Saturday, April 6, 2013

Beijing: Sanlitun Village (三里屯VILLAGE) and Temple of Heaven (天坛)

I was in Beijing for 3 weeks. The first weekend, I went to Sanlitun Village and the Temple of Heaven. Beijing has 6 ring roads (the locals said that people learning to drive usually drive round and round on the 5th ring road as practice - it's really long!) and Sanlitun Village is within the 3rd. It's a glitzy shopping centre that is built to resemble hutong (narrow Beijing alleys) and many glamorous and rich young people go there. I spotted so many tall and leggy modelly types there!
The Temple of Heaven is a World Heritage site and was a place for the emperor to pray for good harvests. The grounds are huge and before entering the site, there's a huge park for which you can pay a minimal entrance fee. A lot of locals gather for activities, such as play musical instruments, chess, etc. Anyone can just join in. 
This old grandfather was really funny. He balanced a mineral bottle of water on his head and if you look closely, you'll realise that there's a fish inside!
This is the main temple building. 
It's a place where animals are sacrificed to pray for a good harvest. 
It was really cold (late winter) and this couple was taking wedding photos. The bride was in a tube dress. :O
This is a really long road. Apparently there are 3 lines - one is for the emperor, one for his servants, and the last is for the Heavenly Emperor (a.k.a. God). 
We tried the echo wall but it didn't seem to work. I think we didn't face north. 
This is a 'stage' where the emperor stands to speak. It's circular and if you stand in the middle and speak, your voice is supposed to be amplified.
There are lots of old trees, hundreds of years old. They're really beautiful and it looks very peaceful. 
I liked Beijing a lot because it has lots of old historical places. I find it quite amazing! That's because in Singapore, everything is new. If I'm not wrong, our history is less than a hundred years old, but in China, it goes way back! I mean, it's where all Chinese come from. So awesome. 

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