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Nanluoguxiang - Famous Hutong in Beijing

After a stop for refreshment in Shichahai, head east on Guloudajie Road into one of Beijing's few remaining hutong neighborhoods, with narrow alleys and single story traditional courtyard houses. Hutongs once dominated the city, but in recent years many have been leveled in the name of modernization. Trishaw drivers hang around offering tours, sitting on it I fount others rent bikes to travel around. It is a better and not to mention healthier way to get pleasantly lost in the back lanes around the Drum and Bell towers. It's not hard to find one of numerous small bicycle shops nearby. If you are interested in it, just try and enjoy!

Nanluoguxiang - Famous Hutong in Beijing

If you're keen on retail therapy, one must-see hutong is Nanluoguxiang in the Gulou, or Drum and Bell Tower district, which has several kilometers of shops, galleries and cafés that range from the chic to the kitschy. You'll find lots of cool T-shirts here featuring tricked-out images of everything from Mao Zedong to garden gnomes, very interesting.

Here is a unique shop called Guo Ke. It is a popular restaurant in Nanluoguxiang. Antique signs and the small courtyard with sunny became the unique characteristics. Every detail of Guo Ke restaurant is showing the "light vicissitudes of life". The most popular snacks there are mutton pizza and flax milk tea. Every afternoon, you will find it full of consumers. Another popular store in Nanluoguxiang is "Matches Quotations". It is a unique matchbox shop. Walk into the shop, as if you were falling into a "Matchstick Paradise". The store patterns of colorful matchbox making a visual mess. In "Matches Quotations", whether it is the production or the price, a box of matches is like a work of art, from the classics to historical figures, weapons schoolmates from the Peking Opera, only ten a few square meters of cabin full of colorful boxes, the slogan printed on the great variety of matchbox full of a sense of humor.

When the weather becomes warmer, on both sides of the hutong, there are many stalls with goods spread out on the ground for sale. Here you could also see the foreigners selling goods with fluent Chinese.

My Forbidden City Tour - (3)

With this sunshine day, we had Forbidden City tour. Though have seen it in TV or some media ways, it shocked me strongly in fact. Such large squares, big courtyards and various stories, I had almost addicted into it completely. What made me so fascinated were the Exhibition Hall of Jades and Exhibition Hall of Treasures.

Schatzkammer in Forbidden City

The Exhibition Hall of Jades, located at the Zhongcui Palace in Sic Eastern Palaces, shows various jade works. Most of made in Qianlong times. Why I said that? Because Qianlong Emperor set the culture of Jade as one of the Chinese culture, much valued the collection and study of jade, just as he loved jade so much. Even he took part in the design of jade, and made strict rule for using the jade. Under his ruler, the number of jade reached the top in history of China. In his life, he wrote 800 poems to described and praise the jade. In this hall, I find that the life of emperor was so luxurious. The table ware, wine sets and tea sets are all made from first-class jade. How luxury! When they eta, what they feel about their sets? If I were there, I must have no idea about meals, just these valuable jade works. And these showed jade pendants, they are so large and thick. Why these ancient people always liked to bring them? Just because it was the symbol of identify for noble people. Besides these jade articles in daily life, I found a rare thing in other countries – Jade Ruyi. It expresses meaning of harmony and lucky. According to the tour guide, it was a tool to relieve itching in some places you cannot touch by your hands.

Exhibition in Forbidden City

After this hall of jade, the more interesting place was the Exhibition Hall of Treasures. What it displayed were the most valuable thing in that time, even some you cannot find now. Exhibition Hall of Treasures is located at Ningshou Palace in northeast of Forbidden City. Entering into this hall, you would be surprised by these shining values, most of them made from gold, silver, jade, pearl, etc. In one word, they were all made from expensive materials. What attract me were these Buddhist sculpture made from gold. They show the various shapes and sizes of Buddhists. In fact, most of them I cannot realize. But moving posture and elaborate techniques were the most fantastic places. There is a sapphire narcissus bonsai leave me deep impression. The leaves and flowers all were made from sapphire, but you cannot guess what its original material if you do not read its note. Just seemed like real narcissus flower. I cannot guess the level of carving in that time, it was so amazing.

Ru Yi in Chinese

In fact, I also wanted to visit the exhibition of wedding, but it was not opened. Though a little pity, I had received much more than any other spots. Next time, I must visit completely this huge courtyard!

My Forbidden City Tour - (2)

I had to say it was a luxury tour, because of the fact of Forbidden City. In China, people call it as Palace Museum, but I do not know why firstly. After this tour, I know the reason. Besides these palace in different sizes and effects, it show various articles for daily use made from the valuable materials such as jade, emerald, coral, gold, etc. Don't you think this was a luxury tour?

Imperial Garden in Forbidden City

According to the tour guide, the Emperor Qianlong loved the jade deeply. In his life, he wrote 800 poems to described and praise the jade. Of course, he ordered workers made different furniture, appliances and decorations from jade. Loved jade had become his special hobby in that time. Due to his hobby, the number of jade articles reached the most and the time of jade arrival at a period of prosperity in Qing dynasty. In the Exhibition of Treasures, I had enjoyed the gifts to Queen Dowager Cixi, before this tour just heard some information about Cixi. After visited these gifts, I really know the high status of Cixi in Qing Dynasty.

The life of emperors in Chinese was so luxury beyond my imagination. What they used, ate, enjoyed were the best and most valuable things in China. And they were also good at enjoying life. Imperial Garden, the garden for emperors and their wives, is the most beautiful garden with various rockeries, old trees and pavilions. Duixiu Mountain is located at the north of Imperial Garden, built in Wangli Emperor of Ming Dynasty, it was only one rockery with fountain in Forbidden City.

Besides these, the most famous palace is the Hall of Supreme Harmony. It is the supremacy palace in Forbidden City, and it also known as the Jinluan Baodian in Chinese folk. Hall of Supreme Harmony is the largest palace in Forbidden City, used for carried some grand ceremonies. At here, emperor received the respects from courtiers. The scale and regulation is the highest in Chinese ancient constructions.

After Forbidden City tour, you would know more about Forbidden City, the imperial life, history and culture of Chinese. The history it shows is rich, if you are not familiar with the Chinese history and culture, I recommend it to you, and you will find more interesting things in it. The most important is it would shock you deeply. In addition, the tour guide is essential for your Forbidden City tour to find your way in such huge complex construction and understand what you are looking.

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