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Beijing sure has changed since I visited seven years ago. Between the celebration for the 50th anniversary of the PRC and the Olympic bid, much of the city has been renovated and modernized. These days, the city does not seem much different from any other modern city in the world. The convenience and cleanliness is nice, but it has come at the cost of the city's character and uniqueness. Of course, the major historical sights are still in the city and wonderful to explore.

Tiananmen, the Gate of Heavenly Peace, across the square

Emperor's throne on display in the Forbidden City - most relics were removed and are on display in Taiwan

One of the less crowded corridors in the Forbidden City

Mythical lion sculpture guarding the Forbidden City

Porous limestone rocks which have formed naturally into twisted sculptures were popular for imperial decor

A major feature at the Temple of Heaven, the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests was constructed entirely out of wood in 1420.

Temple in the huge Summer Palace compound, constructed for the Empress Dowager Cixi in 1888

The famed "long corridor" at the Summer Palace goes on for more than 700 meters and is painted with mythical scenes

The Great Wall, winding into the mist. It was difficult to imagine the tremendous work that transporting the materials and building the wall must have required.

Beautiful river view in one of the old city neighborhoods

We participated in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony

Our group also attended a Peking Opera performance

Copyright 2001 - Ann Mei Chang