Empress Dowager Cixi, a Notorious Lady in China

Usually, when we refer to the empress dowager Cixi, we tend to compare her to wu zetian of the tang dynasty (618-907). To be sure, the two powerful women do have a lot in common: they both served under three emperors, became their husbands and sons, and each had real imperial power for nearly half a century. But the difference lies in that Wu Zetian ascended the throne by herself, and her reign was regarded as an indispensable link between li shimin’s zhenguan and li longji’s kaiyuan prosperity. Cixi’s reign was considered the weakest of the qing dynasty. As a result, she has been considered a notorious woman and even betrayed her country.

The empress dowager Cixi was one of the few women in the imperial era of Chinese history who had long been in power and who had been able to manage the balance of power between close courtiers to maintain their absolute authority.

When Cixi was in power, the centralized power of the qing court and the Chinese sovereignty were faced with various threats from internal and foreign countries. From the standpoint of defending the authority of the qing empire and its own power, her measures were not successful, but in the context of history, most of them were reasonable.

In terms of personality, Cixi’s methods of seizing power from the palace struggle were cruel. Died in 1861, heshen in jehol summer resort, queen had become Ye He the Laplace, Wilson of joint (such as the royal clan coup from royal far the happy prince to carry through huawei first prince, zheng end, actual to minister lu su shun hand eight ministers group, as the core of life won the regime, and three of them (walls, end China, lu su shun) to be put to death. In order to establish and maintain her dictatorial power, empress dowager Cixi showed little mercy on her political opponents, even controlling her son tongzhi and his successor guangxu.

Emperor Guangxu, Whose Life Was Full of Tragic Elements

Emperor guangxu was born on August 14, 1871, as aisin gioro zaitian, the seventh son of emperor daoguang. In 1874, emperor tongzhi died of illness. Since the empress dowager cixi had no heir to the throne, the machiavellian empress dowager chose zaitian (cixi’s mother was cixi’s sister) to continue her reign. In 1887, emperor guangxu was inaugurated. However, real power remained in the hands of cixi, who continued to rule behind the scenes for two years. From the beginning of guangxu’s accession to the throne, he was destined to be manipulated by his adoptive mother, cixi.

During the reign of emperor guangxu, the two most notable events were the Anti-Japanese War and the 1898 reform. In the war of resistance against Japanese aggression, he resolutely opposed compromise and repeatedly forced the qing army to fight with the Japanese. However, he was overwhelmed by the weak and corrupt qing government, which was defeated in the sino-japanese war. After learning a painful lesson, emperor guangxu began to think about the reform to adjust the imperial order and prevent the decline of the whole country.

In 1898, together with a group of reform advocates, he promulgated the state policy and began the reform. Unfortunately, this fierce reform movement lasted only 103 days and was strangled by rival parties that staged a coup against all reform parties. After that, emperor guangxu lost his imperial power again and was placed under house arrest by cixi.

In 1900, the so-called eight-power allied forces invaded China. Facing a deadly crisis, emperor guangxu had decided to stay in the capital to calm people, but before Beijing fell he was taken to xi ‘an by the empress dowager cixi. When they returned from xi ‘an the following year, he was still far away from state affairs. Until 1908, he died of depression and was buried in the tomb of the western qing dynasty.

In short, although the guangxu emperor’s political life was fraught with tragedy, he was seen as a progressive monarch. As a pioneer of capitalist transformation, his deeds broke the ideological prison of feudal autocracy and opened the ideological liberation of China. Therefore, emperor guangxu was regarded as an enlightened emperor who first tried to adopt the western political model to govern China.

Oriental Pearl Tower, A Distinct Landmark in Shanghai

The Oriental Pearl Tower is a TV tower in Shanghai, China. Its location at the tip of Lujiazui in the Pudong district, by the side of Huangpu River, opposite of The Bund makes it a distinct landmark in the area. It was designed by the Shanghai Modern Architectural Design Co. Ltd. Construction began in 1990 and the tower was completed in 1994. At 468 m (1,535 feet) high, it was the tallest structure in China from 1994-2007, when it was surpassed by the Shanghai World Financial Center. It is classified as a AAAAA scenic area by the China National Tourism Administration.

