A visit to Beijing

It was a great experience for me to be in Beijing for a week. Actually, I went to attend the Asian Semantic Web Conference (ASWC) 2006, venue Tsinghua university. I presented my paper in a workshop.
I had few days to go around Beijing, a really big place. Anyway I managed to go to few important places.
I went to the Tian’anmen square – a very big area. At the center is a marble monument to the people’s heroes in the revolution. Hundred of students died in the square.
On the South is the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall. The preserved embalmed body or Mao Zedong lies in the hall. Unfortunately, it was closed on the day I visited 😦
On the West side of the square is the Great Hall of People where chairman Mao made his declaration. On the east is the National Museum of China. In front of the museum stands a huge board showing the countdown for Beijing 2008 Olympics – it said 704 days left!
On the north, across the road, is the famous Tian’anmen gate. Above the entrance there is a huge picture of Mao Zedong. Another big gate is inside and it leads to the big gate of the Forbidden city. I had to buy ticket to enter the Forbidden city (Palace museum). Marvelous place with many chinese palaces, halls, gates, temples and other monuments and beautiful gardens. It is a huge area exhibiting many many things. It is easy to get lost inside, and the provided map is also in Chinese 😛
Another achievement was climbing the Great Wall of China. I went with a Chinese tour group leaded by a Chinese guide, explaining everything in Chinese. I went to the Badaling part of the Great Wall. It takes about 3 hours from downtown Beijing. The great is really great. It is so long that you can see as far as your sight goes. Its amazing how such a long enormous structure was built over high hills during those days. Few parts of the great are very steep and difficult to climb. Moreover the steps are quite big. I can proudly say I have climbed the Great wall 🙂
On our way back the tour group also took us to the famous Ming Tombs, tombs of the Ming dynasty. We also went to a really big cave inside a hill. There were a lot of chinese statues inside – gods, warriors, long bearded old mens and more. It was bit annoying that the tour group also took us to many shops and industries (like gem industry, fruits, sweets shops, traditional chinese medicine center, etc) for commercial promotion.
I also visited the Summer Palace covering really a very big area. Many many marvelous buildings, gates, temples, etc of Chinese architecture. There are hills and palaces on top. There is a very big lake and an island in the center connected by a long long bridge. It really takes a lot of energy to walk around all the places inside. I could not manage to walk everywhere.
I went up the CCTV tower and viewed Beijing from the open observatory at the top. However, I could not see far clearly due to the foggy weather. But I can say Beijing is full of high rise buildings as far as you can see. The roads are also very broad. We can see Beijing is a very developed city.
I did not miss the Wang Fu Jing Street – a long enjoyable walking street. There are big shopping complexes to many small shopping stalls. It is well lighted in the evening and entertainment programs are staged.
Being in Beijing was a great experience and will be very memorable in my life.

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