The echo wall 回音壁 (1315)
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The echo wall 回音壁 (1315)

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A: Triple Sound Stone 三音石 (1309)

Dxinwei作, ここから30メートル

三音石:      皇穹宇殿前甬路从北面数,前三块石板即为“三音石”。当站在第一块石板上击一下掌,只能听到一声回音;当站在第二块石板上击一下掌就可以听见两声回音;当站在第三块石板上击一下掌便听到连续不断...

Triple Sound Stone 三音石 (1309)

B: Beijing UNESCO World Heritage Temple of Heaven——The Imperial Vault of Heaven

yunzen liu作, ここから30メートル

The Temple of Heaven, literally the Altar of Heaven, is a complex of Taoist buildings situated in sou...

Beijing UNESCO World Heritage Temple of Heaven——The Imperial Vault of Heaven

C: The imperial Vault of Heaven-2008

jacky cheng作, ここから40メートル

Temple of Heaven (The imperial Vault of Heaven) :“The imperial Vault of Heaven " located at the Templ...

The imperial Vault of Heaven-2008

D: The Circular Mound Altar Cheng-zhen door 成贞门 (1249)

Dxinwei作, ここから40メートル

成贞门:      1、天坛内坛由丹陛桥连接南北两端的圜丘坛和祈谷坛,内坛东西向有一道墙将祈谷坛和圜丘坛分成南北两部分,这道墙在丹陛桥的轴线上有座门就是成贞门。      2、天坛圜丘的四周有垣墙,垣墙...

The Circular Mound Altar Cheng-zhen door 成贞门 (1249)

E: Imperial Vault of Heaven 皇穹宇 (1303)

Dxinwei作, ここから50メートル

皇穹宇院落:      皇穹宇院落位于圜丘坛外壝北侧,坐北朝南,圆形围墙,南面设三座琉璃门,主要建筑有皇穹宇和东西配殿,是供奉圜丘坛祭祀神位的场所。皇穹宇由环转16根柱子支撑,外层八根檐柱,中间八根金柱...

Imperial Vault of Heaven 皇穹宇 (1303)

F: Dan-Bi Bridge 海墁大道 (1237)

Dxinwei作, ここから80メートル

海墁大道:      丹陛桥也叫海墁大道。始建于明永乐十八年(1420年),是一座巨大漫长的砖石平台,因其下面有两孔涵洞而称桥。      1976年丹陛桥改建时,桥面城砖被拆除,代之以水泥方砖。200...

Dan-Bi Bridge 海墁大道 (1237)

G: The Circular Mound Altar-North Lingxing Gate 北棂星门 (1321)

Dxinwei作, ここから110メートル

圜丘坛:      圜丘坛是一座三层的圆坛。圆坛四周有内、外两层壝墙,壝墙上铺以蓝色琉璃瓦。双重壝墙内圆外方,象征天圆地方。东、南、西、北四个方向的正位各开有一座棂星门。      圜丘坛三层四出陛,通...

The Circular Mound Altar-North Lingxing Gate 北棂星门 (1321)

H: Temple of Heaven 天坛 (1291)

Dxinwei作, ここから150メートル

天坛:      天坛位于北京市崇文区在永定门内大街路东。原是明清两代皇帝祭祀皇天上帝的场所,始建于明永乐十八年(1420年),以后经过不断改扩建,至清乾隆年间最终形成。天坛占地273万平方米,1918...

Temple of Heaven  天坛 (1291)

I: Red Stairway Bridge 丹陛桥 (1231)

Dxinwei作, ここから160メートル

丹陛桥:      丹陛桥也称海墁大道,为天坛内坛的主轴线,是连接祈年殿和皇穹宇的南北大道,长360米、宽29.4米的砖石平台。“丹”意为红,“陛”原指宫殿前的台阶。一条笔直坦荡的大道之所以又称“丹陛桥...

Red Stairway Bridge 丹陛桥 (1231)

J: Temple of Heaven-Circular Mound Altar-2008

jacky cheng作, ここから180メートル

(Temple of Heaven-Circular Mound Altar)The Temple of Heaven round said that round Taiwan, offers a sa...

Temple of Heaven-Circular Mound Altar-2008



Overview and History

In the Stone Age, "Peking Man" lived near Beijing -- as many as 500,000 years ago. The earliest relics in China are stone tools dating to this time period. Between four and five thousand years ago there were agricultural settlements southwest of Beijing. They were the beginning of a city that would go through several name changes over the millenia.

The legendary Yellow Emperor Huang Di battled Chiyou "in the wilderness of the Zhou prefecture." Zhoulu is a town to the west of modern Beijing. The Yellow Emperor's successor, Emperor Yao, established a capital city called Youdo. Youdo became a place called Ji, and Ji was taken over by the Marquis of Yan during the period of the Warring States (475 B.C.)