Why is Oriental Pearl Tower special?

Ranking as the fourth tallest building in Asia, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower is member of the World Federation of Great Towers.

The Oriental pearl Tower is a mixed-use tower with telecommunications transmitters broadcasting over 50 miles, a hotel, a restaurant, and several observation decks. Despite a modern look with metal and concrete, the design is rooted in traditional Chinese culture. The definitive elements of the tower are its eleven spheres or ‘pearls’ distributed along its entire height. The largest pearl is 50 meters in diameter near the base, and the second largest pearl is 40 meters in diameter near the top. When looking at the tower from afar, it appears as though pearls are dropping from the sky onto a lush green plate that symbolizes jade. Thus, the two extremely valuable Chinese gemstones are represented in its structure.

Divisions & Functional Areas

Visitors travel up and down the Oriental Pearl Tower in double-decker elevators that can hold up to fifty people at the rate of seven meters per second. The elevator attendants recite an introduction to the TV Tower in English and Chinese during the rapid 1/4-mile ascent. Once you reach your destination, you will be amazed at the variety of activities available as the various spheres and columns actually house places of interest, commerce, and recreation.

The inner is a recreational palace, while the Municipal History Museum is located in the tower’s pedestal. The large lower sphere has a futuristic space city and a fabulous sightseeing hall. From here, on a clear day a visitor can see all the way to the Yangtze River. The base is home to a science fantasy city. The five smaller spheres are a hotel that contains twenty-five elegant rooms and lounges. The pearl at the very top contains shops, restaurants, (including a rotating restaurant) and a sightseeing floor. The view of the city from this height fills you with wonder at the beauty that surrounds you. When viewed from the Bund at night, the three-dimensional lighting makes it a delight of brilliant color.

Features of Oriental Pearl Tower

The tower features 11 spheres, big and small. The two biggest spheres, along the length of the tower, have diameters of 50 m ( 164 ft ) for the lower and 45 m ( 148 ft ) for the upper. They are linked by three columns, each 9m ( 30 ft ) in diameter. The highest sphere is 14 m ( 46 ft ) in diameter.The entire building is supported by three enormous columns that start underground.

The tower has fifteen observatory levels. The highest is at 350 m . The lower levels are at 263 m and at 90 m. There is a revolving restaurant at the 267 m level. The project also contains exhibition facilities, restaurants and a shopping mall. There is also a 20 room hotel called the Space Hotel between the two large spheres.

The design of the building is based on a verse of the Tang Dynasty poem Pipa Song by Bai Juyi about the wonderful sprinkling sound of a pipa instrument, like pearls, big and small falling on a jade plate. Seen from afar, the Yangpu Bridge and the Nanpu bridge seem like two Chinese dragons frolicking with the pearls of the Oriental Pearl tower.

The Pearl Tower attracts over three million visitors each year.

Chinese National Day, Golden Week in China

October 1st is the Chinese National Day. National Day, celebrating the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, is one of the seven legal holidays in China.

There will be a variety of grand ceremonies and activities in China during National Day, such as a great ceremonial review of troops and lighting fireworks in the evening. National Day lasts 3 days since the year 1997. But people actually get a 7-day vacation which combines National Day holiday and two weekends on either side.

National Day holiday is another golden week in China. People will rush out to do some long-cherished travel, go shopping and do some other things.

History

October 1st 1949 was the memorial day for the founding of the People’s Republic of China. One thing should be noted is that the PRC was not founded on that day. Actually the Chinese independence day was September 21st 1949. The grand ceremony held at Tiananmen Square on October 1st 1949 was to celebrate the forming of the Central People’s Government of the brand new country. Later on October 2nd 1949, the new government passed the ‘Resolution on the National Day of the People’s Republic of China’ and declared October 1 to be the Chinese National Day. Ever since 1950, every October 1st has been grandly celebrated by Chinese people.

