National News Summary. Politics News Summary. Sports News Summary. World News Summary. News Tags Business News Tags. Entertainment News Tags. Health News Tags. National News Tags. During this morning we had a stop for about 20 mins and were able to get off and buy food from locals on the platform. We consequently had loaves and fishes for lunch. We shared 2 eggs, a salted smoked trout, 2 loaves of bread and some cheese.
Quite a picnic. Just before we got back on the train an old lady showed us some nicely packaged chicken and salad or beef burgers and salad in her basket. It looked OK but we already bought our lunch. Our carriage is comfortable and clean, however there are no shower facilities onboard. We each-had clean linen.
Arrived safely in Ekaterinburg after 27 hours on the train and promptly met by our guide Constantine and taken to our beautiful Hotel Checkov. As soon as we showered we went to a local ukranian restaurant with some very odd menu items including horse. Everything pretty much tasted like mutton, and Reece gamely ate the liver kebab.
Jana then explained to us the demise of the Romanoff Family tsar Nicholas and family. We also visited the museum of Ekaterinburg which houses the largest private collection of minerals and stones, plus gifts of shells and undersea animals and fossils which I found very interesting. Quick look at the shops followed by local Vodka accompanied by Russian barbecue food and a lot of laughter. Day 10 — The Ural Mountains Sunday, 19 June ekaterinburg is the industrial centre of Russia, thus the importance of rail transportation.
Population roughly 1. In previous times it manufactured all of the weapons of war here and was closed to outsiders until There are still military towns in the Ural mountains thAt are not for public access.
Today we were collected at and driven to the countryside where we had a 2km walk to an old talc mine now fooled with water. It was a birthday for one guy so we all sang happy birthday to him There was a lot of tall timber, birch and fir, and plenty of ferns, weeds, and forest flowers. We chatted briefly to a group of pushbike riders who were interested in meeting us, and we sang happy birthday to one of them. We then had a picnic lunch of bread, tomato, cheese, salami and cucumber by the lake side.
Got lost, drove too fast, and we left him trying to untangle his roof racks from an underground car park that he had taken us, and it was way too low for his car. We have seen it in several places. They are usually bright yellow, and are linked everywhere. The ground is all rock and not possible to lay the pipes under the ground. We also visited a war memorial and a small general store where we purchased some nice brown bread for the train trip. We got additional food from the supermarket next door to our hotel which is in a great location.
We are showered and packed ready to be picked up at 9pm for the next part of the journey which is three nights and 2 days on the train to Irkutsk. Our first 2 trains were upholstered, with a fold down mattress, but this one has vinyl seats, no padding to speak of, and a bed roll of possibly capok. We were given fresh linen to make our beds. We are by now quite experienced in stowing away our bags.
There is lots of storage above the doorway where most of Lisa and janes things fit, and the rest fits under the lower seats.
The carriages are a lot older than the Moscow trains, and ride quite smoothly. It is reasonably uncomfortable, but funny as well. We all had a reasonable sleep after a couple bottles of red.
There were a lot of overnight train stops, some for only 2 minutes, some for 30 minutes. There is also a restaurant car which looks to be ok, and Shortly after leaving the station a lady walked through selling meat dumplings, and boiled eggs then later came through the carriage with a wheeled cart selling drinks and snacks.
That was around 10am local time, and then at about 2pm we stopped in Omsk. It is a huge city on a very large river, with many many cranes on the river bank. Rail and rivers are very important here, and i counted roughly 20 cranes on one side of the river. We could also see lots of very large smokestacks, and there are power kinds all over the country just from what we can see from the train.
The train station was large with a few kiosks and around people getting on and off various trains. Most of these country centres are dilapidated and unkempt. The roads are poorly maintained, fences left to fall down, tripping hazards on the footpaths and so on.
The countryside has continued to be green and lush, not many animals, and plenty of stands of silver birch trees. The small country villages are every few kilometers and unfortunately they look like something out of a poverty stricken country. Elderly folk are mainly left in these towns with little money, and grow all of their vegetables in a limited season due to the cold and snow. The houses are mostly unpainted pine or cedar and ramshackle with bits and pieces added on and falling apart.
Rooves are tin and asbestos. Nearer to the larger cities are proper made roads, bridges, and huge blocks of apartment buildings, bigger than I have seen anywhere. Railway yards are busy busy busy with long trains around 70 carriages full of coal, fuel, scoria, train tracks.
Today we saw some very old motor bikes from the 50s with sidecars I would say, tried to get a quick photo but a bit far away. Well by today with three days and no shower, there are some carriages that absolutely stink to walk past. On each of the carriages similar to ours we have 8 x 4 berth rooms with a large samovar continually boiling water which is handy for tea, coffee, noodles and soup.
Also good for hot water to sponge wash as there are no showers. Each carriage has 2 stainless steel toilets-one at each end. Ours are smelly. There are 2 attendants in our carriage that take shifts. A lady from early am to night and then a man swaps with her. The lady speaks no English and does no work.
