Monday, July 22, 2013


Temple of Heaven Park (天坛公园) is by far my favorite imperial monument in the immediate city of Beijing.  Granted, I haven't had a chance to scope out the Forbidden City/Palace Museum (let's blame it on work), but this enormous park and its buildings are breathtaking.  The walkways are wide and cement-paved, but there are also packed dirt trails that weave between junipers and cypress trees that are hundreds of years old.  Amidst the clamoring tourists, clicks of Chinese checkers being moved across playing boards, spontaneous chorales of hymns, there are even chattering birds and gentle zitar music, resonating between the trees.  Chinese parks as a public space are utilized so well, between visitors, strollers, activity-doers, photo-takers, and sleepers.     
 The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿) is the iconic image for the park, with its three-tiered gables and circular construction.  The emperor would go here to, well, pray for a good harvest for China.  The number nine is present in most of the construction as it is a sacred symbol for the 9th level of heaven.

 Apparently if you stand in the center of the Circular Mound and speak, your voice will echo and resonate for eternity.  As you can see, I wasn't quite able to squeeze myself in.  No worries though, most of you can hear my voice within a good 100 meter range!

And this is what I do when I'm not at work ;).  I begrudgingly refused to move for a solid half an hour to sketch this out, which allowed me to truly see the monument and understand its magnificence.  Straight lines and proper angles still escape me.
If I could come here everyday, I would.

Listening: My roommates watching The Walking Dead in the background!

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