Activities to Celebrate the National Day

People of all nationalities celebrate the National Day with a variety of activities while the government will organize some festivities, such as fireworks and concerts. There have been 15 military parades during National Day so far. Public places are usually decorated, including Tiananmen Square in Beijing which often proves to be eyecatching. In memory of the great leader Mao Zedong, a portrait of him was hung at the square and displayed at National Day every few years. Since 1949, it has been changed 8 times. Drawn by artist Wang Guodong, the present one is 6 metres high and 4.6 metres wide.

Thousands of tourists from home and abroad come to Tiananmen Square to celebrate the festival each year.

National Day also marks the beginning of one of the “Golden weeks”in China. People usually visit relatives and friends on this day and many couples often choose this meaningful date to get married. However, with large amounts of people travelling during the 7 day holiday, traffic jams become more frequent around this time, especially in the more popular tourist attractions.

China National Day’s Parade

The government and military planning for the National Day Parade includes the careful selection of soldiers and residents. For example, height is an important element. Thousands of soldiers and civilians take part in the massive parades on National Day. The China National Day parade which is usually held every ten years is absolutely sublime and spectacular.

The National Day parade starts at 10:00 in the morning on October 1st on Tian’anmen Square. The ceremonial raising of the national flag is the second part of the parade. The Leader of China takes a parade car to come into the people’s view. The joint headquarters for the military parade will then make a statement. The National Day’s parade consists of a military review and march-past which last about 66 minutes.

China National Day’s Travel Tips

  1. If possible, avoid traveling during the Golden Week. One can make it just before or after the “crowding period”. During those time periods, there are usually fewer tourists, the cost is comparatively lower, and the visit is more satisfying.
  2. If one really needs to travel during the Chinese National Day holiday, try to avoid the first two days and the last day of the Golden Week. Because they are the busiest time for transportation system, when the flight tickets are highest and train and long-distance bus tickets are hardest to buy. Also, the first two days are usually the most crowded at the attraction sites, especially the famous ones.
  3. Avoid hot destinations. These places are always crowded of visitors during the Golden Week. Choose some not so famous tourism cities and attractions, where there are fewer visitors and one can enjoy the scene more leisurely.
  4. Book flight / train tickets and hotel rooms in advance. There may be more discounts for flight tickets if one books earlier. For trains in China, the tickets are available 60 days prior to departure. The thing is the train tickets may be booked up in minutes once available, so please be prepared. The hotel rooms in hot travel destinations are also in demand. In case there is no place to stay, one should better book them in advance too. If one happens to book rooms upon arrival, try your luck at some business hotels.

Zhujiajiao Water Town, with a History of More Than 1,700 Years

Zhujiajiao water town, is located in Qingpu district, Shanghai. Covering 47 square kilometers (11,614 acres), the fan-shaped town is known as the Venice of Shanghai, shining in the mountains and lakes.

Zhujiajiao water town is the best preserved of the four ancient towns in Shanghai, known as “pearl river”. Unique old Bridges cross a babbling stream, which is shaded by willows, and houses with courtyards bring people living in modern cities into a new world of antiquity, leisure and tranquility.

It is said that if you go to Zhujiajiao without seeing the bridge, you have never been to Zhujiajiao! The bridge here is very distinctive and ancient, built in the Ming and Qing dynasties. The ancient town of Zhujiajiao is connected by 36 elaborate spans of different shapes and styles, from wood to stone to marble.

The bridge is the longest, largest and highest stone bridge in Shanghai. The bridge was built in 1571. On the bridge stands a stone tablet named “longmen stone”, on which is engraved “eight dragons around the pearl”. There are four lifelike stone lions on the bridge.

