Friday, January 30, 2009

The Forbidden City

After the visit to the People's Hall, our next destination was just within walking distance, which was the famed Forbidden City. When I was young, I thought that Forbidden City was really forbidden to all, and I was always curious why there were movies filmed in Forbidden City if it was forbidden. Silly ignorant girl huh?

The afternoon turned out to be a windy one, which was not good news! The temperature was already 0C, add in the wind factor, it was chilling to the max. I was having trouble feeling my feet and fingers at one point. Look at this picture taken at the entrance to the Forbidden City, the sun was shining directly at my face so I had to squint. Even though the sun was direct, it was still freezingly cold. Oh thankfully the sun there did not burn my skin or make my skin dark. :)

Posing at the entrance

Just to prove that the temperature was indeed 0C or less, here is the picture of the river which was frozen! One could literally walk on the river but it would be very slippery.

Frozen river

Entering the Forbidden city brought me back to memories of watching period shows with the Imperial palace as the set. The unmistakable building came into sight that it was so surreal experiencing it.

Forbidden city

To be frank, there were so many similar looking buildings in the Forbidden City that I could not differentiate them. This definitely has got to do with the fact that I don't read Chinese. The good news is, I managed to learn a few extra words of Chinese after my trip to Beijing, just like the name of this building below. :)

Tai He Men

And who's to argue the grandeur of this pair of big red Chinese doors? Made me look like a dwarf standing next to it.

Big red door

Since it was winter, there were not that many visitors to the Forbidden City.


Look at the long staircase one has to climb to go up. I wonder whether the emperor had to walk up the stairs himself or whether he was carried up.


See this big bronze-gold pot situated outside the building? That was actually a fire-fighting equipment in the good old days. It functioned to store water used to douse fire. During winter, the pot would be warmed with burning wood underneath, just to prevent the water from freezing.

Fire-fighting equipment

Here is another building in the Forbidden City.

Another building

And as usual, it came with a throne.


Angry beast in gold

There were also plenty of gazebos scattered around the garden, just like the one below. I believe this would be the place where the concubines spent most of their time in eh?


According to Liew, this long path is a famous set in movies.

Famous long path

There was another building within the Forbidden City where they displayed the treasures from the days of yore. We had to pay another 10 or 20 yuan for entrance.

Treasures, clockwise from top left: Jade bracelet, diamond earrings, Emperor's crown, jade thumb ring

After the visit, we spent most of our time camwhoring around the area, because Liew was a photography fan. The pictures below were taken by him and his trusty FinePix S5.

witch and mom

I like this picture a lot. It has the charm of an old building with shadows and sunlight all in one.

Old and peeling wall



resting at the gazebo


By the time we left the Forbidden City, it was already almost 3pm, and it was freezing cold. I still remember my feet and fingers were all numb at this point of time and I could drink hot boiling water without any problems. My next destination was the famous Zar Jiang noodles from Beijing. Yum!


foongpc said...

Wow! So cold even the sun does not help! Nice photos of the Forbidden City. I like the big red door and the very interesting giant pot for fighting fire : )

meifong said...

Jar Ziang as in the original Chinese version of the Koreanized Jajangmyun that the Koreans love so much?

iamthewitch said...

foongpc: Thank you! I love the big red door too. Very grand. :)

meifong: Hmm interesting, I'm not too sure about the Korean noodles...