It is not necessary to be an astronaut to visit another planet; spaceship may be forgotten as well. There are some places on the Earth which produce impression that you have committed interspatial travel and found yourself in the completely different world. One of these places I want to tell you about is Peking. China is a strange country from the European point of view, but Peking presents the climax point of its strangeness and uniqueness.
The first thing you see after landing in the airport of Peking is the sun. It is overwhelmingly bright and shining. It seems that Peking is situated closer to this sizzling star than all the other parts of the planet. The second impression you receive after arrival – Peking is huge. But due to the excellent work of the transportation system this hugeness does not present any problem to the travelers as well as to the local people. There are electronic boards everywhere, which inform on the traffic jams, the public transport is very cheap and the subway system is quite simple and provided with names of places in English. The only disadvantage is that the subway is often overcrowded. There are even special workers who cram people into the carriages.
The layout of Peking reveals the principle of Cosmic Order – the city has clear symmetry and practically ideal square form; the streets are oriented according to the parts of the world. The heart of Peking is the Imperial Palace which is situated in the Forbidden Town. For a long time this place was closed fore the visitors but now you can take your chance and feel the greatness of this composition. According to the idea of its creators people should feel insignificant and vulnerable in this place and due to the vastness of squires and openness of space (there s not a single tree) you really feel like an ant. The thresholds of buildings are too high and it is done with purpose. While making effort to enter the house you should leave all your negative thoughts outside.
Among the sights you are bound to visit in Peking is the Temple of Heaven which is nowadays turned into museum. Afterwards, to feel the atmosphere of the Chinese everyday life you may walk along the hutongs – narrow streets with one-storied houses standing close to each other. You can throw a quick glance inside and see the beauty and simplicity of life of the Chinese.
In the art-block 798 you can see strange and conceptual works of Chinese art. I am sure you will be impressed by the stature of Mao Zedong without head and legs which is a brave concept in the communist country, or a pregnant Statue of Liberty. The Pace Gallery also has something to surprise you. The works of the famous artist, Ai Weiwei, are exhibited there. One of his most interesting works is called “The Seeds of Sunflower” and presents 100, 000, 000 seeds made by hand of the porcelain and painted by 1,600 Chinese workers.
Peking, like a real strange planet, requires much time, effort and interest to be explored. Only for those who will strive to understand this city it will reveal its essence.