In the water town of Zhujiajiao, there is an ancient street full of representative ancient buildings in the Ming and qing dynasties, which attracts a large number of tourists from home and abroad. That is north street, the best preserved old street in this suburb. The whole street is only one kilometer long, which is both simple and elegant. Strolling along this ancient thoroughfare, it is another treat to admire the historic buildings, historic shops, ancient Bridges and many narrow alleys.

Zhujiajiao water town has magnificent gardens and ancient dwellings in the Ming and qing dynasties. Among the ancient buildings, kezhiyuan is the largest manor garden. The garden is often referred to as the “markov garden”, after a former owner named ma wenqin.

Kezhiyuan is located in xijin street in the north of Zhujiajiao water town, with beautiful scenery and quiet environment. It is mainly composed of three parts, including a hall area, a rockery area and a garden area. In the rockery area, there is a magnificent symbolic building — a four-sided five-story building topped by a diameter pavilion named “moon pavilion”. “This building is considered the tallest building in Zhujiajiao.

The attractions listed here are only part of the water town of Zhujiajiao. Ancient narrow lanes, strange stone anchor chains, ancient houses, let people linger.

Tianzifang, a Vanguard of Creative Expressions

Tianzifang has gone from a traditional residential building and factory to an artsy place with bars, cafes, craft shops, design studios, galleries and boutiques. It has received enthusiastic support from a group of yuppies, trendsetters, designers and expats who have fallen in love with shikumen’s old houses (shikumen houses) and the lure of its infinitely strange alleys.

The development of Tianzifang was relatively late. Also known as taikang road, it is a back street of the former French concession. One of the highlights of Shanghai is an old residential building called shikumen, literally “stone gate,” reflecting the fusion of architectural tastes. As an important treaty port, Shanghai was known to adventurers as early as the mid-19th century. In the 1920s and 1930s, houses with stone doorframes and solid wooden doors were called shikumen. People use simple carvings on stone frames. The taikang road area is an extension of the French concession. In addition to the buildings in shikumen, there are remnants of the French style. The unique landscape and architectural composition of taikang road represent the city’s eventful times. In the 1930s, white-collar workers, including doctors, artists, capable sailors and bank clerks, preferred to settle here. It was the equivalent of today’s bustling residential area. At the beginning of the 20th century, many influential artists made this area their home.

The year 1998 marked a watershed in the history of Tianzifang. Chen yifei, one of China’s most famous contemporary artists, has taken over two abandoned factories at lane 210, taikang road, and turned them into his own painting, sculpture, fashion and photo studio. Designed by cheng yifei, the cross-street sculpture “art gate” is located at the east end of taikang road, which is known as the “symbol of taikang art street”. The monthly opera recitals at the dekker arts center become regular community gatherings. Subsequently, resident artists from ten countries and regions followed suit. The name Tianzifang was coined by huang yongyu, a leading figure in Chinese painting. Tian zifang was the earliest recorded painter in China. Mr. Huang changes the last sentence “fang fang” to “fang fang” meaning, quarter, passage or workshop. In 2002, a stone tablet bearing the inscription “Tianzifang” hung at the entrance to lane 210.

The Tianzifang enclave has been extended from line 210 to line 248. Dubbed the SOHO of Shanghai, it is home to 29 art and design studios, 58 craft shops and galleries, 65 antique shops and a few boutiques. Many of its cafes, bars, teahouses and silk shops are run by international mixers. They are either inlaid in modern Spanish or English style alleys, castles or in shikumen buildings. The restaurants are small, but they offer a wide variety of delicious food from many countries, such as Thai food, New York steak and hamburger, barbecue, Japanese sushi, French foie gras, fondue…

Like xintiandi, Tianzifang is one of the few shikumen buildings in Shanghai. The difference lies in the vivid living atmosphere created by Tianzifang. The original building is still intact, truly reflecting the original appearance of Shanghai hutong, and shikumen architecture stands out. There are more than 20 well-preserved shikumen buildings in Tianzifang, and their types and integrity are among the best in the city. Many of the original residents still live in narrow alleys. Please note and respect their privacy. Tourists and local residents alike should take a break from this land.

