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China and Mongolia Land of Dynasties


Beijing Ming City Wall Ruins Park

In   the   park   is   the   longest   remaining   section   of   the   inner   city   wall   which   was   built   in   1419   There is   a   1.5   km   (0.93   m)   section   of   the   Ming   city   wall   and   the   Southeast   Corner   Tower,   which   are over   550   years   old.   It   is   surrounded   by   green   park   space   with   the   main   railway   line   running along   one   side.   The   Ming   city   walls   stood   for   nearly   550   years   until   the   early   1960s   when   most of   the   gates   and   walls   were   torn   down   to   build   the   Beijing   Subway,   which   runs   underneath where the walls stood. Such a shame to tear down the old city walls. The   corner   tower   houses   the   Red   Gate   Gallery   which   is   well   worth   a   visit.   There   is   a   fee   to climb up onto the ramparts and visit the Corner Tower.

Yong he gong Temple

Translated   as   the   Palace   of   Peace   and   Harmony   it   is   also   known   as   the   Lama   Temple.   Built during   the   Quin   Dynasty   it   was   originally   the   official   residence   for   court   eunuchs.   It   was   then converted   into   the   residence   of   Prince   Yong   and   when   he   ascended   the   throne   as   the   Yong - zheng   Emperor   in   1722,   half   of   the   building   was   converted   into   a   lamasery   (a   monastery)   for monks   of   Tibetan   Buddhism.   The   other   half   remained   an   imperial   palace   until   his   death.   It   is now a temple and monastery of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. The   very   interesting   building   and   artwork   of   the   temple   is   a   combination   of   Han   Chinese   and Tibetan styles. It is well worth a visit.

Beijing Postcards 


Beijing   Postcards   have   formed   friendships   with   several   of   the   older   generation   who   live   in   the hutongs   in   the   Dashilan   district   and   have   created   personalised   books   for   a   few   of   these people to tell the story of their lives. We   were   treated   to   a   private   talk   by   Lars   Thom   on   the   history   and   people   of   Liulichang   and Dashilan followed by a walking tour of the hutongs to meet some of the older generation. We   met   with   a   wonderful   old   man,   Mr   Hu,   who   used   to   employ   800   people   making   brushes. His   company   was   taken   by   the   government   and   he,   alone,   now   makes   brushes   as   he   is   the only   person   who   knows   all   of   the   200   processes.   His   son   is   not   interested   to   learn   the   trade   so the old man will be the last with the skill. We   met   with   a   muslim   lady,   Miss   Wang,   whose   family   have   lived   in   the   same   street   for   21   gen - erations.   They   owned   a   pharmacy   business   before   it   was   taken   by   the   government.   They produced   a   medical   treatment   for   which   they   still   hold   the   patent.   They   have   managed   to   get their house back from the government. We   also   heard   the   story   of   Mr   Shi   who   was   a   Policeman.   During   the   1958   Great   Leap   Forward campaign   by   the   Communist   party   he   completed   a   feedback   survey   and,   for   speaking   the truth,   he   was   put   in   prison   for   3   years   then   7   years   hard   labour   before   spending   the   next   10 years under house arrest. Beijing   Postcards   are   interested   in   modern   Chinese   history,   with   an   emphasis   on   the   Dash - ilan   district   in   Beijing.   They   collect   maps,   prints   and   photographs   and   use   the   materials   to produce postcards, limited edition calendars, reproduction photos and bags.