RUINS OF ST. PAUL
The church was built in 1602 adjoining the Jesuit College of St. Paul which was the first Western college in the Far East. The church was made of wood and it was brilliantly decorated and furnished. The facade of carved stone was built in 1620-1627 by Japanese Christian craftsmen, and it was built under the direction of Italian Jesuit Carlo Spinola.
Later, the Jesuits were expelled, and unfortunately, the college was used as an army barracks. In 1835, a fire destroyed the college and the body of the church, leaving only its very large facade and the front stairways. The surviving facade rises in 4 colonnaded tiers, and is covered with carvings and statues that illustrate the early days of the Catholic Church in Asia. There are statues of the Virgin and the Saints, symbols of the Garden of Eden and the crucifixion, and carvings of angels and the devil, a Chinese dragon and Japanese chrysanthemum, a Portuguese sailing ship, and inscriptions written in Chinese characters to warn people.
The facade seemed about to topple, but it was girded with steel, and at the back side of the ruins, a museum was built in 1995. There is a crypt that has the remains of Japanese and Vietnamese martyrs, and there is a museum of sacred art with paintings, sculptures and liturgical objects.
The facade is 27 meters tall, 23.5 meters wide and 2.7 meters thick. The top floor is a triangle lintel under a cross; in the middle of the lintel is a copper dove. The dove is surrounded by the sun, moon, and stars. There is a statue of the baby Jesus Christ with the tools that were used to nail him to the cross. The major figures portrayed in the lintel are the Virgin Mary, the Holy Father, some Holy Saints, and Jesus Christ. The middle two floors reflect missionary endeavor.
The ancient temple of Na Tcha will soon be holding a ceremony for the annual event of the year – Feast of Na Tcha. The ceremony and the worship ritual will be holding at 11 o’clock at night on 24th of June of this year. The ritual for Na Tcha celebration has a history of decades, and its activities include dramas, grabbing firecrackers, lifting the Na Tcha statue and so on. The main activity is “Procession of Prince Na Tcha the Great.” On the following day, on 25th of June, at 10 a.m., a team consisting of more than a hundred of people starts the procession from the Na Tcha Temple and proceeding to Rua de São Domingos, Rua de Cinco de Outubro, Rua dos Mercadores, Senado Square (for 30 minutes) and St. Domingos Square, before returning to the temple. Meanwhile, the other temple of Na Tcha, located near the Ruins of St. Paul, will hold a series of ritual and parade as well, but with a different schedule, to celebrate the Feast of Na Tcha . 🙂
DAY FOUR –
Hotel Kapok Beijing is a boutique hotel located near the Forbidden City. When you leave the hotel, turn left and go straight. It takes you about 10 minutes of walk to get to the East Gate of the Forbidden City. However, visitors are not allowed to get in the site through East Gate, visitors need to follow the path to the ticket office which is located at the main entrance of the Forbidden City. You will find that not only the location of the hotel is great, but the price and the service are great as well. The hotel room is very clean (really clean, I mean it), modern and comfortable. There are free drinks placed on the tea table to welcome visitors as well. Also, the staffs are quite helpful and friendly. They always wear a warm smile on the face. It cost only RMB$600.00 per night during Spring Festival.
Behind us is the east side of the Forbidden City. Walking on the sidewalk, you can see some people selling souvenirs for RMB$2.00 or $3.00.
The day that we successfully got in the Forbidden City was the 6th day of Chinese New Year. Comparing it to the day that we attempted to visit Forbidden City, at the 4th day of Chinese New Year, fewer people were queuing for tickets in that morning. So, we were able to get in easily and more quickly.
I was lucky that I was able to have a picture of myself in the frame alone without anyone joining me in the photo.
In this picture, you can see visitors were heading to the doorway to take a look at some precious items displaying inside the hall.
Behind me, it is one of the two biggest clocks displaying in the Clock and Watch Exhibition Hall. It is a Chime Clock, and it was made during the Qing Dynasty by the royal clockmakers.
