Our China Tour in 2006

Gene and Norma Maas

Friday, April 21 Beijing

We signed up for the optional morning tour to see the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. The Temple of Heaven was also built in 1420 to offer sacrifices to heaven and for a successful harvest. It is situated in the middle of a 670 acre park about 2 miles south of the Imperial Palace. One of the stellar structures is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, which has triple eaves covered with gorgeous glazed blue tiles. The Hall has been destroyed several times and was last rebuilt in 1890. The entire wooden structure is built without nails, cement or steel rods and is held together by wooden mortise and wooden brackets. We didnít get a close-up look but spent most of our time watching local citizens, mostly retired people, involved in various kinds of exercise activities, including tai chi, gongfu, dancing, badminton, ribbon twirling, etc. Many others were playing Mahjong, a popular game in China.

From there we traveled out to the Summer Palace on Kunming Lake about 10 miles northwest of the city center. This was a summer retreat for the imperial family during the late Qing Dynasty and is now Chinaís largest and best preserved royal garden. The 12-sq mile complex includes many pavilions, temples, palaces and halls in a landscape of hills. Our tour included a scenic boat ride around the lake but it was an overcast and dreary day not conducive for taking pictures.






Gene Maas
5 Jun 2006



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