Tianzifang is the pioneer of creative expression. Each boutique sparkles with intelligence and creativity, and each is a handmade novelty. Tourists from abroad sat outside the cafe, while local residents hurried by. Most of the old walls are used as panels to display the latest, elaborate, colorful graffiti. Tianzifang survived the urban demolition in the form of art. Its preservation is of great significance to the city’s cultural heritage.

Shanghai World Financial Center, the Second Tallest Skyscraper in Shanghai

Shanghai world financial center (SWFC) is located in the center of lujiazui, pudong new area, adjacent to Shanghai tower and jin MAO tower. It is currently the second tallest skyscraper in Shanghai. In appearance, the structure resembles a bottle opener, hence its nickname.

With the goal of attracting global finance, the Shanghai world financial center has a first-class financial center function that can showcase financial talents, cultural and art exhibitions and information from all over the world. It’s more of a hot spot for tourists, with viewing platforms and the park hyatt.

It provides a perfect and extensive view along the huangpu river in Shanghai. The 750 square meter (about 897 square yards) sightseeing hall is also suitable for exhibitions. There are cafes, bars and souvenir shops.

The guardrail at the 97F window provides a place to take photos. The open skylight ceiling is unique in design. Fine, if the weather is fine

This is a corridor 55 meters (60 yards) long. When you walk on the floor made of transparent glass, you can see the top of the Oriental pearl tower just ahead, just like you walk on the roof of jinmao tower. Traffic, pedestrians and even the whole city seemed far away below.

The park hyatt has a great view of the city. The lobby of the hotel is on the 87th floor, with a cocktail bar. Overlooking the city from the 91-story restaurant at 100 century avenue, it attracts all the senses, with a perfect view of the nearby jin MAO tower, the Oriental pearl tower, pudong, and many of Shanghai’s iconic buildings.

Shanghai Tower, the Tallest Skyscraper in Shanghai

Shanghai tower is located in Lujiazui finance and trade zone, Pudong. It is the tallest building in China, second only to the world. It covers an area of 30,368 square meters, with a construction area of about 576,000 square meters, including 5 floors of basement, 127 floors above ground and 5 floors of podium.

For visitors, a visit to the Shanghai tower would be incomplete without the world’s highest indoor observation deck, the “top of the Shanghai observatory.” From this height, you can enjoy a unique panorama of the Huangpu river, the bund to the west, and several other skyscrapers, such as the Jinmao tower and the world financial center on the east bank. Visitors are advised to visit the B1 exhibition hall and then take the express elevator to the 118th floor, which only takes 55 seconds. Finally, if time permits, visit the exhibition “Shanghai eye” on the 125th and 126th floors.

The skyscraper’s foundation is important because Shanghai is located in an inactive seismic zone and the construction site is in the Yangtze river valley. To reinforce the ground, engineers first placed 980 foundation piles 86 meters  underground, then poured 61,000 cubic meters  of concrete to install a 6-meter floor to secure the main building.

The outside of the building spiraled like a snake. Each floor rotates by one degree to counteract the force of the wind high above. This is very important for super tall buildings in Shanghai to withstand frequent typhoons.

The tower has two glass facades, one inside and one outside, like overlapping “pipes”. The space between the two “pipes” is from 1 to 10 meters wide, providing more public space inside the building. At the same time, the space is like an insulating layer, like a vacuum flask. It’s environmentally friendly and it costs less.

As a complex super-tall building, the building is subdivided into five main functional areas: 24-hour offices for multinational corporations and financial services; Super five-star hotel and supporting facilities, providing personalized services and supporting facilities; High-end retail stores, etc. The leisure and entertainment area, which forms a new commercial and cultural center in the city, is obviously different from the ghost town image of lujiazui after work. Conference facilities, including sightseeing rooms on the upper level, a multi-purpose convention center of more than 2,000 square meters, and a multi-purpose banquet hall of more than 1,000 square meters are located in the podium building.