Most of the watches and mocks are mostly made in Switzerland, England, France, the United States and Japan. Also, there are some Chinese made timepieces on the display. To enter the Clock and Watch Exhibition Hall, you have to pay an extra fee which cost RMB$10.00/per person.
This is the picture which was taken after we left the site and looked back at the outside wall of the Forbidden City. It was already 1 o’clock in the afternoon. We spent nearly 2 hours and half in the Forbidden City only for a rough visit. If you are a person who enjoys looking at details, the time you need for visit would be a bit longer.
This photo shows that the Samadhi Vegetarian Restaurant and Teahouse, located at the 2nd floor of Shifanghaoting, no. 16 Xinyuan Nanlu, is closed during Spring Festival. We came to the restaurant by a taxi, 20 minutes of drive, and it cost us RMB$100.00. We thought that taking a taxi would get us faster to the destination than taking a subway train, as the time required to walk to the subway station, wait for the train, change line and walk all the way to the restaurant, would at least takes 1 hour.
The restaurant is closed. We had to look for another place for lunch.
About 5 minutes of walk, we found a small restaurant serving noodles.
The closest subway station of this area is Liangmaqiao Station (subway line number 10).
We took subway train and got off at Yonghegong Station (subway line number 2), and went to the Wudaoying Hutong.
I like this place as it has more old and traditional Chinese houses.
The warm light hitting the surface of the houses made the atmosphere here more interesting and nostalgic.
I wish those flowers were fresh flowers.
I find it funny. Can you read that?
“Must Wear Defense Mask” (if you need to go inside the toilet)
This is the street which leads you to the entrance of Imperial College. We were late. It is closed when we arrived.
There is a nice vegetarian restaurant located not far away from the Chongwenmen Station. Even if you never want to be a vegetarian, the restaurant, Gongdelin, will definitely add good impressions to your trip in Beijing.
This little map shows the fastest walking route from Chongwenmen Station to Gongdelin Vegetarian Restaurant (功德林). It takes only 10 minutes of walk. Walking distance is only 500 mm.
This is Lo Han Zhai that we ordered (羅漢齋).
This is sweet and sour pork (酸甜骨).
Yam with blueberry juice (山藥配藍莓汁).
Coconut milk pumpkin cakes (椰奶南瓜糕).
It cost an average RMB$100.00 per person.
After dinner, we took subway train and got off at Qianmen Station to Da Shan Lan Street.
Da Shan Lan Street (大栅欄) is a shopping street surrounded by famous traditional Chinese stores and old buildings. I visited Da Shan Lan Street in the evening. The atmosphere created by the street lights and the surrounded old buildings is magical. Walking on the street, it is like travel back in time to the old Beijing in the period of more than three centuries ago.
You can find souvenirs here with reasonable price.
Travel Tip: By subway, go to Qianmen Station via subway line number 2 (RMB$2.00), exit C, walk to the bus parking area, then follow the sign post on the street to “大栅欄”. Located not far away from the subway station, it takes about 5 to 10 minutes of walk to the destination.
DAY FIVE –
Got up early in the morning, checked-out the hotel and walked to the nearest subway station to catch a subway train to the airport.
Travel tip: Subway line number 1, then transfer at Jianguomen Station, get off at Dongzhimen Station. After that, you can see the airport express train station to Terminal 2 and 3.
Subway train fee: RMB$2.00/per person
Airport express fee: RMB$25.00/per person
– The End –
Camera: Iphone 4S + Canon 500D
DAY THREE –
It is easy to get to Badaling Great Wall by train, but beware not to be confused Beijing North Railway Station with Beijing Railway Station shown on the subway map. Beijing North Railway Station will get you to Badaling Great Wall, but the Beijing Railway Station will not. (In the picture, it is the Beijing Railway Station)
Beijing North Railway Station is located above the Xizhimen Station (on the subway line number 2). The train ticket to Badaling cost only RMB$6.00 per person, and it takes 1 hour and 20 minutes to Badaling. Then, it takes about 10 to 15 minutes of walk to the entrance of The Great Wall. All seats are first come first served. I hope that the time you visit Badaling Great Wall could provide you soft seat tickets in the train. The period of time that I travel in the train did not provide soft seat tickets.
