Jingshan park, north of the Forbidden City. This is looking up at the top of the hill from the north gate.
This is looking down at the Forbidden City from the top of the hill. It was a very smoggy day with some fog and clouds also.
This is one of the bigger buildings in the Forbidden City that was open on the day I went (the biggest was undergoing restoration for the Olympics).
This is a closeup of some of the statues on the corner of a building in Beihai park, just NW of the Forbidden City
Lots of crowds in the more touristy areas
More Forbidden City
Famous wall with dragons in the Forbidden City
Closeup of one of the dragons
Building and garden in the East part of the FC, which was less crowded because it cost extra to go in that part
Many of the roofs have plants growing on them. They are restoring most of the buildings for the Olympics
One of the throne rooms
The front gates of the FC, from the inside
And from the outside. This is one of the few pictures of Mao that's still around, and the most prominent
The area East of the FC is built up and somewhat similar to Japanese cities, but with much bigger hotels and less neon. This store claims to be part of the "Endless Culture Plaza"
Near the "Endless Culture Plaza," the "Artistic Mansion" shopping center includes a "Gourmet Palace" and a MCD's. Unfortunately, this shot was blurred a little by light rain on the lens
Pictures from the Lama Temple and Tiananmen Square
This is the main building in the Lama Temple, which encloses a 3-story Buddha made of a single tree (there is a sign from the Guiness Book noting this)
One of the temple buildings in the Lama Temple. The government-approved Lama supposedly lives in an area of the temple that's behind a "No Visit" sign.
Ads in the T Sq subway stop (there were also video ads in the subway tunnels as the train was moving, which I couldn't get a picture of). These are all for Shiseido, but there are many different ads in all the stations
Museums of the Revolution and Chinese History, on T Sq. The red trailer on the left is a scam where 20-something people pretend to be art students and try to pass off cheap prints as original paintings (this is common in all touristy areas of Beijing).
The Monument to the Peoples' Heroes in T Sq, with Mao's tomb in the background
The Great Hall of the People, on the west side of the square
Statue showing the People, north of Mao's tomb (reminds me of the statue of the Cubs Fans in front of Wrigley Field)
A band playing for the Flag-lowering ceremony at sunset, in front of the Great Hall
All the flags are up for the ceremony, but may have been taken down later after they kicked us out.
After the ceremony, soldiers came out and kicked all the People out of the square for a "very important event." The green uniformed soldiers kicked us out of the square itself and the surrounding side streets, then the blue uniformed police drove the crowd back a couple more blocks so we couldn't see what was going on.
The old front gate of the FC, which stands alone at the south end of the square. You can pay 20Y (about $2.50) to climb up it, but you can't go out on any balcony past the first level, so the views aren't worth it. There is a view of Mao's tomb that I took on a different day, below.
This is another closeup of some of the statues of the People in the part of T Sq south of Mao's tomb
The next set of shots are random shots of the City and the Temple of Heaven
The new Line 13 subway has fare gates with Japanese technology (just like all the trains in Tokyo)
The gates take several kinds of cards, including a small magnetic ticket about the size of a postage stamp (just like the ones in Tokyo). Unlike BART machines, these don't jam when the ticket is wet. Unfortunately, it's too dark to see the ticket in this shot.
This is one of the 10-lane expressways that crosses the city. Driving habits are similar to Boston, but with more bikes and pedestrians (going lower down in order of right of way). Cars ALWAYS have the right of way, even when running red lights
These are some of the old houses near the subway line. Most are being demolished by the Redevelopment Agency. People are being moved to high rises like the ones in the background
Historic astronomical instruments at the Old Observatory. Most are from 1500-1700
More astronomical instruments
Another area being Redeveloped, as seen from the subway
The 2 main buildings in the Temple of Heaven complex
The Temple of Heaven
Inside, details of roof
JMC, on the center stone in the Altar of Heaven. This is supposed to be the exact center of the Earth.
The Altar of Heaven. The 3 tiers represent Heaven, Earth, and Man
Further back from the Altar, showing the gates that surround it
The Old Observatory is conveniently right next to a subway stop
This is on the bridge between the 2 main buildings in the temple of Heaven
The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the main building in the Temple
Details of the ceiling inside. People can't go in, so this is a shot from the entrance
Cow statues inside the building
Details of art inside the roof of the building
Another instrument at the observatory, from when scientific instruments were beautiful as well as functional
Mao's tomb in T Sq, from the south gate (seen in the shots of T Sq above)
Mountains at Badaling pass, about 1 hr from Beijing. This is where people can climb steep sections of the Great Wall (that have been restored)
This is the view from the last (highest) end of the restored section, showing some of the unrestored rocks and gravel that's left beyond it.
This is a view of scenery from the top; unfortunately, it was especially smoggy that day
From near the top of the climb, looking down
Near the top, there is a fork to go down in several areas
Another scene looking down at various other parts of the wall (also visible in the hills in the background)
Spirit gate in the Ming Tombs, with trees growing out of the wall. This is the major above-ground building at each tomb
Tourist trap about halfway up the climb on the Great Wall
More shots along the Wall
Hillsides near the Wall, with a terrace-like appearance (previously farmed?)
Gazebo about 1/2 way up the climb, with nice fall colors in the foreground
Tons of tourists at a bottleneck near the lowest part of the climb; don't get there too late in the day!
Shot showing the bottom part of the climb, with loads of tourists up to the first bottleneck
A closer shot of the bottom part of the climb. The stairs are fairly steep
Shots of a less steep section of the Wall on the other side of the expressway
Gate at the Wall, with some of the tourist buses in the foreground
Closeup of gate at the Ming tombs
Passage from the only tomb that's been dug up to date (Ding Ling). Going down into it was fairly anticlimactic, since everything was already raided when it was dug up 50 years ago. The other 12 tombs have not been dug up
View of the tomb from the front gates. These parts were always meant to be above ground, and the last shot above is behind the top gate (the same one with trees growing out of the wall)
The next set of shots are random shots of the City taken from my bus to the airport. They aren't as interesting, but capture some of the flavor of the city
Side of street, with bikes and a pedestrian overpass
Shops along street. This was in a "normal" part of town, without really upscale or middle class stuff, but better than the shops run out of shacks near the old houses
More people on bikes. Biking is a much more risky activity due to the fact that cars have right of way over bikes and people, and there are now many more cars than bikes
Some newer buildings and a bus
Large apartment building
Bus and taxi stops
Giant inflatable kids advertising something
Signs were everywhere for an African summit that's taking place next week
More construction. The smog in this shot is typical for a sunny day; some days were much worse
More construction. I think this is a new subway line
Nice fall colors
The 13 line, the only one of the current 3 that goes above ground. The older lines still use paper tickets and are completely underground
More construction at the airport
Expressway from the airport to town. I think the trees are part of the "Great Green Wall," a bunch of trees planted north of the city to help block dust storms
Toll gate near the airport