Philipp Neumann (Germany)
The Temple of Heaven which covers an area of 273 hectares was the place where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties would worship heaven and pray for bumper crops. Built first in 1420, the temple of heaven is the largest architecture group for war-shipping heaven in the world. In 1998 it was recognized by the UNESCO as "one of the human heritages of the world". It is situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing.
However I don't want to spent lines and lines talking about all the historical buildings and stories of the Temple of Heaven. I am sure that most of the people would get bored fast. Of course, some basic historical information is important but normally people want to read exciting and personal stories, which are about adventures and feelings. Am I right? If not, I am sorry, please surf the web for The Temple of Heaven and you will get endless results regarding historical explanations. That's why I want to describe the Temple of Heaven from another aspect.
First of all, can you imagine how huge 273 hectares are? I guess not. 273 hectares are equivalent to 258 football fields which is enormous and really difficult to imagine in my opinion. Moreover, the park is in the middle of the city! In Germany, you are not able to find something comparable, everything is smaller. For example, the total seize of Beijing is as big as one state (Baden-Wuerttemberg) in Germany, isn’t that crazy? Anyway I was really impressed by the size of the park(s) in Beijing. Due to the huge size of the park(s) they create a own world in the middle of the city. It is amazing; as soon as you are entering the park the so-often noisy, polluted and hectic environment of a huge city changes to a peaceful, relaxed and kind one. There are open spaces, old trees which - I am sure - could tell a lot of fascinating stories and creating avenues, plants and flowers which lead to a natural environment. Isn't it beautiful to walk in the avenues, being surrounded by trees and the chirp of birds who are singing in the trees? Once, a friend told me that life is a constant process of breathing in and breathing out. We are working, meeting new people and getting new impressions all the time, so we are breathing in. However, oftentimes, we forget to breathe out, to take a rest and time for ourselves. Have you ever made this experience? I experienced that kind of feeling, especially in Beijing a lot. It is really difficult to breathe out! According to the parks, they offer the chance to escape a couple hours from the real life, your work and the stressful city life with about 17.4 million citizens. You are able to breathe out!
And a lot of Chinese, especially older generations take and utilize this offer. They are spending a lot of their free time in parks, singing, dancing and getting exercises together. In most of the parks, there are fixed fitness equipment outside which can be used for free (excellent idea and funny => pictures below :)). They seem to be so happy, being full of vitality and the most important thing: They are not alone! Unfortunately I have never seen this in Germany. And I know that a lot of old people feeling alone in Germany. They would love China. I wish that we are able to adopt to some of these habits in the future in Germany.
I also can remember that I visited a courtyard with a complex of buildings in the Temple of Heaven where no single person was. I stood there in complete silence, surrounded by old trees and colorful leaves on the ground and the sun was shining on my face. More than words can say.......!
All in all that's why the parks in Beijing, as the temple of heaven are one of my favorite places in Beijing illustrating the last bastion of nature in Beijing. If you are visiting Beijing, a visit in the Temple of Heaven is a must-see and I am sure that you will recover some of my experience! Please, let me know!
By the way, as you can probably imagine the park is also commonly popular by couples due to this romantic atmosphere. Sitting on a bench under the trees, arm in arm with your girlfriend or boyfriend and enjoying the calmness and intimacy of the harmonious environment and of course each other.