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Showing posts from August, 2007

Beijing Hutongs 北京胡同 and Siheyuans 四合院!

Ni hao! Todays blog will tell you a little bit more about the Hutongs in Beijing. We all call it hutong. But when we talk abut them we really mean siheyuan. Siheyuan are the courtyard houses, and hutong are the streets or alleys inbetween them. So we should really talk about the Siheyuans inBeijing! Hutongs 胡同 are narrow streets or alleys, most commonly associated with Beijing, China. The word hutong comes from the Mongolian hottog meaning "water well." During the growth of towns and cities, wells dug by villagers formed the centres of new communities. In Beijing, hutongs are alleys formed by lines of Siheyuan, traditional courtyard residences. Many neighbourhoods were formed by joining one siheyuan to another to form a hutong, and then joining one hutong to another. The word hutong is also used to refer to such neighbourhoods. In old China, streets and lanes were defined by width. Hutongs were lanes no wider than 9 metres. Many are smaller; Beijing hutongs range in widt

Jingshan Park 景山公园 and Beihai Park 北海公园!

Ni hao! As I told you before I want to give you the real pearls of Beijing. One at a time! Here I will give one more interesting sight. Jingshan Hill (Chinese: 景山 is an artificial hill in Beijing, China. It is located in Xicheng District, immediately north of the Forbidden City on the central axis of Beijing. Originally an imperial garden, it is now a public park, known as Jingshan Park (景山公园). The 45.7-metre high artificial hill was constructed in the Yongle era of the Ming Dynasty entirely from the soil excavated in forming the moats of the Imperial Palace and nearby canals. It is especially impressive when one considers that all of this material was moved only by manual labor and animal power. According to the dictates of Feng Shui, it is favorable to site a residence to the south of a nearby hill (and it is also practical, gaining protection from chilly northern winds). The imperial palaces in both of the other capitals of the Ming Dynasty were situated to the south of a hill.

Shopping in Beijing: Wangfujing Dajie(Alley) 王府井大街!

Ni hao! Wángfujing Alley(Wangfujing Dajie) 王府井大街, located in the Dongcheng District of Beijing, is one of the Chinese capital's most famous shopping streets. Much of the road is off-limits to cars and other motor vehicles, and it is not rare to see the entire street full of people, turned into one of China's most attractive and modern boulevards. Since the middle of Ming Dynasty there have been commercial activities. In the Qing Dynasty, eight aristocratic estates and princess residence were built here, soon after when a well full of sweet water was discovered, thereby giving the street its name "Wang Fu"(=aristocratic residence), "Jing" (=well). In 1903, Dong'an market was formed. Prior to 1949, the street was also known as Morrison Street, after the Australian journalist George Ernest Morrison. Wangfujing has become one of the four traditional downtown shopping areas of Beijing, in addition to Dashilar, Xidan, and Liulichang. It starts from Wangfuj

The Forbidden City, Gugong 故宫!

Ni hao! The Forbidden City was the chinese imperial palace from the mid-Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost five centuries, it served as the home of the Emperor and his household, and the ceremonial and political centre of Chinese government. Built from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 surviving buildings with 8,707 bays of rooms and covers 720,000 square metres. The palace complex exemplifies traditional chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. Since 1924, the Forbidden City has been under the charge of the Palace Museum, whose extensive collection of artwork and artefacts were built upon the imperial collections of the Ming and Qing

Shopping in Beijing 北京

Ni hao! Now you know a little about where we live when we are in Beijing 北京, and about the nearest area around us. You also know a little bit more about Beijing, if you have been reading my blogs. Right now I feel like I would take you out on a shopping round in this lovely city. Firstly Beijing is a fantastic and wonderful place to go to when you want to shop. You will find all kinds of things to buy, and it´s very cheap. So one good tip is to come here with very little in your bagage. You will fill it here. There are many places to go when you want to shop, and they are spread all over the city. The first place we went to was the area near the Drum Tower. Here we found two department stores. One with clothes, shoes, perfume and so on, plus one with everything from electronics to clothes. In fact this last one had everything. I bought sunglasses, memory cards to my mobile phone, t-shirts, thing to use when sewing, umbrellas you name it! Fill up your bagage before going home! In the

Public transportation in Beijing 北京

Ni hao! A little about public transportation in Beijing 北京. Our apartment is situated very central in this town. You have several ways to help you to get around the city as a tourist. The means of transportation I can put into five groups: 1. Taxi, 2. Subway, 3. Bus, 4. Rickshaw, 5 Boat and 6. Walk! Many times it´s the best to combine them to reach your destination. When I went to the Beijing Zoo and the Summer Palace I used this combination: Walk, Subway and Rickshaw for the Zoo and Boat to the Summer Palace, and finally home by Bus and Taxi. It took me and my two family guides 11 hours before reaching home. I think when you visit for a shorter period like a week or 10 days you must use the taxi a lot. It is very cheap here and you will reach your destination very quick. Though you have to be aware of the language! If not they can charge you night fare prices during the day time as you can not read their equipment. A little warning of this and maybe they don´t always take the short