While we were in Beijing, we visited the Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It was freezing cold outside, but so worth the trip!
Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests
The Temple of Heaven is a large area, mostly known for this amazing building, which is called the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. Apparently there’s a replica of it at Disney World.The temple was used by the Emperor to pray for good harvests (yes, human sacrifice was involved). The Emperor was considered the
son of heaven, so he represented heavenly authority.
I believe this is a temple (?) across Kunming Lake, which is rich with pearls.
We then walked down the Long Corridor, which is completely covered with the most intricate paintings.
This is the Marble Boat.
This is the first time we learned about China’s fascination with rocks. There’s several of these giant rocks that were dug up from the lake, each representing a zodiac animal (squint and turn your head, and you might be able to make something out). We went to a few more gardens in China after this one, and they’re also full of these rocks.
One of the coolest things we saw on the trip were old men practicing calligraphy at the Summer Palace. They used special brushes with a sponge tip on one end and a plastic bottle filled with water on the other end. This is considered a type of exercise for the elderly.
It looked like he has been doing this for years. He wrote the characters of a poem very quickly, and with absolute perfection. The water would evaporate on the pavement not long after, which made the entire scene magical.