September - December 2011
BEIJING – the un-forbidden city
Forbidden City-Zijn Cheng - the symbol of Beijing. The largest and one of the greatest palace complexes in the world. Built by order of the Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty between 1406-1420, it became the headquarters of another 24 emperors. Forbidden for ordinary people for centuries, it has only in recent decades opened its doors, just like Beijing and China, to both its citizens and foreigners. The scale of the project amazes - millions of workers, convicts and conscripts supported by 100,000 craftsmen, created wooden constructions of 9,000 jian, i.e. the palace chambers, with openwork finishes. They were built to cover an area of 70 ha, in perfect harmony according to the principles of geomancy. The Forbidden City leads to the Heavenly Peace Gate - Tiananmen, from which in 1949 the "25th emperor" chairman of the Communist Party Mao Zedong proclaimed the creation of the People's Republic of China with a shout of ecstasy of the crowd gathered in the Heavenly Peace Gate Square in front of him. After 40 years, the square replied with a shout of a forbidden rebellion.
Around the Forbidden City palace, another city was established during Mao's rule - a city of Hutongs, a city of proletarians. Today it has become another forbidden city. Forbidden by the expansion of business, that builds its own palaces replacing the city of Hutongs. Only small areas of hutongs - non-banned cities - were preserved as a tourist attraction.
To the south of the Forbidden City is the Temple of Heaven - Tiantan, symbolizing the unification of heaven and earth. It used to be the center of the Middle Kingdom and the whole world. Until 1912, it was also banned for the ordinary people. The temple area was sacred, only emperors, also called sons of heaven, could enter
here to talk to the heavens and pray for good harvest. Currently, the park surrounding the temple has become the favorite place of relaxation for Beijing residents. On the outskirts of the metropolis there is the Summer Palace full of finesse and freshness - Yihe Yuan. It was a retreat for the rulers of the empire on hot summer days. Restored with a flourish by the empress widow Cixi, since 1924 it has become a public park.
In Beijing, the old is intertwined with the new, the tradition is intertwined with the technologies of the 21st century, the old ideals are intertwined with the new ones.
The great event, which was the 2008 Olympic Games, largely refers to the Chinese opera performance, diverse in content, cultivating tradition, full of multiple forms of communication.
Beijing - a world metropolis - full of great monuments and modernity, full of its citizens and newcomers from all around the world who keep discovering it, full of new opportunities and new ideas, hopefully it will become a fully non-forbidden city.