Nanjing Road, a Century-old Shopping Street

China’s premier shopping street, 5.5km (3.4-mile) Nanjing road, stretches from the bund in the east to the intersection of jing ‘an temple and xi yan ‘an street in the west. Today, it is a must-see metropolitan destination, attracting thousands of fashion-conscious shoppers from around the world.

Nanjing road, a century-old street in Shanghai’s huangpu district, bears witness to the city’s history. Over time, it has been reorganized and has undergone significant changes. Large traditional stores no longer dominate the market, as modern shopping malls, specialty stores, theaters and international hotels have sprung up along the streets. To facilitate shopping, there is an all-weather pedestrian playground in the eastern district.

There are more than 600 shops on the road, offering countless famous products of high quality and fashionable style. Upscale stores include tiffany, montblanc, omega and dunhill. About 100 traditional shops and specialty stores offer fine silk, jade, embroidery, wool and clocks. People who like to shop will indulge in the pleasure of shopping.

There are many traditional food stores with a history of 100 years in Nanjing road. Here, you can not only taste the most authentic Shanghai cuisine, but also buy some for your friends and family as gifts.

It was an unforgettable experience taking the old dangdang tram from 8:30 to 22:00 every day. On the slow train, you can see all kinds of shops outside the window, old or new, leaving your view one by one, just like history. The one-way trip will take about 10 minutes and you will have to pay 5 RMB for it.

Flashing neon lights illuminate the magnificent buildings and illuminate the night sky of this vibrant city. Outdoor bars, abstract sculptures and the long music of street musicians make the evening stroll more enjoyable.

Nanjing road in Shanghai consists of east Nanjing road and west Nanjing road, with xizang road in the middle. Nanjing east road is relatively busy because of its proximity to the bund, a Shanghai landmark. Visitors can choose to walk along the whole road or choose a portion of it according to physical strength and time.

Jin Mao Tower, the Third Tallest Skyscraper in Shanghai

Located in the lujiazui financial and trade zone center of pudong new area, Jin Mao tower is the third tallest building in Shanghai after Shanghai tower and Shanghai world financial center. From puxi (west of the hung-pu river) by tunnel (about 2 minutes by car) or from hongqiao, pudong international airport (about 30 minutes by car).

The 88-story Jin Mao tower was completed in 1999. It stands 420.5 meters (about 1,380 feet) tall and covers 2.3 hectares (5.68 acres). The skyscraper’s architect, Adrian d. Smith, skillfully combined elements of traditional Chinese culture with the latest architectural styles of the time, making it one of the best built buildings in China.

The building includes modern offices, a luxury five-star hotel, the grand hyatt Shanghai, exhibition halls, banquet halls, observation decks and entertainment facilities on the following floors: the first and second floors form a spectacular and bright business lobby; Office rooms from 3 to 50 floors; The 51st and 52nd floors are mechanical and electrical facilities centers with limited staff; Floors 53 to 87 are reserved for the grand hyatt hotel, floor 86 is the exclusive club for hotel guests, floor 87 is the hotel restaurant; The 88th floor, the tallest, is the observation deck of the tower, which can hold 1,000 people at a time.

This tower has the best elevator. The two direct lifts travel at 9.1 meters (nearly 30 feet) per second, from the ground floor to the 88th floor in just 45 seconds. There are five or six elevators on every 10 floors, reducing waiting times to 35 seconds even during rush hours.

The tower has a six-story annex containing exhibition halls, meeting rooms, a multipurpose hall, a grand ballroom and an entertainment center.

The tower’s basement is a three-story car park that can hold 800 cars and 2,000 bicycles. The parking lot is equipped with 360-degree surveillance cameras as a security feature of the building.