Posts tagged asia

Letters from China: Hutongs, the Best Way to Experience the Beauty of Local Life in Beijing!

My dear travelers and fans of unusual trips, welcome to the new series of long-awaited travelogues from China on the Mr.M blog. The month of May will be dedicated to one of the cradles of human civilization and a country with thousands of years of written history – China. At the very beginning of today’s travelogue, I would like to thank the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China and the leading Turkish airline Turkish Airlines for the kind invitation and hospitality. With their help, the travelogues and fashion stories that you will have the opportunity to read this May were created and I sincerely hope that you will enjoy them.

If by any chance you missed reading the previous travelogues or want to remind yourself of some interesting things, take the opportunity to visit the following links:

  1. Letters from China: Explore the Peal of the Far East with Turkish Airlines
  2. Letters from China: The Peninsula Beijing, explore the first luxury hotel in the heart of Beijing
  3. Letters from China: Tiananmen Square, let’s explore The Gate of Heavenly Peace together
  4. Letters from China: The Temple of Heaven, the Imperial Sacrificial Altar in the Heart of Beijing
  5. Letters from China: The Summer Palace and The Great Wall of China

Today we will explore together one of the oldest Hutongs in the capital of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing. Hutongs represent a type of extremely narrow alleys that are a symbol of northern Chinese cities, especially in Beijing.

In Beijing, hutongs are alleyways formed by rows of xiheyuan, traditional courtyard residences. Siheyuan represents a historical housing type commonly found throughout China, most famously in Beijing and rural Shanxi. Throughout Chinese history, the xiheyuan composition was the basic pattern used for residences, palaces, temples, monasteries, family businesses, and government offices. In ancient times, a spacious xiheyuan would be occupied by one, usually large and extended family, signifying wealth and prosperity. Today, the remaining xiheyuans are often still used as split-level apartment complexes, although many lack modern amenities.

Many neighborhoods were formed by merging one siheyuan with another to form a hutong, and then merging one hutong with another. The word hutong is also used to refer to such settlements. Since the mid-20th century, many Beijing hutongs have been demolished to make way for new roads and buildings. More recently, however, many hutongs have been declared protected, in an attempt to preserve this aspect of China’s cultural history. Hutongs were first established in the Yuan Dynasty and then expanded in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

During the dynastic period in China, the emperors planned the city of Beijing and arranged residential areas according to the social classes of the Zhou dynasty. The term “hutong” first appeared during the Yuan Dynasty and is a term of Mongolian origin, meaning “water well”. In the Ming Dynasty at the beginning of the 15th century, the center of Beijing was the Forbidden City, surrounded in concentric circles by the Inner and Outer City. Citizens of higher social status were allowed to live closer to the center of the circles. Aristocrats lived east and west of the imperial palace. The grand xiheyuan of these high officials and wealthy merchants often had beautifully carved and painted roof beams and columns and carefully landscaped gardens.

The hutongs they formed were tidy, bordered by spacious houses and fenced gardens. Beyond the palace, to the north and south, were the common people, merchants, artisans and workers. Their xiheyuans were far smaller in size and simpler in design and decoration, and their hutongs were narrower. Almost all Siheyuans had their main buildings and gates facing south for better lighting, so most hutongs run from east to west. Between the main hutongs, many small lanes led north and south for convenient passage.

Historically, the hutong as a term was also once used as the lowest level of administrative geographical divisions in a city in ancient China, as in the paifang system: the highest division in a city in ancient China was the canine, which is the equivalent of the current day ward. Each canine was surrounded by walls or fences, and the gates of these enclosures were closed and guarded nightly, somewhat like a modern gated community.

Each canine is further divided into several panels or pai, equivalent to the current community (or neighborhood). Each pai in turn contained an area that included several hutongs, and during the Ming Dynasty, Beijing was divided into a total of 36 canines. However, as the ancient Chinese system of urban administrative division gave way to population and household divisions instead of geographic divisions, hutongs were no longer used as the lowest level of administrative geographic division and were replaced by other approaches to division.

At the turn of the 20th century, the Qing court was disintegrating as China’s dynastic era came to an end. He also influenced the traditional arrangement of hutongs. Many new hutongs, built randomly and without any plan, began to appear on the outskirts of the old city, while the old ones lost their former neat appearance. The social stratification of the inhabitants also began to disappear, reflecting the collapse of the feudal system. Many such hutong-like areas have been demolished.

During the period of the Republic of China from 1911 to 1948, society was unstable, plagued by civil wars and repeated foreign invasions. Beijing deteriorated, and conditions in the hutongs worsened. Formerly owned and lived in by individual families, xiheyuans were and are shared by many households, with additions added as needed, built from whatever materials were available. The 978 hutongs listed in Qing Dynasty records had grown to 1,330 by 1949. Today in 2008, in some hutons, such as those in Da Shi Lan, conditions are still poor.

After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, many of Beijing’s old hutongs were destroyed, replaced by wide boulevards and high-rise buildings. Many residents were forced to leave the streets where their families had lived in previous generations and move into high-rise buildings. In Sicheng County, for example, nearly 200 hutongs were demolished out of the 820 it boasted in 1949. However, many of Beijing’s ancient hutongs still exist, and some of them have been designated protected areas. Older neighborhoods survive today, offering a glimpse of life in the capital as it was for generations.

Many hutongs, several hundred years old, near the bell tower and drum tower and Shichahai Lake are preserved among the reconstructed modern two-story and three-story versions. This area is full of tourists, many of whom tour the neighborhood on bicycles. Today, as in the past, hutongs are home to celebrities, business owners and officials. After the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Zhao Ziyang spent his fifteen years under house arrest in a hutong. Zhao’s hutong was previously occupied by one of Empress Dowager Cixi’s hairdressers.

Hutongs represent an important cultural element of the city of Beijing. Thanks to Beijing’s long history and its status as the capital of six dynasties, almost every hutong has its own anecdotes, and some are even connected to historical events. In contrast to the court life and elite culture represented by the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and the Temple of Heaven, hutongs reflect the culture of Beijing’s citizens. Hutongs are residential neighborhoods that still form the heart of Old Beijing.

The pictures you can see in today’s post were taken in one of the oldest hutongs in Beijing – Yandai Xiejie (Yandai Xiejie in Chinese), Yandaikie Street (Yandaixie Street). Located in Xicheng District, it is close to Shichahai which are famous attractions in Beijing. It is 232 meters long with its eastern end at Di’anmen Street and its western end at the Silver Ingot Bridge. Stepping into the street for about 50 meters, one would come to the southern end of Dashibei Hutong, which goes to Drum Tower West Avenue (Gulou Xidajie). Crossing the Silver Ingot Bridge leads to Houhai Bar Street.

According to one of the many books, which was published during the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty, Yandai Biwai was originally called Drum Tower Xiejie and was changed to the name we know today at the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is recorded that during the Qing Dynasty, there were many pipe shops in this street, including one called Shuangshengtai. The owner of the shop placed a 1.5 meter high wooden smoking pipe as a sign. As time passed, the street was known throughout the city for its huge smoking pipe, hence its name. Some people also say that the street looks like a smoking pipe.

After the revolution ended in 1911, the Qing royal family was deposed, the army (Manchus fed by the Qing government) lost their income and many of them had to sell their possessions, such as antiques, to make a living. Gradually, many ancient markets were formed in Beijing, among which was the great Yandaikie Street. But after 1949, the antiques trade in this street gradually declined. Yandaikie Street lost its commercial position in the 1950s and many buildings were converted into residential buildings, including the Taoist Temple – Guangfu Guan.

At the beginning of the 21st century, more precisely in 2007, the street was renovated in order to regain its historical characteristics. Guangfu Guan became a tourist spot and many reproductions of classical architecture were built on the street. The buildings house shops for Indian clothing, Miao costumes and accessories, Tibetan costumes, Lijiang handicrafts, Shanxi ceramics, Chairman Mao badges and quotes, etc. If you want to experience Chinese commercial culture, the best way would be to buy some souvenirs and haggle with the merchants.