When the man is on he seems to clean the toilets. Actually the lady did do some work today. She threw open our door early this morning and vacuumed our floor while we were all asleep. The other girls got yelled at for using another carriage toilet by another attendant. We thought we would go to the dining car and play cards and got told to go away. We went up to one of the cattle class carriages where there was an Aussie, 3 Russian girls, and 2 Russian guys that could speak English.
The girls were on their way to a retreat for the mind. The Aussie guy was returning to Australia after traveling the world surfing for three and a half years and will make it home by Christmas. The cattle class cabin is in 9 open sections, each section with 9 bunks which are 3 high. It was very very cosy and would have been dreadful. No privacy and nowhere to out your stuff. There were all ages and types in there.
The group we chatted to were friendly and shared some nice Russian ravioli with us which was filled with egg and potato. Thayer wanted us to try some weird tea they were all sharing around with a wooden straw ro suck on but I declined. We passed the evening away playing cards and getting on and off the train to buy bits of food. Potato dumplings, and lots of other home cooked food. Ay way we are on the home run and get into bed for our arrival in irkutsk. It was nice to get off the train, an irkutsk although a large city, the further away from Moscow, the less groomed towns seem to be.
The roads are definitely in need of repair. Our driver also not that good, but our guide for the day Katya was lovely. They served us porridge with butter. Katy a walked us about a km to the information museum on the lake, one of the better local museums we have visited.
They have a lot of the lake species in An aquarium there including seals, sturgeon fish, omul fish and crustaceans. It was very interesting. We then walked up to a high hilltop to see the view over the lake. The lookout was an old hotel built in soviet times for tourists. It was still a working hotel but extremely run down. We then walked from one end of the town to the other. We visited an orthodox church and a car museum, and wakked around the back streets of the town which was really good.
There are a few cows and goats here. The town is 7 km long built between high mountains and the waters edge, and I think we did about 4 kms each way at this point. There is a fishing fleet here, tourist boats, a few tourist markets, and lots of fruit and fish markets stalls. The fish is usually smoked or salted. We stayed in the main part of town for our dinner, and had barbequed skewers outside overlooking the beach area where a few game people would venture up to their ankles as the water is so cold.
We were exhausted after the walk home as we covered quite a few kms overall today after getting straight off the train. We walked about m to the local ferry and went to the other side of the lake, at this point only about 3km wide I would think as it only took 15 min. The lake is incredibly clear with 40 m visibility, and in the winter when it first freezes over you can clearly see into the depths of the lake. Once off the ferry we walked around the lakes edge along an old railway line at a quick walk for one hour.
Sacha our guide built a little fire over which he grilled us some of the local fish and served it with bread, tomato, cucumber, cheese, and 2 bottles of Russian wine which was all really nice. We sat on a clearing full of wildflowers with butterflies of about 5 different types flying around us. There were horse flies also but he had some good repellant for that. It was a very pleasant few hours spent there.
On the walk home about one third of the way we went to a rocky beach. Dacha built a small fire and boiled a large Billy of water from the lake and we had cups of Billy tea with buns and chocolate. While waiting for the water to boil we all tried getting into the lake with our trousers rolled up. It was so cold Jane said her legs feet were aching but everyone elses just felt numb. We caught the ferry back and got a taxi into town.
One of the big hotels there has access to wireless Internet so we sat in there having coffee using the Internet for a while to see what was happening at home.
W walked further along the beach then and sat in a beach hut with kebabs for dinner again. It was really nice. We all got a bit of sunburn today. The whole trip although some days had rain, has-been t shirt weather.
The air around the lake can be quite icy early morning and evening. The days are longer here but we are still only getting about 4 or 5 hours of darkness I think. We played a few hands of before bed. Closed on Mondays. Toggle navigation MENU. Let's Plan Your Trip. Forbidden City As the seat of power for hundreds of years, Beijing is full of examples of imperial extravagance and architectural design.
Forbidden City Virtual Tour The full version of this virtual tour consists of 14 scenes with much higher resolution. Tourist Map of Forbidden City. Customize a tour that includes a visit to this attraction. Inquiry Form Let's get started! Fill out this form so we can start helping you plan your adventure in China. Start date and city. Anything else you think we should know? Forbidden City. North of the Gate of Supreme Harmony lies the Outer Court, heart of the Forbidden City, where the three main administration halls stand atop a three-tiered marble terrace overlooking an immense plaza.
The area encompasses some seven acres three hectares —enough space to admit tens of thousands of subjects to pay homage to the emperor. Towering above the space stands the Hall of Supreme Harmony , in which the throne of the emperor stands. This hall, measuring by feet 64 by 37 metres , is the largest single building in the compound, as well as one of the tallest being approximately the same height as the Wu Gate. It was the centre of the imperial court.
To the north, on the same triple terrace, stand the Hall of Central or Complete Harmony Zhonghedian and the Hall of Preserving Harmony Baohedian , also loci of government functions. Farther north lies the Inner Court, which contains the three halls that composed the imperial living quarters. Adjacent to these palaces, at the northernmost limit of the Forbidden City, is the 3-acre 1.
