Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tiananmen Square and Great Wall

I was in China a couple of weeks ago. Over the weekend we took in the sights at Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall at Badaling.

The CPPCC and the NPC were meeting in Beijing in the Great Hall of the People shown here. Security was especially tight at Tiananmen Square.

Links --->  CPPCC        NPC

Nobody in power wants a monk from Tibet setting themselves on fire  in such an iconic place - especially during the meetings. 

This guy is some sort of special forces or SWAT team member. Notice the fire extinguisher. All the security people seem to have them within easy reach.

Any bags you have must go through an X-ray machine and everyone is nominally screened with a wand. 

My observation was the westerners are generally waived right through security - at least middle aged men are. I did see them confiscating lighters from some young Chinese men.

The general theme of the CPPCC meeting seems to be "We're all one big happy family." judging by the English coverage in the China Daily News.

The Chinese have gone high tech for the Tiananmen displays. In the past I've seen big elaborate displays constructed sort of like billboards with big flower displays, etc. This seems to be a more permanent LED type sign with an ever changing display.

We walked on around the square. This is Qianmen gate at the south end of the square.

Learn more here Qianmen

This is one of two statues outside Mao's mausoleum.

Click to enlarge any of the pictures.

This marker is just outside the Qianmen gate. It is the zero point for all highways in China.

I guess there has to be some starting point and it reinforces the point that everything in China revolves around Beijing.

It was pretty cool and windy this day. The upside of that is nice blue skys.

The building in the background is the National Museum which recently reopened after a major refurbishment.

It is worth a visit.

Again another juxtaposition of the capitalistic entrepreneurs of China against the meeting hall of the Chinese Communist Party.

Here is Tiananmen or Gate of Heavenly Peace through which one passes to enter the Forbidden City.

On Sunday we went to the Great Wall at Badaling.

Badaling is the iconic location that gets the most visitors. All the heads of state, movie stars, etc. visit here.

Actually this isn't Badaling. I took this picture from the train on the way to Badaling. This is the Juyongguan section.

Here is a picture of the north section of the Badaling from the 4th tower of the south section.

We intended to go up the cable car to the top of the north section but we messed up and ended going to south section.

It was a pretty good walk up to this area - at least for me - I need to get in better shape.

Here's another view of the wall.

It was a pretty nice day. It was below freezing when we arrived but the sun made it bearable.

It was windy. I didn't have a hat when I arrived so I bought a "Great Wall" stocking cap when I arrived.

Everyone was greeted (maybe assaulted would be more accurate) by vendors selling hats, gloves, etc when we stepped off the train.

The 50 RMB hat turns into 10 RMB if you take a few steps away from the train before you start to negotiate.

I zoomed in on this one to show the people arriving at the north eighth tower on the cable car. You can't see the car but you can see one of the towers on the lower left of the photo.

The good thing about going the wrong way is we had the south section practically to ourselves.

Just a few people on the south section.

A view of part of the north section from a watchtower on the south section.

Did I mention it was windy.

This is the north section from the base area where the souvenir shops, restaurants, etc are located.

The train is a great way to get there. Tickets were 6 RMB each way - that's about a dollar. Train was comfortable and clean. Get to the station a little early to be sure and get a ticket. They don't sell tickets in advance. You get to see a slice of the entire spectrum of Chinese life from the train. The big buildings of the city to rural areas and everything in between.


  1. Nice pics and commentary, Margo and Tom!

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I appreciate when people take a moment to comment.