One)

The capital of China and home to several of the world’s best known monuments, Beijing is a city that cannot be missed.

I’ll start off talking about the Great Wall. The Great Wall was originally a series of several small walls surrounding various countries but after Qin Shi Huang united China, he connected them as a means of communication. So how does this exactly work? Guards would be stationed all across the wall in different watch towers and when a guard spots an enemy army, they would immediately put a fire into the tower. Nearby towers will see the flames and will put fires onto their towers. The flames will eventually reach the capital, where the emperor would prepare his troops. Little of the original wall remains, most of what we see today comes from the Ming Dynasty. The Great Wall of China also happens to be the world’s longest grave, a lot of slaves died building it.

Another well-known monument is the Forbidden City, home of the emperor from the Ming Dynasty all the way to the Qing Dynasty. Part of the Forbidden City was restored for the 2008 Beijing Olympics (they made the building’s colours more vivid). Some claim that the Forbidden City has 9,999 rooms as 9 is a lucky number in China. This, however isn’t confirmed. Many of the artifacts now reside in Taipei.

Finally, the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace was built in 1153 but was restored multiple times, most notably in 1884-95 when money meant for upgrading the navy went to Dowager Empress Cixi who spent on enlarging the palace for her sixtieth birthday. It covers around 3 square kilometers, most of which is water. It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site like the other monuments mentioned.

Much lies in the heart of the world, but the heart lies in Beijing.

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