Here are photos from my 2001 visit to China. They were taken on film (likely Fuji 200 or 400) but unfortunately the original film is lost, so these are scans of printed photos.
I think it’s interesting to look at these photos now and compare to more recent one. China has changed significantly since 2001 in many ways, but in other ways it has stayed the same. Areas like the Forbidden City still remain the same (they are >2000 years old after all) but cities like Shanghai and Beijing are very different now.
First up, the colourful Ming Tombs in Beijing.
Forbidden City, Beijing
The Forbidden City, Forbidden Palace or “Zijin Cheng” – the home of ancient Chinese Emperors and the centre of Chinese politics from the 1400’s onwards. The forbidden city is a 3,153 x 2,407 ft (961 x 753m) rectangle containing around 1000 buildings. The “city” is entirely surrounded by a 26ft (8m) high wall built for defensive purposes, and the city itself was surrounded by a larger enclosed area called the Imperial City. This is then surrounded by another, larger, enclosed area, ensuring maximum protection for the heart of the leadership. The building shown below is the Hall of Supreme Harmony – one of three throne rooms where the Emperor would sit. The large open squares were for large ceremonies and demonstrations.
The Summer Palace, Beijing.
Temple of Heaven, Beijing.
The infamous Tianamen Square.
Markets in Chonquing, with birds for sale. Many people in China, particularly the elderly, enjoy keeping birds as pets. They may even take their birds for a “walk” to the park in the morning. Many elderly people in China enjoy going to their local park to practise Tai Chi in the morning, and they will take their birds with them. They then hang their bird cages up on tree branches so that they can socialise with other birds!
Lots of exciting spices for sale in Chonquing Market
Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China, built along the historical Northern borders of China to protect from invading tribes and nomads. The first piece of “wall” was built an incredible 2700 years ago and it has grown over the years. Todays wall is actually the conjoining of many separate pieces of wall, built at different times throughout history. However, the final continuous length of wall is now a staggering 5500 miles (8851km). By my calculation, if the wall was straight it would wrap more one third of the way around the world. Let’s put it in perspective – to drive that long would take over 4 days at 60mph, or it would take 9 hours to fly that distance. Absolutely amazing.
The Guezzera Dam
Shots from Old Shanghai.
An attractive Starbucks coffee shop!
Three Gorges Dam, China
Construction site of the enormous Three Gorges Dam. These photos were taken in 2001 while the dam was still under construction. The dam was eventually completed in 2008 but it will not reach full power generation capacity until May 2012! This is the largest dam in the world, designed to supply China’s growing energy demands. However, the building of the dam was extremely controversial as it caused widespread environmental damage through flooding, landslides and displacement of wildlife, as well as over a million people who had to be re-homed. That said, it is an incredible feat of engineering, and I’m even more amazed to find out that China are going to build another FOUR of these dams which will more than triple the power output of the Three Gorges Dam!
The peaceful city of Tongli, nicknamed “Venice of the East” because of their extensive canal systems. Tongli is said to be a much more traditional Chinese City, with a much more relaxed pace of life than Shanghai or Beijing.
Xi’an City, China
Xi’an City Walls. Xi’an is one of the oldest and most important cities in China, and one of the most popular with tourists. It is the home of the famous teracotta warriors, as well the burial mounds and mausoleums of many Emperors. It is a fascinating mix of ancient history, along with modern development and living standards.
Yangtze River, China
Some shots from along the Yangtze River itself.
Yueyuang Tower in Yueyuang City.
Canals in Zouzhuang, another very beautiful, traditional city like Tongli.