Every hutong has a name. Some have only had one name since their inception, while others have had several throughout their history. Many hutongs are named after their location, local landmark or business, such as: City gates, such as Inner Xizhimen Hutong, indicating that this hutong is located in the “Xizhimen Nei” or “Xizhimen Within” district, which located on the city side of the Xizhimen Gate, a gate on the city wall.

Markets and businesses, such as Yangshi Hutong (Yangshi literally means sheep market) or Yizi Hutong (the local term for soap is iizi) Temples, such as Guanyinsi Hutong (Guaniyinsi is the Kuan-yin Temple) Local features, such as Liushu Hutong (Liushu means willow), which was originally named “Liushujing Hutong”, literally “Willow Tree Well Hutong”, after a local well.

Some hutongs are named after people, such as Mengduan Hutong (named after Meng Duan, the Ming Dynasty mayor of Beijing whose residence was in this hutong). Others were given an auspicious name, with words with generic positive attributes, such as Xiqing Hutong (Xiking means happy) Hutongs that share a name, or longer hutongs divided into sections, are often identified by direction. for example, there are three Hongmen Hutongs (“Red Gate Hutong”), namely West Hongmen Hutong, East Hongmen Hutong and South Hongmen Hutong (all three Hutongs have been erased since 2011 and no longer exist).

While most Beijing hutongs are flat, Jiudaowan Hutong turns nineteen times. Located near Beikinkiao Station, its name jiǔ dào wān literally means “Nine Turns”. At its narrowest point, the Kianshi Hutong near Qianmen (Front Gate) is only 40 centimeters wide.

My dear adventurers, we have come to the end of this sixth and at the same time the last special travelogue in the series of travelogues about wonderful China where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this unusual country in the heart of East Asia. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China, the world airline company Turkish Airlines and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel in collaboration with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of ancient Chinese culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions about this unusual experience from China with Turkish Airlines.

A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way.

I am honored to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank Turkish Airlines once again for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual Far Eastern culture in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about China and the presentation of the Hutongs which adorns the heart of this unusual capital of this interesting country in East Asia? Have you had a chance to visit China so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

In the following stories from China, we will discover some other interesting sights that you should visit if your journey leads you to this capital of this ancient faraway country!

With Love from Beijing,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by world airline Turkish Airlines, Visit China and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

SHARE THIS POST

Letters from China: The Summer Palace and The Great Wall of China

My dear travelers and fans of unusual trips, welcome to the new series of long-awaited travelogues from China on the Mr.M blog. The month of May will be dedicated to one of the cradles of human civilization and a country with thousands of years of written history – China. At the very beginning of today’s travelogue, I would like to thank the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China and the leading Turkish airline Turkish Airlines for the kind invitation and hospitality. With their help, the travelogues and fashion stories that you will have the opportunity to read this May were created and I sincerely hope that you will enjoy them.

If by any chance you missed reading the previous travelogues or want to remind yourself of some interesting things, take the opportunity to visit the following links:

  1. Letters from China: Explore the Peal of the Far East with Turkish Airlines
  2. Letters from China: The Peninsula Beijing, explore the first luxury hotel in the heart of Beijing
  3. Letters from China: Tiananmen Square, let’s explore The Gate of Heavenly Peace together
  4. Letters from China: The Temple of Heaven, the Imperial Sacrificial Altar in the Heart of Beijing

Today we will explore together the complex complex of large ensemble of lakes, gardens and palaces in Beijing. It was an imperial garden in the Qing Dynasty.

The Summer Palace is a huge ensemble of lakes, gardens and palaces in Beijing. It was once a magnificent imperial garden in the Qing Dynasty. Inside are the famous Longevity Hill, Kunming Lake and the famous Seventeen Holes Bridge. This entire complex covers an area of almost 3 square kilometers, of which almost three quarters is surface water.

The Hill of Longevity is about 60 meters high and has many buildings arranged in a row. The front hill is rich in sumptuous halls and pavilions, while the back hill, in stark contrast, is silent with natural beauty.

Kunming Central Lake, which covers an area of 2.2 square kilometers, is completely man-made, and the excavated soil was used to build the Hill of Longevity. Inspired by the gardens of Southern China, the Summer Palace, there are over 3,000 different Chinese ancient buildings that house a collection of over 40,000 kinds of valuable historical relics from each dynasty.

In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List. The Summer Palace has been declared a masterpiece of Chinese garden landscape design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with man-made elements such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of exceptional aesthetic value. Especially in Chinese history, it is also the terminus of the Central Route of the South-North Water Transfer Project which has traveled 1,267 km from Danjiangkou Reservoir, Hubei, making it the main water supply of Beijing.

The origins of the Summer Palace date back to the Jin Dynasty led by Jurchen in 1153, when the fourth ruler, Wanyang Liang, moved the Jin capital from Huining Prefecture to Yanjing (present-day Beijing). He ordered the construction of a palace in the Fragrant Hills and Jade Spring Hill in northwest Beijing. Around 1271, after the Yuan Dynasty established its capital at Khanbalik (present-day Beijing), the engineer Guo Shoujing initiated a waterworks project to direct water from the Shenshan Spring (shén shān quán) to the village of Baifu (bái fú cūn), Changping to the western part – the lake, which will later become Kunming Lake.

Guo aimed to build a water tank that would ensure a stable water supply for the palace. Later in 1494, Emperor Hongzhi of the Ming Dynasty granted permission to build the Yuanjing Temple for his wet nurse, Lady Luo, in front of Yar Hill, which was later renamed Longevity Hill. The temple fell into disrepair and was abandoned over the years, and the area around the hill became lush with vegetation.

The Zhengde Emperor, who succeeded the Hongzhi Emperor, built a palace on the shore of the West Lake and turned the area into an imperial garden. He renamed Jar Hill “Golden Hill” and named the lake “Golden Sea”. Emperor Zhengde and Emperor Wanli enjoyed boating on the lake. During the reign of Emperor Tianqi, the court eunuch Wei Zhongqian took the imperial garden as his personal property.

In the early Qing Dynasty, Jar Hill served as a place for stables in the imperial palace. Eunuchs who committed offenses were sent there to weed and cut grass. At the beginning of Emperor Qianlong’s reign, many imperial gardens were built in the area around present-day Beijing’s Haidian District, and accordingly water consumption increased significantly. At that time, a large part of the water stored in the West Lake came from the fresh water spring at Jade Spring Hill, while a part came from the Wanquan River. Any disruption of the water flow from Jade Spring Hill would affect the water transportation and water supply system of the capital city. Around 1749, Emperor Qianlong decided to build a palace near Yar Hill and West Lake to celebrate the 60th birthday of his mother, Empress Chongqing.

In the name of improving the capital’s water system, he ordered the West Lake to be expanded further west to create two more lakes, Gaoshui Lake and Yangshui Lake. The three lakes served not only as a reservoir for the imperial gardens, but also as a source of water for the surrounding agricultural areas. Emperor Qianlong collectively named the three lakes “Kunming Lake” after Kunming Basin, which was built by Emperor Wu in the Han Dynasty to train his navy. The earth excavated from the expansion of Kunming Lake was used to enlarge Yar Hill, which was renamed “Longevity Hill”. The Summer Palace, completed in 1764 at a cost of over 4.8 million silver taels, was first named “Kingiiiuan”.

The design of the Summer Palace is based on the legend from Chinese mythology about the three divine mountains in the East Sea, namely Penglai, Fangzhang and Jingzhou. The three islands in Kunming Lake – Nanhu Island, Tuancheng Island and Zaojiantang Island – were built to represent the three mountains, while the lake itself was based on the West Lake design in Hangzhou. In addition, many architectural features in the palace were also built to resemble or imitate various attractions around China. For example, Phoenix Pier represents Lake Tai; Jingming Tower resembled Yueyang Tower, Hunan Pavilion Wangchang resembled a yellow crane tower, shopping streets were designed to imitate those of Suzhou and Yangzhou.

