Beijing Hutongs,  Yonghegong Temple,
& Forbidden City

Hutongs are traditional Beijing narrow alleys with houses along the sides.  
Here is a view down on some hutong houses from a temple.

The door to a hutong from a major shopping street - it's easy to not even notice these doorways 
that open into mini-neighborhoods and entire worlds behind the walls.

Houses along a hutong.  Space is precious so things are often stored outside.

A bit nicer home with old red doors.

And in-house bathrooms are not that common, so communal toilets are an important fixture

Bejing is trying to improve the hutong areas, such that several I walked through were undergoing major upgrades to the roads and other infrastructure. 

But even a traditional Chinese hutong cannot escape the clutches of Coca-Cola.

Old man on street - not sure his role, but he just sat in the middle of the sidewalk of a busy street, people-watching

Yonghegong Temple - a famous Beijing Buddhist temple - so popular the buses won't all fit in the parking lot, so some just stick in part way.

Buses parked inside the gates - throngs of Chinese tourists are here

Said tourists, all with pink hats to organize them

Now the temple itself, with a pretty roof line

Main worship building

Side building

Roof detail

Rotating prayer disk (I think) - you walk by and spin it

Monks going to prayer through the courtyard

Up close

Main prayer hall, with smoke and tourists; monks are inside

Monks-in-training hanging out before prayers inside the temple


Monk hard at work, with his manuscripts & books

I dropped by the Forbidden City for a few minutes, as one does when in Beijing - the most famous view below.

Mao's portrait on Forbidden City gate at night 

Endless corridors - these side doors open on to more of these that stretch for hundreds of yards, and all look the same !

Pretty pavilion

My main mission was to find and photograph the Starbucks in the Forbidden City.  After asking several people, 
I found it here, inside this building, with the sign removed to reduce the offense of having an 
American coffee company at the revered symbol of Beijing and China.

Old Cyprus trees are held in high esteem & protected

And some quick images of Tiananmen Square - the world's largest public space at almost 5 million square feet (a half-mile long and a third of a mile wide)
This is the south gate.

The other side of the south gate

A corner tower

One of the Chinese government's main buildings on Tiananmen Square, which functions almost like the Mall in Washington DC