Imperial Capital 北京

Empires.

You’ve read about them. Might have watched documentaries about how they rose and fell. One common thread of these huge political entities is the grandeur of their capital. And Beijing is one such example.

Not capital till the early 1400s, the city was a ‘mere’ provincial town on the northern reaches of the Chinese empire. While it was ‘capital’ of regional kingdoms and fiefdoms, it was only because of Chu-Ti’s ascension to the throne that got the city into the limelight. Not wanting to remain in Nanjing where the founder of the Ming dynasty (his father) domiciled, he preferred his own base in the north where he had previously been the feudal prince.

Thus an imperial capital was born.

And it has continued growing ever since, gaining weight (we mean size) and transforming into a city with so much to see and do. Because it is filled with such a diverse array of relics and imperial wonders. You have to know we are all privileged. During the imperial era, no commoner would easily ever set their eyes on what you now take for granted to visit and see. Unless you became either an eunuch, a soldier or a palace maid.

The city is a must to visit and we cannot profess to provide a guide. But we’ve compiled a few stories on Beijing. Starting from the cover here, we dive further sharing with you what we saw with our eyes (umm…camera). Enjoy!

Have you been to Beijing? Does it put you in awe?

Author: Mel & Suan

Mel works his day job for a living, but lives for antiquities, history and geography at all other times. He enjoys writing and thought sharing and obviously traveling. Suan is a homey person, who like girlie stuff such as cross stitching etc. Enjoys shopping & modeling for Mel. What a match!

15 thoughts on “Imperial Capital 北京”

    1. Well, depends if you are looking for culture or nature. For nature:
      – The Yunnan province is a kaleidescope of minority cultures and that of the dominant Han.
      – Zhang Jia Jie (which we journalogged).
      – And the silk road trail.
      We consider the Great (?) wall to be part of the man-made cultural aspect of China, along with the Terracotta site near Xian. And as we wrote about Beijing, definitely the palace that was forbidden…
      However, one needs to be cognizant that today domestic tourism is very very large in China. So if it is crowds that one detest, then…

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      1. Thanks, Suan. I’m never big on crowds, but I could certainly put up with them for some of the fabulous and historic sites. (I tolerate crowds at Burning Man every year, for example.) I suspect that the silk road might be more tourist free? –Curt

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        1. The Silk Road is definitely a little less crowded… well depends on what your definition of a crowd is…. 3? Anyway, out in the desert areas, not too many venture forth. But at the main sites – eg the grotto, then there you will see the crowds

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    1. Yes, this was written in some ways to contrast our first visit (1998) with that of recent years… and it has changed – the city that is.
      And the pollution continues to worsen it seems. There are so many more bad days than good, that its a near gamble to go there expecting good weather. Hope this does not discourage you to go though, for there are indeed so much to see and do in the city.

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  1. Never been to Beijing or China for the matter. But you described it so lovely. I would love to visit some day. But as I’m reading above in the comments, is it that polluted? Bucharest has also become quite polluted and crowded but not as bad.

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    1. Oh unfortunately it has been so. You might not recall it, but we wrote about being stuck in Beijing overnight on new year’s day this January because the flights were cancelled from the pollution and natural mist.

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