Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven & Forbidden City – Beijing, China

After all of the excitement over the weekend, we had to keep our momentum going by scheduling a more in depth historical tour of Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. Our guide was very knowledgable and spoke so fast that I could not keep up with my note taking. The dragon Huabiao columns outside Tiananmen Gate fascinated me as both towered over us. The columns have different meanings depending on where they are placed.

Tiananmen Square

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The Temple of Heaven is where the emperor would perform ceremonies to pray for good harvest. The layout of the Temple grounds as well as other features of the temple represent heaven (circle) and earth (square). We both enjoyed learning about the details and calculations of each aspect of the Temple grounds; everything was so thought-out.

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We spent the entire day with our tour guide. He took us on a couple “shopping trips” to a silk factory and tea house, which I did not prefer since it was not on our schedule. I enjoyed learning about Chinese tea, but it made our tour much longer. That time could have been spent seeing more of the Forbidden City. By the end of it, we were relieved to be back at the hotel.

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