day 14

my apologies for the delay in posting...things have picked up quite a bit at work and I haven't had anything too interesting to post about.

 detail from the gates of the Temple of Earth

detail from the gates of the Temple of Earth

 

today though was a different story.  the morning was spent touring a few spots in the city center.  both very interesting visually, so I'll be splitting this post up over two days.

 

Spent part of the morning at The Temple of Earth.  Here's a brief description of the place from Wikipedia: 

The Temple of Earth (also referred to as the Ditan Park) was constructed in 1530 by Emperor Jia Jing during the Ming Dynasty. The park covers a 40 hectares space outside of Beijing's second ring road. This places the park in the middle of a heavily populated area. The park features lush gardens and tree lined paths. During the Cultural Revolution of China, the temple was damaged; however, the site has been restored and renovated since then.

For thousands of years, the Chinese have believed that important cosmic things could be symbolized using common shapes and directions. Because the Temple symbolizes the Earth, its footprint is square in shape. The square is a powerful symbol in Chinese culture and mythology which can mean Earth or the ground. The Temple's construction mirrors these beliefs with its many square walls and altars. The Temple of Earth is also located in the north of Beijing, north being the direction associated with the Earth. In contrast to this, the much larger Temple of Heaven is circular in shape, symbolizing the heavens and sky, and is located in the south of Beijing. These two temples, along with the Temples of the Moon and Sun (located in the west and east, respectively), interact with each other in spiritually important ways. The Chinese government has listed the Earth temple as one of the most important historical monuments under special preservation.

(wish I'd read this before we visited!)

 only the emperor would come inside those gates

only the emperor would come inside those gates

 roof line of the Temple of the Earth

roof line of the Temple of the Earth

 prayers left by other visitors

prayers left by other visitors

 some bells inside the temple

some bells inside the temple

 there were two of these little guys.  they stand at the base of of the rack of bells (see previous photo)

there were two of these little guys.  they stand at the base of of the rack of bells (see previous photo)

 a man hole cover....well, I thought it was cool.

a man hole cover....well, I thought it was cool.

we next headed over to see the Bell and Drum Towers.  ...thing is, we didn't realize that they would be closed and that the courtyard between the two buildings would be a major construction zone....that they just let random people wander through!!  I think I actually stepped in some wet cement (no joke).  this was adjacent to a hutong...provided some "local color" anyway....

 oh, no problem...we'll just traipse right through this...

oh, no problem...we'll just traipse right through this...

 i thought the graffiti was pretty cool....

i thought the graffiti was pretty cool....

 i did manage to snag a shot of the Bell Tower anyway....

i did manage to snag a shot of the Bell Tower anyway....

 ...and these beautiful door pulls at the gate

...and these beautiful door pulls at the gate

we wandered through the outskirts of the hutong on the way back to the car...again, a little more local color:

 what the...?!?!?!  what kind of store is that?!?!

what the...?!?!?!  what kind of store is that?!?!

and then when we got back to the office, there were these guys just lounging around....had me missing Buddy and Hazel today...