Monday, February 18, 2013

Climbing Coal Hill

As if the pollution from the coal consumption here is not enough, last Saturday we climbed up the "famous" Coal Hill to get a view of the Forbidden City. The hill is located in Jingshan Park, just north of the Forbidden City itself. Coal Hill (or actually meishan in Chinese) was constructed from the soil excavated for the construction of the moat around the Forbidden City and other canals. It was then landscaped into a lovely area for imperial recreation.

Conveniently, the presence of the hill to the north of the Forbidden City (which is where the emperor lived) drastically improved the feng shui of the emperor's palace location, as it is considered favorable to have a residence south of a nearby hill (I learned all this from Wikipedia).

(Incidentally, not everyone was fully content while living in the Forbidden City, despite the excellent feng shui. Again according to Wikipedia, the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, emperor Chongzhen, committed suicide by hanging himself in the Coal Hill parks in 1644.)

View from Coal Hill. You can see the outer wall of the Forbidden City and the roofs of the many buildings (for sleeping, living, governing, and ceremonies) inside.

Jingshan park has lots of little temples and pavilions.

Buddha overlooking the Forbidden City.

Mr. S.

Did I mention these bring good luck? (It seems luck does grow on trees!)

More good luck charms and the bell tower of one of the temples.

There's always a game going on in the park.

Buddha world.

S. and T.

Guys playing a game of Chinese chess. (I bet they just call it "chess"!)

From another exit we go through a hutong to go back to the car.


Simon in a contemplative moment.

In het Nederlands: Zondag brachten we een bezoekje aan Jingshan Park, een parkje net ten noorden van de Verboden Stad met prachtig uitzicht over het complex waar de keizer vroeger woonde. Het park is vol met tempeltjes, paviljoentjes en kaart- of schaak-spelende mensen.

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