Friday - Forbidden City & Summer Palace Tour
We started with a morning briefing with our Tour Manager, Scotty. Our exploration of Beijing began at Tiananmen Square, the largest public plaza in the world, built at the height of the Ming Dynasty. The square's Gate of Heavenly Peace was once used as a staging ground for imperial edicts and by Mao Zedong himself to declare the founding of the People's Republic in 1949. We entered the Forbidden City, once residence of Chinese emperors from the Ming to the Qing dynasties. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a masterpiece of Chinese architecture; its complex consists of 800 buildings with more than 9000 rooms. We stopped for lunch and visit a Pearl Shop. After, we continued outside the city to the fabled Summer Palace, former resort of the Empress Dowager. For dinner: Peking Duck with wine to celebrate our arrival in China.