I considered Beijing a bit different from the other big cities as regards, museums. About those we can find there, it’s rather the whole buildings and bigger objects among them than the contents behind windows as artifacts which are really important, so I’ll show you a few details of them as well as a relatively small number of exhibits.
I start with the most important Buddhist temple outside Tibet, Yong He Gong, as my favourite place, which is not so overcrowded as the ‘Forbidden City’ that everybody wants to see. The buildings are no less interesting and the artifacts on exhibition are also very beautiful. This place is very well worth the visit even with a short stay in Beijing. A remark – most of the haze often veiling the view is attributed to the smoke of the ubiquitous insence bourners.Of course, we must visit Gu Gong, the so-called “Forbidden City”, a sprawling complex, which is even then almost always crowded. One wonders how it has come about that just as much as the crowds demanded the departure and death of all the Dynasty in the first decades of the 20th century, so much do they express their awe at visiting the place from the end of the same century. A good alternative to a visit with the throngs in the hot summer is one on bright days of the winter if possible, but even then, expect big crowds at times, like this. But what we find there is worth it. If we can get to see things, that is. One must be real patient sometimes.
After those crowds, the peace and quiet of the Confutian temple could be a real refreshment. Not many of the usual stuff, the place rather has a huge collection of old carved stones and unusual black-and-white scrolls and painting form ancient times. Enjoyment is not strictly restricted to those who can read Chinese script.
Though the standing stones may stone most.
A tour of Beijing cannot be complete without a short visit to Tian Tan, the ‘Temple of Heaven’, which is, in spite of the greatness of any other place around, has become the symbol of the Northern Capital. Though I only have old photos about it, it is worth having a look at the end of this post.
Besides these places, there are lots of other good museums in this metropolis, like the science museum, the Mao Mausoleum, the Geological Museum, the National Museum of China, or the Art Museum, but I didn’t have so much time in the city, my preferences lay with those seen above. You would really have to live there to see everything.
by P. S.