Great Wall at Mutianyu – Beijing, China
Originally constructed in the 6thcentury and rebuilt in its current form in the 16th century, the Great Wall at Mutianyu is one of the best-preserved sections of the Wall. Built mainly with granite, and about 25 feet high, the Mutianyu section has unique design elements including densely placed watchtowers, and crenels (openings, such as in this image) on both sides of the wall used to engage the enemy. The Great Wall is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the most popular tourist spots in Beijing.
Temple of Heaven Chengzhen Gate – Beijing China
Originally constructed during the Ming Dynasty in 1420, the Temple of Heaven was a sacrificial temple used by emperors during Ming and Qing dynasties to appease the heavens, bring prosperity to the empire and ensure good crops for the coming year. This photo is a close up of the massive doors at the Chengzhen Gate which open onto the Danbi Bridge (or Sacred Way) the emperors used to walk to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests.
Blue Eave-End Tiles – Beijing China
An eave-end tile is the first in a row of curved rectangular overlapping tiles that cover the roofs of traditional Chinese buildings. Its structural function is to prevent the roof tiles from falling off the roof, but these are also an important decorative component of traditional Chinese architecture. These eave-end tiles found at the Temple of Heaven are a rare cobalt blue color symbolizing heaven, and are decorated with an imperial dragon design reserved for the emperor.
Imperial Roof Decoration – Forbidden City, Beijing, China
Chinese imperial roof decorations or "crouching beasts" were statuettes placed along the ridge line of official buildings of the Chinese empire. The procession included an imperial dragon, an odd number of mythical beasts, and a man riding a phoenix, and was intended to drive away demons and indicate the importance of the building based on the number of beasts in the procession. This imperial roof decoration was typical of the buildings in the Forbidden City palace complex in Beijing.
Yangshuo Rooftops – Xingping, Guangxi, China
Yangshuo, a county and resort town in southern China’s Guangxi region, is known for its dramatic karst mountain landscape and outdoor recreation. Xingping is an ancient fishing village in Yangshuo county with many well-preserved residences and buildings dating back to the Qing and Ming dynasties, with features such as the black tile roofs and flying eaves shown in this photo.
Beijing Hutong - Beijing, China
For thousands of years, the traditional extended family residence throughout much of China was based on a square courtyard surrounded by four buildings. Neighborhoods of these courtyard homes were connected by narrow alleys, with the term “Hutong” referring to the alleys as well as the neighborhood. Most of Beijing’s old Hutongs have disappeared, replaced by high rise apartments and wide streets, but some remaining Hutongs have been designated as protected areas, offering a glimpse of life in the capital city as it has been for generations.
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