Working People’s Cultural Palace and Tiananmen Square in Beijing

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Working People’s Cultural Palace and Tiananmen Square in Beijing

Imperial Ancestral Temple and Tiananmen Square were the targets that day… but not the initial targets. We’d reserved this day exclusively for visiting the Forbidden City, but what we didn’t know is that things wouldn’t go exactly as we’d planned. There was an unearthly downpour throughout the entire night prior to our visit. From our room, we could only hear the sound of the rain bouncing off the windows, so we thought that we’d see what the weather was like in the morning …

And by morning the sun shone like it had never done before throughout our entire stay in Beijing! It seemed like the rainstorm had completely cleaned up the atmosphere, and boy had it! Beijing was an entirely different and breathtaking city. Beijing is incredibly beautiful with clear skies 🙂 .

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So we had breakfast and chatted to some guests who had just arrived from Madrid, and we left our hotel for the beautiful sunshine and scenery.

And we (almost…) missed the Forbidden City in this trip

It was Sunday, and we had only that day to visit the Forbidden City (on Mondays the attraction is closed and on Tuesday we were departing to our next destination). What we didn’t realize was that it’s likely impossible to show up on a Sunday at 2pm in August and buy tickets for the Forbidden City … And so we started to lose hope a little. But, since Ruth doesn’t give up so easily, she went back to the ticket office and fortunately read the opening times. And that’s when we caught a break. The Forbidden City was open in both July and August on Mondays also! And so we got our second wind and planned a different route for the afternoon 🙂 .

Our crusade to visit the Forbidden City

And so we ended up in the Imperial Ancestral Temple or known nowadays as Working People’s Cultural Palace, whose gardens lead directly on to Tiananmen Square.

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Our visit to the Imperial Ancestral Temple

Family Travel Secret
The Imperial Ancestral Temple occupies a 190,000m² area where there are more than 700 ancient trees, amongst which are Crown Prince Woods. These are Cypress trees that were planted in a disorderly fashion by the young princes of the Ming dynasty.

 

Gardens of the Imperial Ancestral Temple

Imperial Ancestral Temple

Imperial Ancestral Temple

Imperial Ancestral Temple

Imperial Ancestral Temple

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And the place of the “Tank Man” in China… Tiananmen Square

Upon arriving at Tiananmen Square, we couldn’t help but feel a mixture of amazement and somberness. Almost everyone remembers the image of the Chinese man (also known as ‘Tank Man’) who stood defiantly in the way of a procession of tanks in the late 1980s… The military presence is remarkable…

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square

The square is immense, as is always the case in China! On one side of the square, you find the entrance to the Forbidden City and the ever-present image of Mao Zedong (or Mao Tse-tung).

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square

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The National Museum of China can be found on one side of the square. The Great Hall of the People is on the opposite side, and in the center is the Monument to the People’s Heroes.

National Museum of China

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The Mausoleum of Mao Zedong was closed, but the view from outside was impressive enough.

Mausoleum of Mao Zedong

Family Travel Secret
The Mausoleum is open from 8am-12pm and you must present a form of identification on entry (foreigners can provide their passports).

If you leave the square past the Great Hall of the People, you’ll find the China National Center for the Performing Arts. The combination of this building and the surrounding oval lake is very evocative.

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We then visited a Hutong close to our hotel to cap off the day before going to relax.

Hutong in China

Hutong in China

What a day! First losing hope on visiting the Forbidden City, to then entering into a day full of culture and history.

Ruth

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