Another interesting adventure was planned. Beijing Ancient Observatory! It looks fascinating. It was built in 1442 during the Ming Dynasty, standing now as one of the oldest observatories in the world.
We planned it all out, hopped on the subway and away we went. After we arrived to the area it was a real quick walk to the observatory. And there is was rising tall above us all. It was ancient as amazing to see. As we started to walk our way into the observatory a guy grabbed Jennifer’s arm to get her attention. He started saying something motioning no, we couldn’t go in there. We tried to communicate whether it was the stairs to the top observatory area or if it was the inside. He lead us over to the ticket book. A lady answered and thankfully she spoke English. She said that the observatory was closed due to the governmental summit that was happening. It would be shut down until March 19th. I think this is the same reason other places we have gone to were closed. So now what? We are in a part of town we know really nothing about. Well, let’s try and make the most of it and see what else there might be.
There we stood in the parking lot with our phones out trying to see if Apple Maps would give us any areas of interest nearby. Nope. Hmm. Well, lets just look at the map ourselves. As we are standing there being crazy tourists, we were being watched by three guys. They were chatting but keeping an eye on us. I knew something had to be going on inside the observatory since when I took pictures I was hollered at. Not sure what they said but I stopped. As we were looking at the map I happen to see a car behind us parked. Empty of course, but on the top of the hood it had the Presidental Seal. Some US delegate must be here I am assuming. No wonder they are keeping an eye on us. Probably a meeting of many officials I would guess. Well, back to the map. We noticed a park called Ming Dynasty Wall Relics Park. It was about 20 minutes away, so lets give it a try!
It was a nice walk. We passed by smaller parks but finally found the place we were looking for. It ended up being far more amazing than we even thought it would be. The first thing we noticed was a tall building, temple like roof, but different. It was a building built upon a really high ancient brick wall. As we continued to walk toward that area, we came across a section of a park that had many people gathered and mingling. All around were blossoming trees. People all over we taking pictures of the blooms. It was fun to watch. The fragance was amazing and the new buds and flowers just brought life to the place. It was the season of the Plum Blossom Festival. We just wandered and enjoyed the variety, colors, and stopped to smell the blossoms. They were just at their beginning of their gloriousness and a joy to see.
After seeing a huge sign celebrating the year of the pig, we wandered inside the building. It cost about $1.50 to enter. Boy, am I glad we did. This is where be began to understand the history of the place. The Beijing Ming City Wall Ruins Park is a park in Beijing with the longest and best preserved section of the city’s Ming Dynasty inner city wall. It was built during the reign of the Ming Emperor Jiajing (1521-1566). This area we are at is remaining southeast corner of this wall.
Once in the building area we climbed up these steep stairs which led us to roof, tower area. You could just feel history jumping off the of the brick stones. What happened here? Why did it feel like so much history took place here? While on top we were able to go inside the tower area of the wall. The first floor was a plum blossom exhibit. There were amazing blossoming trees throughout along with paintings. Photographers were everywhere taking photos. As we climbed to the second story, we could see that it was a small museum dedicated to the history of this place. I wish I could explain the history but there is really no way to since I couldn’t grasp it all. It was a history of the last 600 years! The area was full of dioramas, photos, weapons and even a support beam that was full of bullet holes from the Eight Power Allied Forces. It gave you a better understanding of the significance of this place. It was part of the inner wall protecting the emperor. There were even 144 window openings for the archers in defense. Everywhere you looked, you were looking at history.
After we left the tower we continued to walk along the wall. The history of this area is just amazing. You could see the incredible vantage point of this wall and how it was a mighty protective force. As we walked the flags were flying, historical relics where present, it was just breathtaking. One section of the wall it had graffiti present. Carved deep into a brick area were the words, USA December 1900. I guess this was left behind by a soldier after the Eight-Power Allied Forces had entered during the Boxer Rebellion. Fascinating stuff!
Once we finished this tour, we walked the park again this time further down the wall area. The blossoms were amazing! People everywhere taking photos of them. Then we came across this elegant ladies dressed in traditional gowns and the photographers were everywhere taking their photos. It was a site to see!
Truly it was a wonderful day! For it not being what we had intended it to be, the change of plans allowed us to see a part of China we never would have! Change isn’t always bad!