Friday, June 8, 2012

The best views in Beijing...

Can be had from the top of Coal Hill in Jingshan Park.

View of Shichahai
View to the Drum Tower
Jingshan Park also happens to be my favorite spot in Beijing.  Go on Sunday.  Scattered throughout the park you’ll find groups of residents singing and dancing, and in May it’s filled with peonies.  It’s also right behind the Forbidden City, so the perfect way to escape the tourist crowds and crazy traffic. 

Back gate of the Forbidden City

The park has a sad and macabre piece of history to it as well, and a plaque marks the spot where Chongzhen, the last emperor of the Ming dynasty, hanged himself from a tree.  He left behind this note attached to his robe:   

I, feeble and of small virtue, have offended against Heaven; the rebels have seized my capital because my ministers deceived me. Ashamed to face my ancestors, I die. Removing my imperial cap and with my hair disheveled about my face, I leave to the rebels the dismemberment of my body. Let them not harm my people! 

Better to just keep walking past the "Guilty Chinese Scholar Tree" and instead enjoy the views, the peonies, and the music. 

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