I’ve had a luxurious two months off from teaching, which gave me plenty of time to travel around China and other parts of Asia before the spring semester starts. After two weeks of IST (In Service Training) back in Chengdu, I flew off for the first leg of my trip: Beijing! I’ll be splitting the trip into two posts- the first will be about the city’s history and sites.
Beijing is the former capital of the final two dynasties of China – the Ming and Qing dynasties, respectively. For this reason some of the most lavish palaces, temples, and imperial parks in all of China can be found in central Beijing. The city has succumbed to the country’s real estate boom however (in addition to grievous damage from the cultural revolution decades before), and many of the centuries old alley way homes – hutongs – have been ripped up to make room for glossy million USD high rise condos (more on this in post #2). Still, a lot of historical sites remain in excellent condition; here are some highlights: