Beijing: Boundaries Crossed

On June 8, 2013, in Activities, by Catharine Steffens

By Calvin Liang -15 The city of Beijing is unlike any other city on the planet Earth. It is archaic, yet modern. It is culturally isolated, yet cosmopolitan. It is urban, and yet rural. Beijing represents the blending of boundaries and bridge between opposites. If you were to think of the city in a manner relevant to the local culture, you could go as far to say that Beijing is the perfect balance of yin and yang. Upon arrival in Beijing, it’s quick to notice the modern architecture of Beijing International Airport (PEK). It is, quite literally, one single vast ceiling that spans the whole airport. In fact, on the surface Beijing seems like any other cultural-turned-modern city, retrofitted with gleaming bright lights that pierce the dark night. Yet unlike other cities, Beijing has another side to it that embraces its culture and rich history. For example, take picture #1. This is a picture taken from the top of the drum tower, and it is of the tower that sits in Beihai Park not far from the Forbidden City. This was taken at a location in the middle of Beijing, where bustling traffic and towering skyscrapers are abound. Observe the space around the tower. You would say that the space is just about empty. Had there not been contextual information about the tower, you would probably assume that the tower was in a faraway countryside area. And yet, this piece of ancient architecture stands alone, in an area modernized in every possible aspect. Truly, a boundary crossed. The modern aspect of Beijing is not to be undermined, however. From the same point I took picture #1, I turned 900 to the right and took picture #2. In this picture, there are towers, skyscrapers, and all sorts of buildings popping up everywhere. The empty air around the tower in picture #1 is now filled with signs of urban development. The contrast between these two cities is an indication of how integrated the city of Beijing is between its cultural and industrial parts. Modern Beijing, the yin, is groundbreaking, growing, economical, global, and industrial. After China opened its gates to the world, the growth that the country has seen was unprecedented by the world. The people have created the fastest-growing economy in the world, and at the center of this powerhouse, is the capital city of Beijing. In the city of Beijing alone, there seems to be an endless stream of skyscrapers that covers the land. And with a population of 21 million and growing, the need for even more housing and construction to this already massive city is overwhelming. Now, the city of Beijing is one of the largest cities in the world, and a city that is one to visit. And from my visit so far, Modern Beijing has not disappointed. (Picture 3) On the other side of the spectrum Cultural Beijing, the yang, is beautiful, elegant, historical, mystifying, and individual. From the well-known Forbidden City and Great Wall to the lesser known Gong Wang Fu (Prince Gong’s Mansion) and Beihai Park, the cultural aesthetics of China make up the beauteous part of the city of Beijing. The elegance and awe-inspiring structures built by the dynasties thousands of years ago still stand today, and it boggles the mind on how these were built so long ago without our fancy construction tools and materials. The historical backgrounds of these locations serve to enhance the experience further. It passes the mind how a mere child could have run the entire country, or how the Forbidden City can hold exactly 9,999 rooms. But that sense of mystification is what truly defines the beauty of this culture. For a modernized city that has industrialized itself to the extreme, the amount of culture preserved and upheld is one of the most marvelous things that I have seen. Groundbreaking, beautiful, growing, elegant, economic, historical, global, mystifying, industrial, and individual. That is how I describe Beijing. It is a city unlike no other, a place that I think manages to fuse two aspects of life that in other places would never be possible. The growth of this city has stunned the world, and yet at the same time this city holds some of the richest cultural heritage globally. It’s a place that we have only scratched the surface of, and yet we feel as though we have learned the entire city. This is a city that I want to return to again, and again, and again. Because Beijing is the manifestation of Yin and Yang, where boundaries cross.

1.jpeg

1.jpeg

2.jpeg

2.jpeg

3.jpeg

3.jpeg

4.jpeg

4.jpeg

 

One Response to Beijing: Boundaries Crossed

  1. Sra. Domínguez says:

    Very well written, Calvin. After reading your post I am much more intrigued about Beijing and you have made me to seriously consider visit the city one day. What a great experience!
    Sra. Domínguez

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



4701 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85012 | 602-264-5291
Questions or comments about this site? Please .