The centerpiece of the Summer Palace was the “Great Temple of Gratitude and Longevity.” There was also a Long Corridor with a length of more than 700 meters, which was equipped with artistic decorations. Since the palace was not equipped with facilities for long-term stay and daily management of state affairs, Emperor Qianlong hardly lived there and only stayed there for a day each time he visited.

As the Qing Empire began to decline after the reign of the Daoguang Emperor, the Summer Palace gradually became more and more neglected and the architectural features on the three islands were ordered to be dismantled because the maintenance costs were too high. Later, in 1860, British and French troops looted the Summer Palace at the end of the Second Opium War, and on October 18, 1860, the British burned the nearby Old Summer Palace. The destruction of the palace was ordered by Lord Elgin, the British High Commissioner to China, and was undertaken in response to the torture and imprisonment of two British envoys, a Times journalist and their entourage.

The destruction of large parts of the Summer Palace continues to cause outrage in China. In the period between 1884–95. During the reign of the Guangxu Emperor, Empress Dowager Qiqi may have ordered up to 22 million silver taels, originally intended to upgrade the Qing navy, to be used for the reconstruction and expansion of the Summer Palace to celebrate her 60th birthday.

However, some other sources state that a maximum of six million taels were allocated, none of which came from the Navy’s capital budget, but only paid accrued bank interest. As funds were limited, construction work was concentrated on the buildings in front of Longevity Hill and the dam around Kunming Lake. The Summer Palace also received its current Chinese name, “Yiheyuan”, in 1888. In late 1900, towards the end of the Boxer Rebellion, the Summer Palace suffered damage again when the forces of the Eight-Nation Alliance destroyed the imperial gardens and confiscated many artifacts that were in the palace, luckily the palace was rebuilt two years later.

Later, during 1912, after the abdication of Puyi, the last emperor, the Summer Palace became the private property of the former Qing imperial family. Two years later, the Summer Palace was opened to the public and ticket sales officially began. A few years later, in 1924, after Puyi was banished from the Forbidden City by the warlord Feng Yuxiang, the Beijing Municipal Government took over the management of the Summer Palace and turned it into a public park.

In the middle of the 20th century, the Summer Palace briefly housed the Central Party School of the Chinese Communist Party. Many of Mao Zedong’s friends and key Communist Party figures, such as Liu Yazi and Jiang Qing, also lived there. Beginning in 1953, major works were carried out on the restoration and renovation of the Summer Palace, which is now open to the public as a tourist attraction and park. In November 1998, the Summer Palace was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In late 2006, the Chinese government also began issuing commemorative coins to celebrate the Summer Palace as a world cultural relic.

In short, the entire Summer Palace is centered around Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, with water covering about three-quarters of the area. Most of the important buildings were built along the north-south axis of the Hill of Longevity, which is divided into the front and back hills. There are three small islands in Kunming Lake: Nanhu Island, Zaojiantang Island and Zhijingge Island. The West Dam of Kunming Lake divides the lake into two parts. The East Dam was built during the reign of the Guangxu Emperor. The attractions in the Summer Palace can be divided into six different parts or scenic areas: the Halls, the Hill of Longevity, Kunming Lake, the Agricultural and Weaving Scenic Area, the Long Corridor, and the Central Axis Area. The Summer Palace is among the most visited destinations in China, ranking in the top five and attracting around 10 million tourists a year.

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications that were built across the historical northern borders and ancient Chinese states. Imperial China built this series of fortifications as a form of protection against various nomadic groups from the Eurasian steppe. Several walls were built as early as the 7th century BC with selective sections later joined by Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. Today, relatively little remains of the Qin Wall. Later, many successive dynasties built and maintained multiple sections of boundary walls. The most famous parts of the wall were built by the Ming dynasty. Besides defense, other purposes of the Great Wall included border control, enabling the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulating or encouraging trade, and controlling immigration and emigration.

Furthermore, the defensive features of the Great Wall were enhanced by the construction of watchtowers, military barracks, garrison stations, signaling capabilities through smoke or fire, as well as the fact that the path of the Great Wall also served as a transport corridor. The border walls built by different dynasties have multiple layers. Together, they stretch from Liaodong in the east to Lop Lake in the west, from the present-day Sino-Russian border in the north to the Tao (Taohe) River in the south, along an arc that roughly outlines the edge of the Mongolian steppe; covers a total of 21,200 kilometers. Today, the defensive system of the Great Wall is widely recognized as one of the most impressive architectural feats in history.

The collection of fortifications known as the Great Wall of China has historically had a number of different names in Chinese and English. In Chinese history, the term “Long Wall(s)” (Changcheng) appears in Sima Qian’s Records of the Grand Historian, where it refers to the separate great walls built between and north of the Warring States and to the more unified construction of the First Emperor. The Chinese character chéng, meaning city or fortress, is a phono-semantic combination of the “earth” radical tǔ and the phonetic chéng, whose Old Chinese pronunciation is reconstructed as *deŋ. It originally referred to the ramparts that surrounded traditional Chinese cities and was used as an extension of these walls around their states; today, however, it is much more commonly the Chinese word for “city”.

The longer Chinese name “Ten Thousand Mile Wall” comes from Sima Qian’s description in the Records, although he did not refer to the walls as such. The 493 Song Book quotes the border general Tan Daoji as referring to the “10,000-mile long wall”, which is closer to the modern name, but otherwise the name rarely appears in pre-modern times. The traditional Chinese mile was an often irregular distance intended to indicate the length of a standard village and varied according to terrain, but was usually standardized at distances around a third of an English mile. However, this use of the word “ten thousand” is figurative in a similar way to the Greek and English countless and simply means “countless” or “immeasurable.”

Because of the wall’s association with the alleged tyranny of the First Emperor, post-Qin Chinese dynasties usually avoided referring to their additions to the wall as the “Long Wall”. Instead, different terms were used in medieval records. Poetic and informal names for the wall included “Purple Border” and “Earth Dragon”. It was only during the Qing period that “Long Wall” became a catch-all term for many border walls regardless of their location or dynastic origin, equivalent to the English “Great Wall”. Sections of the wall in the southern Gobi Desert and Mongolian steppe are sometimes referred to as “Genghis Khan’s Wall”, although Genghis Khan himself did not build any walls or permanent defensive lines.

In the following travelogues, you will learn more about the famous Hutongs… I am sure that this will be one of the most interesting adventures that you have had the opportunity to see so far on the Mr.M blog and will not leave you indifferent.

My dear adventurers, we have come to the end of this fifth special travelogue in the series of travelogues about distant China where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this unusual country in the heart of East Asia. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China, the world airline company Turkish Airlines and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel in collaboration with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of ancient Chinese culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions about this unusual experience from China with Turkish Airlines.

A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way.

I am honored to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank Turkish Airlines once again for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual Far Eastern culture in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about China and the presentation of The Summer Palace and The Great Wall of China, which adorns the heart of this unusual capital of this interesting country in East Asia? Have you had a chance to visit China so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

In the following stories from China, we will discover some other interesting sights that you should visit if your journey leads you to this capital of this ancient faraway country!

With Love from Beijing,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by world airline Turkish Airlines, Visit China and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

SHARE THIS POST

Letters from China: The Temple of Heaven, the Imperial Sacrificial Altar in the Heart of Beijing

My dear travelers and fans of unusual trips, welcome to the new series of long-awaited travelogues from China on the Mr.M blog. The month of May will be dedicated to one of the cradles of human civilization and a country with thousands of years of written history – China. At the very beginning of today’s travelogue, I would like to thank the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China and the leading Turkish airline Turkish Airlines for the kind invitation and hospitality. With their help, the travelogues and fashion stories that you will have the opportunity to read this May were created and I sincerely hope that you will enjoy them.

If by any chance you missed reading the previous travelogues or want to remind yourself of some interesting things, take the opportunity to visit the following links:

  1. Letters from China: Explore the Peal of the Far East with Turkish Airlines
  2. Letters from China: The Peninsula Beijing, explore the first luxury hotel in the heart of Beijing
  3. Letters from China: Tiananmen Square, let’s explore The Gate of Heavenly Peace together

Today we will explore together the complex of imperial religious buildings that form the heart of the capital of China and where numerous historical events took place that changed the history of this unusual Far East country.

The Temple of Heaven is a complex of imperial religious buildings located in the southeastern part of central Beijing. The complex was visited by the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of praying to Heaven for a good harvest. The Temple of Heaven was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998 and is described as a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design that simply and graphically illustrates the cosmogony of great importance for the evolution of one of the world’s greatest civilizations. The symbolic layout and design of the Temple of Heaven has had a profound influence on architecture and planning in the Far East to this day.

Let’s take a look together through the interesting history of this imperial religious complex. The temple complex was built between 1406 and 1420 during the reign of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty, who was also responsible for building the Forbidden City in Beijing. The complex was expanded and renamed the Temple of Heaven during the reign of Emperor Jiajing in the 16th century.

JiaJing also built three other prominent temples in Beijing, the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Earth, and the Temple of the Moon. The Temple of Heaven was rebuilt in the 18th century during the Qianlong Emperor. The state budget was insufficient at the time, so this was the last extensive restoration of the temple complex during the reign of the emperors.

The temple was captured by the Anglo-French alliance during the Second Opium War. Later, in 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion, the Eight-Nation Alliance seized the temple complex and turned it into a temporary headquarters for forces in Beijing for a period of one year. With the fall of the Qing, the temple complex fell into disrepair. Neglect of the temple complex led to the collapse of several halls in the following years.

Later, in 1914, Yuan Shikai, then President of the Republic of China, performed a Ming prayer ceremony at the temple, as part of an effort to declare himself Emperor of China. In 1918, the temple was turned into a park and opened to the public for the first time.

This imperial religious complex is imposing and large as the temple area alone covers 2.73 square kilometers of parkland and consists of three main buildings, all of which were built according to strict requirements:

The Hall of Prayer for a Good Harvest is a magnificent circular building with three gables, 36 meters in diameter and 38 meters high, built on three levels of a marble stone base, where the emperor prayed for good harvests. The building is completely wooden, without nails. The original building burned down in a fire caused by lightning in 1889. The current building was rebuilt a few years after the incident.

The Hall of Prayer for a Good Harvest

The Imperial Vault of Heaven is a circular building with one gable, built on one level from a marble stone foundation. It is located south of the House of Prayer for Good Harvests and resembles it, but is smaller. It is surrounded by a smooth circular Echo Wall, which can transmit sounds over long distances. The Imperial Vault is connected to the Hall of Prayer by the Vermilion Steps Bridge, an elevated walkway 360 meters long that slowly ascends from the vault to the Hall of Prayer. The dome for this building also has no cross beams to support the dome.

The Imperial Vault of Heaven

The Circular Mound Altar is a preaching altar, located south of the Imperial Vault of Heaven. It is an empty circular platform on three levels of marble stone, each decorated with elaborately carved dragons. The numbers of the various elements of the altar, including its balusters and steps, are either nine, a sacred number in Chinese culture, or symbols of eternity. The center of the altar is a round slab called the Heart of Heaven or Supreme Yang, where the emperor prayed for favorable weather. Thanks to the design of the altar, the sound of the prayer will reflect off the guardrail, creating a significant resonance, which was supposed to help the prayer communicate with Heaven. The altar was built by Emperor Jiajing in 1530, and rebuilt in 1740.

It is also still customary for the Chinese to pray at this circular altar, where they pray and by turning around their axis, they believe that they are in direct contact with the cosmos and that their prayers will be answered.

The Circular Mound Altar

How was the prayer ceremony performed in imperial China? In ancient China, the Chinese emperor was considered the Son of Heaven, who governed earthly affairs on behalf of and represented the heavenly authority. It was extremely important to be seen as showing respect for the source of his authority in the form of sacrifices to heaven. The temple was built for these ceremonies, mostly with prayers for good harvests.

Twice a year, the emperor and all his retinue would travel from the Forbidden City through Beijing to encamp inside the compound, wearing special robes and abstaining from meat during the ceremonial process. No ordinary Chinese were allowed to see this procession or the following ceremony.

In the temple complex, the Emperor personally prayed to Heaven for good harvests. The culmination of the rite at the time of the winter solstice was performed by the emperor on the earthly mountain. The ceremony had to be perfectly completed, as it was widely believed that the slightest mistake would portend a bad omen for the entire nation in the coming year.

This temple has a special symbolism and I will try my best to explain it to you, since the guide was talking too fast, for the first time I have to keep an audio diary myself to fully understand the meaning of this place. According to ancient Chinese belief, earth was represented by a square and Heaven by a circle, several features of the temple complex symbolize the connection of Heaven and Earth, the circle and the square. The entire temple complex is surrounded by two cordon walls; the outer wall has a taller, semicircular northern end, representing Heaven, and a shorter, rectangular southern end, representing Earth.

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests and the Circular Mound Altar are round, each standing on a square courtyard, again representing heaven and earth. The number nine represents the Emperor and is evident in the design of the circular mound altar: one round marble slab is surrounded by a ring of nine slabs, then a ring of 18 slabs, and so on with a total of nine surrounding rings, the outermost with 9×9 slabs.

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests has four inner, twelve middle and twelve outer pillars, representing the four seasons, twelve months and twelve traditional Chinese hours. Combined, the twelve middle and twelve outer pillars represent the traditional solar terms.

All buildings within the Temple have special dark blue roof tiles, which represent Heaven. The seven-star stone group, east of the Good Harvest Prayer Hall, represents the seven peaks of Mount Taishan, a place of heaven worship in classical China. There are four main supporting, dragon pillars each representing a season. The structure, held by these dragons, imitates the style of an ancient Chinese royal palace. The twelve inner pillars symbolize the lunar months, and the twelve outer pillars are thought to refer to the 12 two-hour periods of the day.

Attributes such as the appearance of the landscape and the originality of the historical building have been preserved either as originally built or reconstructed in the Qing Dynasty. Management and maintenance are carried out strictly in accordance with the records in historical literature and archaeological evidence, in order to preserve the historical condition, while the exhibitions held here regularly are also organized to reflect the authenticity of this imperial religious complex.

The general layout and architectural features of the estate clearly demonstrate traditional Chinese philosophical ideas, cosmogony, sacrificial rituals, and scientific and artistic achievements, as well as truly reflect the political and cultural concepts and historical characteristics of the time.

The surrounding park surrounding this religious imperial complex is quite extensive, with the entire complex covering 267 hectares (660 hectares in total). Some of them consist of playgrounds, exercise and game areas. These facilities are used by adults as well as parents and grandparents who bring their children to play. Some of the open spaces and side buildings are often used, especially in the morning, for choir performances, ethnic dances and other festive events.

In the following travelogues, you will get to know some of the famous sights such as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall of China… I am sure that this will be one of the most interesting adventures that you have had the opportunity to see so far on the Mr.M blog and will not leave you indifferent. .

My dear adventurers, we have come to the end of this fourth special travelogue in the series of travelogues about distant China where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this unusual country in the heart of East Asia. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China, the world airline company Turkish Airlines and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel in collaboration with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of ancient Chinese culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions about this unusual experience from China with Turkish Airlines.

A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way.

I am honored to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank Turkish Airlines once again for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual Far Eastern culture in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about China and the presentation of the The Temple of Heaven, which adorns the heart of this unusual capital of this interesting country in East Asia? Have you had a chance to visit China so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

In the following stories from China, we will discover some other interesting sights that you should visit if your journey leads you to this capital of this ancient faraway country!

With Love from Beijing,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by world airline Turkish Airlines, Visit China and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from China: Tiananmen Square, let’s explore the Gate of Heavenly Peace together

My dear travelers and fans of unusual trips, welcome to the new series of long-awaited travelogues from China on the Mr.M blog. The month of May will be dedicated to one of the cradles of human civilization and a country with thousands of years of written history – China. At the very beginning of today’s travelogue, I would like to thank the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China and the leading Turkish airline Turkish Airlines for the kind invitation and hospitality. With their help, the travelogues and fashion stories that you will have the opportunity to read this May were created and I sincerely hope that you will enjoy them.

If by any chance you missed reading the previous travelogues or want to remind yourself of some interesting things, take the opportunity to visit the following links:

  1. Letters from China: Explore the Peal of the Far East with Turkish Airlines
  2. Letters from China: The Peninsula Beijing, explore the first luxury hotel in the heart of Beijing

Today we will explore together the landmark that forms the heart of the Chinese capital and where numerous historical events took place that changed the history of this unusual Far East country in the heart of East Asia.

Tiananmen Square or Tian’anmen Square is a city square in the center of the city, named after the eponymous Tiananmen (“Gate of Heavenly Peace”), which is located in the north of this square and separates the square from the Forbidden City. The square houses the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China on the square on October 1, 1949, where the anniversary of this event is traditionally celebrated to this day. Tiananmen Square is the largest square in the world because with its area of over 200,000 square meters, it is bigger than Red Square in Moscow.

Tiananmen (“Gate of Heavenly Peace”) is a gate in the wall of the Imperial City, built in 1417 during the Ming Dynasty. In the 17th century, fighting between Li Zicheng’s rebel forces and the Manchu-led forces of the Qing Dynasty caused extensive damage or even destroyed the gate. Tiananmen Square was designed and built in 1651, and was enlarged four times in the mid-20th century. The gate historically known as the “Great Ming Gate”, the southern gate of the Imperial City is located near the center of the square. During the Qing Dynasty, it was renamed the “Great Gate of the Qing”, and during the Republican era, it was renamed the “Gate of China”. Unlike other gates in Beijing, such as Tiananmen and Zhengyang Gate, this was a purely ceremonial gate, with three arches but no ramparts, similar in style to ceremonial gates found in Ming tombs.

This gate had a special status as the “Gate of the Nation”, which is evident from its successive names. It usually remained closed, except when the emperor was passing by. Traffic was diverted to the side gates at the west and east ends of the square. Because of this traffic diversion, a busy market, called “Chess Grid Streets” was developed in the large walled square south of this gate.

Iconic image of Tiananmen Square from the May Fourth Movement 1919 In 1860, during the Second Opium War, when British and French troops occupied Beijing, they set up camp near the gate and briefly considered burning down the gate and the Forbidden City. In the end, they decided to spare the Forbidden City and set fire to the Old Summer Palace instead. The Xianfeng Emperor eventually agreed to let Western powers barrack – and later establish diplomatic missions – in the area, so there was an embassy quarter immediately east of the square. When forces of the Eight-Nation Alliance besieged Beijing during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, they badly damaged office complexes and burned down several ministries. After the Boxer Rebellion ended, the area became a staging area for the Eight Nations Alliance to assemble their military forces.

In 1954, the gate of China was demolished, which made it possible to expand the square. In November 1958, a major expansion of Tiananmen Square began, which was completed after only 11 months, in August 1959. This followed Mao Zedong’s vision to make the square the largest and most spectacular in the world, with the intention of accommodating over 500,000 people. In that process, a large number of residential buildings and other buildings were demolished. A monument to national heroes was erected on its southern edge.

At the same time, as part of the Ten Great Buildings built between 1958 and 1959 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, the Great Hall of the People and the Revolutionary History Museum (now the National Museum of China) were erected on the west and east sides of the square.

During the first decade of the People’s Republic of China, every National Day (October 1) was marked by a large military parade in Tiananmen Square, in conscious imitation of the annual Soviet celebrations of the Bolshevik Revolution. After the disaster of the Great Leap Forward, the CCP decided to cut costs and have only smaller annual National Day celebrations in addition to a big celebration with a military parade every 10 years.

However, the chaos of the Cultural Revolution almost prevented such an event from being held on National Day in 1969, which it did (parades were held in 1966 and 1970). Ten years later, in 1979, the CCP again decided against the grand celebration, which came at a time when Deng Xiaoping was still consolidating power and China had suffered a setback in a border war with Vietnam earlier in the year.

By 1984, when the situation had significantly improved and stabilized, the PRC held a military parade for the first time since 1959. After the Tiananmen Square massacre, any such activities were prevented in October 1989, but military parades were held in 1999 and 2009 to mark the 50th and 60th anniversaries of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. On May 8, 2015, a military parade was held to celebrate 70 years since the end of World War II.

Who is Mao Zedong? Mao Zedong, also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who was the founder of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which he led as the chairman of the Chinese Communist Party from the establishment of the PRC in 1949 until his death in 1976. Ideologically a Marxist-Leninist, his theories, military strategies and political policies are collectively known as Maoism.

On October 1, 1949, Mr. Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China from the Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tiananmen), and later that week he declared, “The Chinese people have risen up.” Mao went to Moscow for long talks in the winter of 1949-50. Mao initiated talks that focused on China’s political and economic revolution, foreign policy, railroads, naval bases, and Soviet economic and technical assistance.

In the 1970s, more precisely in 1971, large portraits of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Sun Yat-sen and Mao Zedong were placed on the square, painted by the artist Ge Xiaoguang, who is also responsible for creating the famous Mao portrait that is located at the Gate of Heavenly Peace. In 1980, with the degradation of political ideology after Mao’s death, the portraits were taken down and have since been published only on Labor Day (May 1) and National Day. Later, in 1988, the CCP leadership decided to display only portraits of Sun and Mao on national holidays. A year after Mao’s death, a mausoleum was built near the site of the former Chinese Gate along the main axis of the north-south square. In connection with this project, the square was further enlarged to become completely rectangular and able to accommodate 600,000 people. The urban context of the square was changed in the 1990s by the construction of the Great National Theater in its vicinity and the expansion of the National Museum.

Tiananmen Square, used as a place for mass gatherings since its inception, its flatness contrasts with the 38-meter-tall “Monument to the People’s Heroes” and the “Mao Zedong Mausoleum.” The square is located in between. two ancient, massive gates: Tiananmen in the north and Zhengyangmen (better known as Qianmen) in the south. Along the western side of the square is the Great House of the People. On the east side is the National Museum of China (dedicated to Chinese history before 1919). Installed in 1989, the Statue of Liberty, a Western icon, holds its torch above the square. Chang’an Avenue, used for parades, is located between Tian’anmen and the square. Trees line the eastern and western edges of the square, but the square itself is open, without trees or benches. The square is illuminated by large lampposts equipped with video cameras. Uniformed and plainclothes policemen can always be found on the square.

When you pass through the Gate of Heavenly Peace, you enter the imperial palace complex, which is called the Forbidden City by one name. It is surrounded by a number of lavish imperial gardens and temples, including Zhongshan Park, the Imperial Ancestral Sacrifice Temple, Beihai Park and Jingshan Park. This complex is officially managed by the Palace Museum. The Forbidden City was built between 1406 and 1420 and was the former Chinese Imperial Palace and the winter residence of the Emperor of China from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty, between 1420 and 1924. The city served as the home of Chinese emperors and their households and was the ceremonial and political center of the Chinese government for more than 500 years. Since 1925, the Forbidden City has been under the supervision of the Palace Museum, whose extensive collection of artworks and artifacts was built on the basis of the imperial collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Forbidden City was declared a world heritage site in 1987.

The complex consists of 980 buildings, which include 9,999 rooms and cover an area of 720,000 square meters. The palace exemplifies the opulence of Chinese imperial residences and traditional Chinese court architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural development in East Asia and the region. The Forbidden City is included in the UNESCO list as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. Since 2012, the Forbidden City has seen an average of 14 million visitors a year, and according to some official figures, more than 19 million visitors in 2019 before the pandemic.

During 2018, an interesting research was done and the market value of the Forbidden City was determined, where it was estimated at 70 billion US dollars, which makes it both the most valuable palace in the world and the most valuable real estate in the world. The Forbidden City in Beijing is one of the largest and best-preserved wooden buildings in the world. It was listed as the first group of national key cultural relics in 1961.

The Forbidden City is in the shape of a rectangle, with approximate dimensions of 961 meters from north to south and 753 meters from east to west. It consists of 980 preserved buildings with 8,886 rooms. The layout of the Forbidden City activated and protected the Imperial Code of Ethics as a physical installation. The courtyard is built on a massive, luxurious scale, but has the appearance of an ordinary quadrangular courtyard. A common myth states that there are 9999 rooms including the anteroom, based on oral tradition and not supported by research evidence. The Forbidden City was designed to be the center of the ancient walled city of Beijing. It is enclosed in a larger, walled area called the Imperial City. The Imperial City, in turn, is surrounded by the Inner City; south of it lies the Outer City.

In the following travelogues, you will get to know some of the famous sights such as the Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall of China… I am sure that this will be one of the most interesting adventures that you have had the opportunity to see so far on the Mr.M blog and will not leave you indifferent. .

My dear adventurers, we have come to the end of this third special travelogue in the series of travelogues about distant China where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this unusual country in the heart of East Asia. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China, the world airline company Turkish Airlines and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel in collaboration with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of ancient Chinese culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions about this unusual experience from China with Turkish Airlines.

A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way.

I am honored to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank Turkish Airlines once again for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual Far Eastern culture in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about China and the presentation of the Tiananmen Square, which adorns the heart of this unusual capital of this interesting country in East Asia? Have you had a chance to visit China so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

In the following stories from China, we will discover some other interesting sights that you should visit if your journey leads you to this capital of this ancient faraway country!

With Love from Beijing,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by world airline Turkish Airlines, Visit China and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

SHARE THIS POST

Letters from China: The Peninsula Beijing, the first luxury hotel in China that adorns the soul of the capital

My dear travelers and fans of unique trips, welcome to the new series of long-awaited travelogues from China on the Mr.M blog. The month of May will be dedicated to one of the cradles of human civilization and a country with thousands of years of written history – China. At the very beginning of today’s post, I would like to thank The Peninsula Beijing hotel and the world’s leading Turkish Airlines airline for the warm invitation and hospitality. With their help, the travelogues and fashion stories that you will have the opportunity to read this May were created and I sincerely hope that you will enjoy them.

In the previous post, we started our adventure in China, if you want to know more information, take a few minutes to read the first travelogue from Beijing at the following link.

Peninsula Hotels is the world’s leading luxury hotel brand, owned and operated by The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited (HSH), which was founded in 1866. The HSH Group has a proud heritage as Asia’s oldest hotel company still in operation. Back in 1928, the first flagship hotel, The Peninsula, opened in Hong Kong in 1928. Today, the Peninsula Hotel portfolio consists of 10 hotels in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, New York, Chicago, Beverly Hills, Paris, Bangkok and Manila. New Peninsula hotels are currently under development in London and Istanbul.

The hotel in which I had the opportunity to stay in the heart of Beijing – The Peninsula Beijing was opened in 1989 and can proudly stand out as one of the first luxury hotels in the Chinese capital. Following a complete renovation inspired by China’s imperial architecture, exquisite art and cultural traditions, The Peninsula Beijing sets spectacular new standards as Beijing’s premier all-suite hotel.

Guests staying for business or pleasure have the opportunity to enjoy luxurious suites, award-winning cuisine in three international restaurants and rejuvenating spa journeys enhanced by unparalleled personal service and state-of-the-art technology. The Peninsula Beijing is recognized as the premier address in the capital for business and leisure travelers. Perfectly located in the center of the city’s Wangfujing shopping district and within walking distance of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, the hotel is easily connected to the Second Grand Ring Road, offering unrivaled proximity to major commercial, tourist and diplomatic areas.

Among The Peninsula’s many achievements since opening, The Peninsula Arcade was the first luxury shopping destination in China when it opened in 1990. Many of the world’s most famous connoisseurs of the art of luxury, including Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermès, have opened their flagship store in China in this very hotel. Guests have the opportunity to enjoy the launch of seasonal collections, special limited series and exclusive promotions of eminent luxury brands throughout the year. On-call concierge services, such as contactless shopping and in-room delivery, add extra convenience to the shopping experience.

For nearly a century, The Peninsula Hotel’s unparalleled elegance and service has enabled guests around the world to create extraordinary memories. In line with “The Peninsula Promise” – a commitment to providing the ultimate guest experience – I am pleased to present a series of new special offers that further enhance guest luxury, setting new standards in the hospitality industry.

These initiatives – including a new expanded and flexible check-in and check-out schedule, guaranteed connecting rooms and special rates at the time of booking, a collection of eco-friendly, customized guest amenities; contactless 24-hour concierge services and more – ensure that every aspect of your stay at The Peninsula Beijing Hotel, from travel planning to in-room enjoyment, is supremely comfortable, safe and seamless.

Peninsula Hotels recently launched PenChat, a 24-hour private e-concierge service, allowing you to experience the ultimate in personalized attention. Without the hassle of downloading a new app, PenChat lets you send requests and questions to your hotel’s concierge team from the instant messaging apps you already use on your mobile devices (including WhatsApp or WeChat). No matter what time of day or night you contact PenChat, you will receive real-time responses in English and in the local language of your hotel according to your needs.

The service ensures that every aspect of your stay is managed – from dining and transportation reservations to recommendations for local activities to the delivery of special in-room items such as extra pillows – quickly and securely. Custom destination-inspired amenities soothe and inspire sustainability. The newly launched collection of body care products makes it possible to fulfill this promise. Specially created by local fragrance curators to capture the essence of each Peninsula locale, these products – including shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion and soap – offer a pleasant olfactory journey to your hotel’s destination. The products are made from natural ingredients and come in recyclable aluminum packaging, accessories such as shower caps, toothbrushes and razors have also been redesigned with sustainable plastic-free materials such as corn starch, wheat, wood and recycled metal.

The Peninsula Hotels, whose hotels around the world are a true reflection of luxurious elegance that has lasted for almost a century, will introduce a new special collection of new wellness resources for its guests, inviting them to experience the “Life Lived Best” program that reminds us to live our lives to the best what we can.

The brand-wide initiative will provide guests at all Peninsula hotels with an unprecedented experience
the opportunity to achieve their fitness, mindfulness and nutrition goals, and to access these opportunities whenever they want through a dedicated Wellness Portal and 24-hour Wellness Concierge service.

This new program offers Peninsula Hotel guests a whole new holistic wellness experience that can improve their overall physical, mental and nutritional health. Many offerings, including activities, classes and menu options will be available at each property in The Peninsula group of hotels, many of which retain the distinctive traditions of the destination cities and are created in collaboration with local residents. In this way, guests who enjoy The Peninsula’s wellness experiences can be confident that they are supporting not only their own health, but also the health of the local community.

With physical fitness, improve your general state of health with the help of the physical vitality of the body. The Peninsula team ensures that your stay can be as active as you need it to be. In a rich offering of guided strength and flexibility routines in the privacy of your room, energizing classes in the fitness center and exciting adventures amidst the scenery and streetscapes of Beijing. On the other hand, peace of mind with relaxing rituals and guided meditation Breathe’s robust line of meditation and relaxation selections aims to help you achieve optimal peace of mind during your stay. In collaboration with the revolutionary Breathe meditation app, they are combined with aromatherapy care rituals, balancing Peninsula Spa treatments and traditional mindfulness practices, allowing you to de-stress and connect with the culture of your travel destination.

With Naturally Peninsula, an exceptional collection of delicious, local and plant-based menus, The Peninsula supports your dietary goals while staying at one of their hotels. In addition to serving you the healthiest ingredients, the program also promotes sustainability and minimizes environmental impact in the communities where The Peninsula hotels are located and around the world.

As you could see from my Instagram posts and stories, my stay at The Peninsula Beijing Hotel was in high style. Relax in spacious “Beijing” suites that combine Chinese art with international sophistication and spirit. Interestingly, the hotel’s previous 525 rooms have been merged to create 230 stunning new suites starting at a spacious 60 square meters, making it the only all-suite hotel in the capital.

Each suite offers a residential ambiance enhanced by a separate bedroom, living room, marble bathroom, walk-in closet and private valet, making calls and deliveries easy ruble with maximum protection of guests’ privacy. Combining two original apartments to create a modern residence of 165 square meters, the Beijing apartments have a large living room and dining room, as well as a spacious wardrobe located next to the master bedroom. A private cinema room with upholstered leather sofas and armchairs offers the possibility to relax with the latest movie releases or watch the good old classics on the 80 inch screen.

The study can easily be converted into a second bedroom for families traveling together. Impeccably incorporating modern Peninsula technology and design, the new suites at The Peninsula Beijing Hotel are the most personalized in the world. The guest experience is enhanced by fully customized in-room amenities, including night and table tablets that can be preset in multiple different foreign languages to control all room functions and access room service menus with a simple touch.

All tips and suggestions on Beijing’s best restaurants, shopping and nightlife, latest openings and special cultural events are at your fingertips on your tablet which can be found in every room of this apartment. Inspired by the interior of a luxury yacht, the new apartments are styled in graceful shades of cream color. Reflecting Beijing’s status as the center of China’s vibrant art scene, the walls are adorned with specially commissioned works by renowned Chinese artists.

The furniture is specially made to order and designed by Henry Leung, handcrafted from sustainable mahogany by Italian luxury furniture manufacturer Cassina adding a cultivated sense of grace and refinement. The huge bathroom styled in black and white marble offers a pampering bath, shower and luxury bath products. An abstract Chinese calligraphic mosaic above the bathtub depicts the movement of a goldfish, inspired by the hotel’s address: Goldfish Lane, Beijing.

Relax and unwind in the ultimate style with a restorative bathing ritual in the comfort of the Beijing suite. Guests can choose and book their own custom bath ritual decorated with Subtle Energies aromatic bath products. Each customized bathing experience is carefully designed to ensure you feel physically and emotionally refreshed after a long journey or a day full of sightseeing in Beijing.

To rest and recharge your batteries for the many activities in Beijing, I highly recommend trying a sleeping patch which is ideal for wearing just before bed or if you might just want to relax during the day. These skin-adhesive patches offer a new way to deliver Subtle Energies’ powerful aromatic actives, which are slowly released over a period of time. Blissful Sleep inhalation patch with 100% pure essential oils provides relaxation from stress, reduction of anxiety levels and subtle energy.

At The Peninsula Beijing Hotel you can enjoy a rich selection of international cuisines. I had the opportunity to enjoy the flavors of French and Chinese cuisine in restaurants Jing and Huang Ting restaurants with a Michelin star. Jing is the only Michelin-starred French restaurant in Beijing, appreciated by guests and foodies alike, Jing Restaurant at The Peninsula Beijing Hotel is one of the best recommendations as the perfect dining destination in Beijing. Michelin stars are awarded only to the best chefs around the world.

Securing one Michelin star for the third year in a row is an impressive achievement for Jing, helmed by chef William Mahi. Ying serves contemporary French gastronomy with subtle Asian influences paired with fine world wines and rare vintages of Champagne in an elegant space reminiscent of a secret garden. Integrated into the design of the new restaurant is Jing Bar, a sophisticated venue for drinking classic cocktails, as well as a large collection of craft gins and whiskeys from around the world.

Chef William delights guests by creating truly revolutionary culinary experiences, pairing creative modern presentations of seasonal ingredients with a thoughtful exploration of Chinese food cultures. Now available, Jing’s à la carte menu showcases Chef William’s inspiring gastronomic vision with unparalleled artistry. The food is served in a sophisticated setting that evokes a secret garden decorated with Chinese designs, allowing guests to enjoy a truly unforgettable experience of Michelin-starred French cuisine.

Inspired by his French origins and culinary education, head chef William always strives to preserve the original taste of each ingredient. Each of the dishes on the menu is carefully designed using sophisticated cooking techniques to create endless surprises for guests. Beautiful presentations invite guests to enjoy innovative French gastronomy with glamor and exceptional finesse.

On the other hand, the Cantonese restaurant Huang Ting at the Peninsula Hotel in Beijing (literally translated as “Court of the Phoenix”) as a Michelin-starred restaurant introduces new decorations, recreating the courtyards of traditional Beijing noble houses. The decor consists of gray brick walls, slate floors and antique pine, ivory and blue silk, as well as an impressive collection of antiques, most of which date back to the Qing Dynasty, to celebrate the traditional elegance of this type of residence.

The restaurant’s walls are constructed from reclaimed bricks from hutong courtyard houses, dating back several hundred years, sourced from demolition crews across Beijing. The wooden huang hua li chairs and tables are replicas of traditional Ming furniture designs. The pine floorboards and beams, sourced from a grand mansion in Suzhou, near Shanghai, and the heavy wooden front door with its iron handle and stitched design are over 200 years old. The restaurant has the capacity to host 140 people and is divided into two parts: the tea room at the entrance and the restaurant itself – and it also has four private dining rooms.

It was a great honor and pleasure for me to be a dear guest of The Peninsula Beijing Hotel and to experience only the best that this hotel can offer its guests. I may have been thousands of kilometers away from my home, but at The Peninsula Beijing, with a warm welcome and traditional Chinese hospitality, I felt like I was in my second home, where other values and traditions are nurtured, with the opportunity to learn something new and bring some new knowledge. and memories from distant China.

My dear travelers, we have come to the end of this second special travelogue in the series of travelogues about distant China where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the oldest hotel in the Chinese capital. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of The Peninsula Beijing Hotel the world airline company Turkish Airlines in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of ancient Chinese culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from China.

I would like to give a special thanks to the staff of The Peninsula Beijing Hotel for their warm welcome and hosting me at their hotel. The stay in their hotel was exceptional, a unique experience that I will remember!

A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way.

I am honored to have the opportunity to work with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank The Peninsula Beijing Hotel once again for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual Far Eastern culture in a completely different way.

People say that yellow is color of optimism and happiness and attracts positive energy, so I decided to take my FPM Milano Bank Zip Spinner 55 glacier grey cabin suitcase with grey leather details on my trip to Beijing which brought me good luck this year. Not only is it practical, lightweight, but it’s also a photogenic suitcase that many people asked me about at the airport where I bought it.

FPM Milano luggage offers travelers practicality and style, all in one trolley and backpack. Designed by Mark Sadler, these lightweight aluminum-clad and reinforced suitcases are inspired by vintage trunks, purpose-built to give you the durability you need on your travels. The combination of Avante-Garde materials and Italian design motifs give these FPM suitcases a robust and secure look.

This incredible FPM Milano Bank Zip Spinner 55 is made of 100% Makrolon© polycarbonate. The 4 wheels guarantee great stability and smoothness. The suitcase has a TSA lock incorporated (ideal for travelers to the USA) combined with a zipper closure with water resistant treatment. The elastic belt comes with the suitcase and closes with the iconic butterfly lock. The two handles are in Italian fine leather and are embellished with the FPM logo. The internal organization comes with a soft elastic belt with a buckle with FPM logo engraved on one side, and a zip pocket in the other side.ideal for 1-2 day trip.

