Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Forbidden City: Best Tourist Attraction Title Ever.

When in Beijing as a tourist, one is obligated to visit The Great Wall, eat Beijing Roast Duck and also wander around The Forbidden City.

This massive complex earned its name by being off limits to the hoi polloi. It was an extravagant and ornate palace complex for the Emporer, his courtiers and a massive harem of 3,000 women and 2,000 eunuchs.

The first two facades have recently been painstakingly restored with vivid cobalt blue, rich red lacquer and gold leaf that certainly feels fit for an Emporer.

Here's Eric sporting an audio guide and posing with his beloved Dragon Turtle.

Maybe it was the stifling heat, maybe it was the massive crowds snapping pictures above their heads in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the treasures inside the structures, but it was a little tough to imagine this city as the sacred, sumptuous place it once was. You'll have to rent The Last Emporer to see any of that.

There is no shortage of elaborate treasures in the Forbidden City, but...

I was most entranced by these pebble mosaics that line the beautiful cypress tree gardens. Perhaps because the human hand was so evident, it was easy to imagine the team of craftsmen who planned and carefully executed each one. The garden felt more alive and relevant to me than any of the Emporer's other treasures.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...