The China of yesterday is one of the oldest civilizations known to man. In this land once ruled by Emperors, architectural remains tell the story of how people lived and worked. Located on the eastern part of Asia, the land covers 3.7 million square miles and one-fifth of the world’s population.
In the cities, family apartments and office buildings compete for land space and high-rise structures often reach 50 floors.
With more people owning cars, city streets are congested and filled with bicycles, taxis and tour buses. Yet, in the older areas of the cities and especially on the small rural farms, life continues as it has for generations.
Beijing, The Capital City
We begin our visit in Beijing, one of the six ancient capital cities of China.
Occupying an area of 720,000 square meters stands the Forbidden City as commoners were forbidden entry for over 500 years. With construction beginning in 1406, the site boasts a history of 600 years. It is here that 24 emperors ruled China for nearly five centuries.
Traveling by rickshaw is a common site through the “Hutongs” or the old town of Beijing. Strong young men ride bicycles on which a covered bench is attached. Due to the narrow streets in the Hutongs, rickshaws are the best means of transportation.