We were lucky in the beginning of the trip. We found empty seats in the train from Beijing North Railway Station to Badaling Station, but good luck didn’t stick with us when traveling back from Badaling to Beijing North Railway Station. All seats were taken. I saw people chose to sit on the ground, but I chose to stand in the train for more than one hour.
I forgot to tell you that there is a small food store in the railway station, where you can buy instant noodles, drinks and snacks while waiting for the train. Hot water is free and could be found at the corner outside the ladies room, which is located on the left hand side of the railway station (opposite to the food store).
Badaling Station is the final station of the train. All trains to Badaling is begins with “S2”. Also, you can get your return ticket right after you arrive at Badaling station.
We were lucky that there weren’t too many people around.
Badaling Great Wall is easy to climb. Handrails are installed inside each side of the wall, and the steps are well-paved.
I feel shaky when looking down.
You can see that there are so many steps to climb.
Lastly, I make it to “the eight tower in the north”, and after that I didn’t want to climb further up.
I wonder how it looks like when all the landscapes covered with snow.
You can choose to descend the Great Wall through the side path.
This is the side path that I am talking about.
To be continued.
Camera: Iphone 4S + Canon 500D
DAY ONE –
Wang Fu Jin Street is a shopping street with 15% old and 75% new, 8% traditional and 92% modern buildings, mixed together. I don’t feel I like this kind of mixture. If I were asked to describe the street simply in one or three words, I would say, uninteresting or out of harmony.
Travel Tip: Please consider not selecting Wang Fu Jin Street as your first place to visit in Beijing. Visit it only after visiting Da Shan Lan Street, which is located near Qianmen Station. Both of them are shopping streets, but the difference is that Da Shan Lan Street is surrounded by famous traditional Chinese stores and old buildings.
DAY TWO –
Pack of people lining up at the ticket office at the near entrance of the Forbidden City. That day was the fourth day of Chinese New Year, and the number of visitors that I saw at the place had made my desire of getting in the museum to shatter.
After taking some photos, we both decided to leave.
Following the direction shown on the website Tripadvisor, we took the subway line number 2 and got off at Yonghegong Station to look for a vegetarian restaurant.
I know that there are two vegetarian restaurants in the Yonghegong area. One is located besides the entrance of the Lama Temple (雍和宮), named Fairy Su, and the other one is located at the street opposite to the entrance of the Lama Temple, named Xu Xiang Zhai Vegetarian Restaurant.
After lunch, we walked to the Lama Temple. The most interesting thing to see in the Lama Temple is the Giant Buddha at the Ten Thousand Happiness Pavilion, which is located at the rear part of the temple. This Giant Buddha statue is 26 meters high, 8 meters in diameter, 18 meters above the ground and 8 meters underground, and it says that such huge wooden Buddha statue is rarely seen in the world.
People were praying and burning candles in the Lama Temple.
After visiting Lama Temple, we went to the Temple Fairs at Ditan Park (地壇廟會), which is a common custom during Spring Festival. It cost only RMB$10.00 to get in the park. Things to do in this place are watching folk dances and performances, tasting local snacks and shopping. It is worth a visit if you like cultural experiences.
Travel Tip: By subway, go to Yonghegong Station via subway line number 2 (RMB$2.00), follow the sign post in the subway to “地壇廟會”. Located not far away from the subway station, it takes about 10 minutes of walk to the destination.
There are at least four places to visit at the Yonghegong Station:
1. The Lama Temple (雍和宮)
2. Temple Fairs at Ditan Park (地壇廟會)
3. Imperial College (國子監)
4. Hutong (老胡同)
There are two vegetarian restaurants nearby:
1. Fairy Su Vegetarian Restaurant (next to the entrance of the Lama Temple)
2. Xu Xiang Zhai Vegetarian Restaurant (opposite to the entrance of the Lama Temple, at the Imperial College Street)
To be continued.
Camera: Iphone 4S and Canon 500D