Great museums of China – museums in Beijing

Beijing-yonghg004I 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.Beijing-yonghg164_6499Beijing-yonghg164_6486Beijing-yonghg165_6508Beijing-yonghg165_6509Beijing-yonghg165_6510Beijing-yonghg165_6511Beijing-yonghg165_6517Beijing-yonghg165_6502Beijing-yonghg164_6495Beijing-yonghg165_6519153_5314Of 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.

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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.

Great museums of China – Shaanxi museum, Xi’An

P1000658Much further up North from Shanghai, Xi’An is famous for the relatively newly discovered ‘Terracotta Warriors”, though they can be found well outside the city itself. I may later show a few photos of them too, but now I’d like to concentrate on the main museum of the province to be found in the centre of the city proper. This museum may be considered a bit more defined by artifacts from the province around it than in the case of Shanghai, but it doesn’t take anything away from the quality on exhibition. It should not be surprising, however, that the objects often resemble those in Shanghai very much, though a number of them are actually older.


by P. S. and S. Z.J.


Great museums of China – Shanghai city museum

107_0701In my series showing some of the great museums in China, I start with the Museum of Shanghai, which stands in the middle of the city on Renmin square. Inside, one can find artifacts spanning thousands of years, religions from the oldest Chinese beliefs through Taoism to Buddhism and religious and secular objects of minorities of China, and artifacts from calligraphy through paintings and carvings to everyday clothing and furniture. Most of the objects have been found in South-East China, but there are a lot from far inland as well. One of the best museums I’ve visited, spanning a very wide spectrum of history and geography superseding almost all else in the country. However, do not expect such a vast collection impossible to take in within a few days found in the Louvre, or the Hermitage and the like. This is not a collection of art collected or bought from all over the world, this, like other Chinese museums, contain only works of art from within China, and that also mostly from one larger region. But it is very well worth the day for a small amount as entrance fee.

Mythological figures standing alongside the entrance to the Shanghai Museum

Mythological figures standing alongside the entrance to the Shanghai Museum

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An ancient signet

An ancient signet

108_0812108_0814108_0813 108_0815 108_0816 Again mainstream ancient Chinese, but this time, jade objects. 108_0822 108_0823 108_0825 Furniture 108_0827 108_0828 108_0829 108_0830108_0832108_0833

Ancient coins

Ancient coins

by P. S.

The Great Wall (长成) at Shuiguan (水关)

This section of the Wall is less well-known among foreign visitors, yet, it’s very beautiful, well-preserved and popular among Chinese people. It is easily accessible from Beijing on the no. 919 bus or by car in the direction to Badaling. More information about accessibility and amenities can be found, among other, at this site.

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Here is a map of some sections of the Great Wall. Unfortunately, the Shuiguan section is rarely shown, just like on this one. It may still help those who would like to visit some sections.



by Z.J.S

The Great Wall (长成) in cold wintertime

These photos below are again digitalized from 10-year-old photos. There’s hardly any nature except the mountains, but the place and time of year resulted in very quiet circumstances, which are rarely seen around the Wall. I hope you’ll enjoy the photos.

The first series come from North of Beijing called Jinshanling.

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From here, we’re visiting the neighbouring Simatai section



Three Gorges of the Yangtse river, 长江三峡

Drei-Schluchten-Damm (Jangtsekiang) - Three Go...

Drei-Schluchten-Damm (Jangtsekiang) – Three Gorges dam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These below are some older slides taken before the Gorges were buried below the raised level of the river following the full installation of the great dam. But the level of the river was already above the original as the first phase of water collection was already under way. Sorry for the quality, it comes from before the age of digital photography, but I thought they are still worth publishing as they show a world that nobody could take on new cameras or iPhones.

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