I left on a Thursday and arrived late Friday night in BEIJING. I was up bright and early on Saturday and headed out to the National Museum of Art. When I arrived, the two main floors were closed for construction but there was a whole exhibit on Polish folk art, especially dance and dress. It was interesting, if not exactly what I expected my first taste of China to be.
I then caught a cab to the Forbidden City…just a few blocks away. Oops! I ran into a couple, from Chicago, and we chatted while getting our tickets. They had a tight schedule so we separated when we got inside as I was in no rush. I rented an audio headset and walked around and took in most of the buildings.
The crowds were unreal. Technically called the Palace Museum, the Forbidden City is the best preserved example of Chinese palatial architecture and some of the oldest wooden buildings in the world. Each palace had a special ceremonial use – the closer to the center, the more important. Tucked on each side of the main courtyard were sets of six smaller palaces, for the wives and concubines.
The details were incredible. Every surface was decorated or painted. It was a huge complex and had to be costly to build! Originally, gardens used to stretch all the way out current second ring road..