The garden was designed as a place of relaxation for the emperor, with a fanciful arrangement of trees, fish ponds, flower beds, and sculpture. Although some of the ancient buildings which had been repaired and rebuilt since the 15th century were lost to the ravages of the revolution and during the war with Japan —45 , the site was maintained as a whole. Puyi , the last Qing emperor, was permitted to live there after his abdication, but he secretly left the palace and Beijing in From the reign of the Yongzheng Emperor, the Empress moved out of the Palace.
However, two rooms in the Palace of Earthly Harmony were retained for use on the Emperor's wedding night. Between these two palaces is the Hall of Union , which is square in shape with a pyramidal roof.
Stored here are the 25 Imperial Seals of the Qing dynasty, as well as other ceremonial items. Behind these three halls lies the Imperial Garden M. Relatively small, and compact in design, the garden nevertheless contains several elaborate landscaping features. Directly to the west is the Hall of Mental Cultivation N. Originally a minor palace, this became the de facto residence and office of the Emperor starting from Yongzheng.
In the last decades of the Qing dynasty, empresses dowager, including Cixi, held court from the eastern partition of the hall. Located around the Hall of Mental Cultivation are the offices of the Grand Council and other key government bodies. It mirrors the set-up of the Forbidden City proper and features an "outer court", an "inner court", and gardens and temples. These palaces were the residences of the imperial consorts.
Six Palaces lay to the West and six to the East of the three main halls, hence the name. The architecture of the 12 Palaces, connected by passageways, is more or less the same. The Western and Eastern Palaces each have a layout of three palaces on either side of an alley that runs from north to south. Every Palace has its own courtyards, main halls, and side-halls. The main halls stand in the middle and the side-halls are in the east and west.
The front courtyard and its main hall was used for receptions, while the back courtyard and its main hall served as living quarters. A consort with the rank of Concubine and above was given a residence in the main sections of a Palace and was the manager of that Palace, an honor in itself. Lower ranking consorts Noble Ladies and below lived in the side-hall of the Palaces and were supervised by the higher ranking consort. The 12 Palaces were the place where many of the Qing emperors were born and grew up, and they formed the daily life of the imperial family.
The palaces were the residences of widowed consorts of previous emperors. In accordance with feudal manners, emperors should not live with the wives of late emperors, so they lived in this separate area of the Inner Court. The Cining palace is bigger and older than Shoukang Palace which is located to the west of Cining Palace.
To the south of Cining Palace is Cining garden. Religion was an important part of life for the imperial court. At the same time, the native Chinese Taoist religion continued to have an important role throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties. There were two Taoist shrines, one in the imperial garden and another in the central area of the Inner Court. Another prevalent form of religion in the Qing dynasty palace was Buddhism. A number of temples and shrines were scattered throughout the Inner Court, including that of Tibetan Buddhism or Lamaism.
Buddhist iconography also proliferated in the interior decorations of many buildings. It housed a large number of Buddhist statues, icons, and mandalas , placed in ritualistic arrangements.
The Forbidden City is surrounded on three sides by imperial gardens. To the north is Jingshan Park , also known as Prospect Hill, an artificial hill created from the soil excavated to build the moat and from nearby lakes. To the west lies Zhongnanhai , a former royal garden centred on two connected lakes, which now serves as the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China and the State Council of the People's Republic of China.
To the north-west lies Beihai Park , also centred on a lake connected to the southern two, and a popular royal park. To the south, two nearly identical gatehouses stand along the main axis. While development is now tightly controlled in the vicinity of the Forbidden City, throughout the past century uncontrolled and sometimes politically motivated demolition and reconstruction has changed the character of the areas surrounding the Forbidden City.
Since , the Beijing municipal government has worked to evict governmental and military institutions occupying some historical buildings, and has established a park around the remaining parts of the Imperial City wall. In , an ordinance relating to building height and planning restriction was renewed to establish the Imperial City area and the northern city area as a buffer zone for the Forbidden City. The design of the Forbidden City, from its overall layout to the smallest detail, was meticulously planned to reflect philosophical and religious principles, and above all to symbolize the majesty of Imperial power.
Some noted examples of symbolic designs include:. The collections of the Palace Museum are based on the Qing imperial collection, including paintings, ceramics, seals, steles, sculptures, inscribed wares, bronze wares, enamel objects, etc. According to latest audit, it has 1,, pieces of art. In addition, the imperial libraries housed a large collection of rare books and historical documents, including government documents of the Ming and Qing dynasties, which has since been transferred to the First Historical Archives.
From , the threat of Japanese invasion forced the evacuation of the most important parts of the Museum's collection. However, with the Communists ' victory imminent in the Chinese Civil War, the Nationalist government decided to ship the pick of this collection to Taiwan. Of the 13, boxes of evacuated artefacts, 2, boxes are now housed in the National Palace Museum in Taipei.
More than 8, boxes were returned to Beijing, but 2, boxes remain today in storage under the charge of the Nanjing Museum. The Palace Museum holds , pieces of ceramics and porcelain.
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