Ji remained an important city for ten centuries. From China's first feudal empire through to the end of the Tang Dynasty, Ji was a strategic military center in the campaign to unite all of China.

By the end of the Tang Dynasty in 907 A.D., the Qidan army came from the north and occupied Ji. They called it Nanjing, which meant "southern capital." During this time the Liao Dynasty ruled and carried out many reconstruction projects in the city, fortifying it for greater military use.

The Nuzhen army conquered the Liao and established the Jin dynasty as of 1115 A.D., moving the city of Ji and renaming it "Zhongdu" which means "Central Capital." This meant more expansion and construction of palaces until the city spanned five kilometers across and contained an estimated one million people.

Mongolian raiders invaded Zhongdu in 1215 A.D. and renamed it Dadu. Under Kublai Khan the Yuan Dynasty took Dadu as its capital and unified China!

Since Zhongdu had been destroyed by fire in the change from Jin to Yuan dynasties, Kublai Khan took on a reconstruction project that was to expand the city into rectangular shape. It became the political center of the country with three main areas -- imperial palaces, the city walls, and the canal.

By the coming of the thirteenth century, Dadu was a world famous city which astounded Marco Polo when he arrived. In his record he writes, "You must know that it is the greatest palace that ever was..."

In 1368 Ming soldiers captured Dadu and renamed it Beiping or "Northern Peace." It went through another period of reconstruction which saw walls twelve meters high built around its perimeter, walls ten meters thick which took fifteen years to build. When they were done, Beiping became the official capital of the Ming Dynasty. With the completion of the palaces and gardens in 1420, Emperor Yongle renamed the city Beijing, "Northern Capital."

Beijing grew once more and took on a rectangular shape with two distinct sections, the Inner City (Tartar) and the Outer City (Chinese). Its city planners gave it an organized arrangement that still felt relaxed.

The Qing Dynasty came along circa 1644 A.D. and the Manchus built extended suburban gardens. These took more than a whole century to make, but when they were finished the open-air pavilions and palaces stood as a masterpiece of Chinese architecture. This was proper to show the power and refinement of traditional China, a fitting design for the capital of the empire.

The Qing Dynasty lasted until 1911 but collapsed into chaos at the hands of the Northern Warlords. Beijing suffered a lack of leadership until 1949, when the People's Liberation Army entered the city. From Tian'anmen Square in the center of the city, Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the foundation of the People's Republic of China, with Beijing as its capital.

Since then it has continued to expand, surpassing the nine gates of the inner city wall, beyond the seven outer gates, and into the suburbs. Beijing now takes up 750 square kilometers! The city retains its old symmetry with a central axis that runs north-south, and the Imperial Palace Museum at the center. This palace was once called the "Forbidden City" but it is now a museum open to the public.

Getting There

The Beijing Capital International Airport is located 25km northeast of the city. It is the center of China's civil aviation network and it connects to 69 cities worldwide. The airport is linked to the city by bus, taxi and Beijing Subway Airport Line.

The city government operates one bus line and private buses go and come from several hotels. The taxi stand is outside the terminal, as always, so don't ride with the drivers who harass you inside the terminal. A ride to the city center should cost about 70 RMB plus 15 RMB highway toll. You should also know that there's an airport tax of 90 RMB for international travelers. Keep your receipt!


Within the city you can choose from 67,000 GPS-equipped taxis, the bus or the metro. Half of their buses are running on natural gas now, which is a good move considering the city is adding fifty new bus routes per year. Whoa!

The metro has two routes, the Loop Line and Line One. The Loop has sixteen stations and it runs parallel to where the city wall stood in the Ming era. Line One has twenty-one stops going from the suburbs on one side all the way across to the other side. It is safe to assume that there will be more metro lines to follow as Beijing grows.

People and Culture

One of the unique sights in Beijing is a park filled with retired people doing their exercises early in the morning. Tai ch'i, QiGong, sword dancing and shadow boxing are forms of exercise and relaxation which have existed for more than two thousand years and are still popular today.

Drinking tea in a teahouse and enjoying a folk opera in an old-style theater are both popular activities in Beijing culture. Beijing has more bars and pubs than any other Chinese city (more than 400), and it's also full of antique shops, silk markets and museums.

Things to do, Recommendations

Beijing is massive and filled with interesting things to explore. For just a few examples, take a look at these:

The National Stadium (bird's nest), the Water Cube, and ruins of the Yuan Dynasty city wall.

If you like art, you have to check out the 798 Art District. It's named for Factory #798 and the district contains hundreds of galleries, bookstores and restaurants. Have fun!

Text by Steve Smith.