Friday, March 01, 2013

March 2013 Monthly Travel Photo: Forbidden City from Starbucks

Photo by Catholicgauzette
The Forbidden City's Starbucks is no more.  It was closed in 2007 to protect (idealized historical) Chinese culture from (modern-day Chinese) capitalism.  However, while it was opened it provided a popular good and represented both past and present China.

The Forbidden City in Beijing was the capital of imperial China of both the Ming, Shun, and Qing dynasties.  It was first built between 1406 and 1420.  Its complex layout represents China as the Middle Kingdom uniting both heaven and earth.  Further examination of the geography of the place shows frequent use of Taoist yin-yang: light and dark, male and female, heaven and earth, land and water, etc.

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National Geographic has a great special on the history and design of the Forbidden City.

Today the Forbidden City is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Tourists come from around the world.  Those who are thirsty can visit a "traditional Chinese tea house" which now sits in the old Starbucks.

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