1 My first stop in Beijing was the Temple of Heaven built from 1406 to 1420. The temple was used by emperors annually to pray for good harvest.
2 The top of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is absolutely stunning. The building is completely wooden and surprisingly, constructed without nails.
3 The Long Corridor at the Summer Palace features more than 14,000 brilliantly colored and finely detailed paintings and is more than 2,000-feet long.
4 A view up of the wooden ceiling construction of the Long Corridor. The vivid blue colors are absolutely beautiful.
5 UNESCO declared the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List. Many Beijing residents use the park for recreation, such as exercise and group gatherings.
6 Located in the middle of Beijing is the Forbidden City, which was the imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty. It was built from 1406 to 1420 and covers 7,800,000 square feet.
7 As I entered The Forbidden City, I couldn't help but observe the amazing architectural features. The colors and patterns are stunning.
8 A beautiful resting stop with little koi fish swimming below.
9 The throne of The Hall of Preserving Harmony was used for rehearsing ceremonies, and was the site for the final stage of the imperial examination.
10 I was amazed at the expansive square that leads to another Hall.
11 A view of The Forbidden City from Tianamen Square - This square is the second largest city square in the world, after the
Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad, Iran.
12 And a view of the Forbidden City from Jingshan Park, a 150-foot artificial hill formed during the Yongle era of the Ming Dynasty from soil dug when the palace moats were formed.
13 Onto the Great Wall of China, which stretches over 5,500 miles. It was built to protect China's borders against various nomadic groups. This section of the Great Wall is about an hour drive from Beijing.
14 There are two ways of reaching the reconstructed Great Wall. One side has steps that are gradual. The other side has a very steep incline with very steep steps. I chose that one and it was very, very scary.
15 I made it through one section of the Great Wall, but it was rather exhausting. I decided that I had seen enough.
16 We also visited the Olympic Site. The Water Cube and the Bird's Nest are my favorite venues there.
17 Wangfujing is a popular pedestrian shopping mall. There is a side street where you can eat scorpions and starfish. I decided to pass on this snack.
18 This is a vendor on the streets of Chengde, a city about 4 hours from Beijing.
19 An unusual fruit
20 Putuo Zongcheng Temple is a UNESCO Heritage Site. The temple was built between 1767 and 1771 and modeled after the Tibetan Potala Palace in Lhasa.
21 This gate to the temple is known as the Five Pagodas Gate.
22 Steps leading to the Main Hall
23 Colorful flags hang inside the building where theatre performances take place.
24 The flags were so beautiful when looking up at the sky.
25 Amazing hand-painted tiles adorn one of the numerous rooms inside the temple.
26 Chengde Mountain Resort had very beautiful towers. When you reach the top of this one, you must walk around it several times for good fortune.
27 Good fortune also comes from turning this water wheel, like these army cadets.
28 A serene landscape