This cheerful yellow butterfly elastic belt has changed the look of this trolley and it is an interesting accessories. You can choose your favorite color red of yellow and I believe you will be satisfied like me.

If you want to stay up to date and find out which models of suitcases and travel accessories the FPM Milano brand has in its offer, visit their official online store and follow them on the social networks Facebook and Instagram.

How did you like my story about the oldest hotel in China and the presentation of The Peninsula Beijing Hotel, which adorns the heart of this unusual capital of China? Have you had a chance to visit China so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

In the following stories from China, we will discover some other interesting sights that you should visit if your journey leads you to this capital of this ancient faraway land!

With Love from Beijing,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by world airline Turkish Airlines and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from China: Explore the Pearl of the Far East with Turkish Airlines

My dear travelers and fans of unique trips, welcome to the new series of long-awaited travelogues from China on the Mr.M blog. This May will be dedicated to one of the cradles of human civilization and a country with thousands of years of written history – China. At the very beginning of this series of travelogues, I would like to thank the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China and the leading Turkish airline Turkish Airlines for the kind invitation and hospitality. With their help, the travelogues and fashion stories that you will have the opportunity to read this May were created and I sincerely hope that you will enjoy them.

People who have been following the Mr.M blog for years know that traveling is my passion and an integral part of my job, and it is always necessary to have reliable partners. For this Far Eastern adventure, the leading Turkish and world airline, Turkish Airlines, proved to be the best choice due to the good flight schedule, as well as the short transfer time via Istanbul. You must be wondering why this is important? All travelers who fly from Belgrade or the Balkan region after a hard day’s work have the perfect connection time in Istanbul, where they can travel to Far Eastern destinations during the evening hours and thus reach their destination in the shortest possible time. In addition to saving time, travelers save on accommodation costs because they do not need to stay in a hotel.

Turkish Airlines is the Turkish national airline, which from 2022 operates regular flight services to 340 destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa and America, which makes it the largest major carrier in the world by the number of passenger destinations. Interestingly, Turkish Airlines serves more destinations with direct flights from one airport – Istanbul, than any other airline in the world and flies to 126 countries, more than any other airline.

Turkish Airlines provides comfort and delicious treats to all its passengers, whether they travel in economy or business class, which I had the opportunity to see for myself during my trip to China. My trip to China was divided into two parts, the first part of the journey from Belgrade to Istanbul I traveled in economy class, while the second part of the journey from Istanbul to Beijing was spent in business class.

The first flight on the route Belgrade – Istanbul was short, the duration of the flight is about an hour and a half, while the second flight on the route Istanbul – Beijing is significantly longer and lasts less than ten hours. Traveling in business class with Turkish Airlines you will feel an iconic Turkish hospitality in the clouds! In business class, Turkish Airlines makes your journey the most pleasant experience, with award-winning culinary masters, the latest in-flight entertainment system and comfortable seats. By choosing business class for your trip, you too can feel special in the sky and travel in comfort while enjoying the miles you have earned through the Miles&Smiles program.

Business class seats are specially designed for maximum comfort. Additional options that can increase your joy of travel are a reading lamp, a power supply for electronic devices and the ability to distance yourself from the noise and create your own little paradise in the sky. In business class, Turkish Airlines helps you sleep comfortably with fully flat seats and complimentary pillows and blankets. In addition, you get an amenity kit that contains a wide variety of items that you might find useful during your trip, such as an eye mask, ear plugs, lip balm and socks.

With its own power supply, the rotating desk reading lamp allows you to enjoy uninterrupted work or pleasure. Turkish Airlines in-flight entertainment system, you can enjoy the latest movies, music playlists and specially made documentaries about the destination country. Before passengers are introduced to the delicious dishes prepared by award-winning chefs on Turkish Airlines flights, passengers are given “welcome drinks”. In addition, all meals, which are served on modern porcelain dishes, are prepared and cooked according to the wishes of the passengers. Menus vary depending on the nature of the summer and are constantly being further refreshed and developed. In addition to enjoying the taste of exquisite food, you can browse the comprehensive menu of hot drinks and make your own selection or enjoy the journey with the taste of Turkish coffee and delights.

During the several-hour flight to China, I used the time to stretch my legs a bit and walk around the plane, so I saw for myself the comfort of economy class on longer flights. Turkish Airlines economy class privileges are available at affordable prices, where you can fit any trip into your budget. Economy class seats on longer international flights are comfortable, so there’s no need to think about comfort and you get everything you need to make your flight go as smoothly as possible from friendly cabin crew.

In one of the following posts, we will get to know the Istanbul Stopover program, which offers all Turkish Airlines passengers the opportunity to explore Istanbul. Passengers connecting via Istanbul Airport can enrich their trip by discovering the history and cultural life of the city with the Istanbul Stopover program and enjoy free accommodation in partner hotels.

I was honestly surprised by the fact that the flight to China was filled with international tourists, considering that the country has recently reopened to international tourism. That is why the team of the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China invited me as the first international online media after the pandemic to visit their country and feel the charm and beauty of the capital of China – Beijing.

I have to admit that the flight of almost ten hours “flew by” and that I landed in the capital of China with an entertainment system, delicious food and engrossed in working on the computer to prepare new stories for you on the blog.

China, officially the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is a country located in the heart of East Asia. It is the second most populous country in the world, with a population exceeding 1.4 billion. China spans five time zones and borders fourteen countries by land, the most of any country in the world, which is connected to Russia. With an area of approximately 9.6 million square kilometers, it is the third largest country in the world in terms of total land area. The country consists of 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities and two special areas – administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau). The national capital is Beijing, and the most populated city and largest financial center is Shanghai.

Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China, which with over 21 million inhabitants is the most populous national capital in the world and the second largest city in China after Shanghai. It is located in northern China and under the municipal direct administration of the State Council with 16 urban, suburban and rural districts. Beijing is mostly surrounded by Hebei province with the exception of neighboring Tianjin to the southeast. An interesting fact is that together these three divisions make up the megalopolis of Jingjinji and the capital region of China.

Beijing is widely recognized as a global city and one of the world’s leading centers for culture, diplomacy, politics, finance, business and economics, education, research, language, tourism, media, sports, science and technology, and transportation. As a large metropolis, Beijing is China’s second largest city in terms of population after Shanghai. It is home to most of China’s largest state-owned companies and hosts the largest number of companies. Beijing is also a major hub for the nation’s highway and high-speed rail networks. Beijing Capital International Airport is the second busiest in the world by passenger traffic (the busiest in Asia) as of 2010, and as of 2016 the city’s subway network is the busiest and longest in the world.

Wangfujing – the heart of Beijing, the main commercial street in the Chinese capital where you can see the most famous international brands

Wangfujing (translation from Chinese “Prince’s Palace Well”) is the most famous shopping street in Beijing, China, located in Dongcheng District, most of the main street is a pedestrian zone. There have been commercial activities in the area since the mid-Ming Dynasty. In the Qing Dynasty, ten aristocratic estates and princess residences were built here, soon after a well full of fresh water was discovered, giving the street the name “Wang Fu” (princely residence) and “Jing” (well). Wangfujing is currently home to about 280 stores. In this famous shopping street, you can enjoy shopping at malls like Beijing Department Store, Beijing apm, Beijing Mall and The Malls at Oriental Plaza, VF CENTRAL.

Not far from this main shopping street was my hotel The Peninsula Beijing, the first luxury 5* hotel in China when it opened as The Palace Hotel in 1989. I will write more about this amazing hotel in one of the next travelogues from China.

The Peninsula Beijing luxury 5* Hotel in the heart of Beijing

Combining modern and traditional architecture, Beijing is one of the oldest cities in the world, with a rich history dating back over three thousand years. As the last of China’s four great ancient capitals, Beijing was the country’s political center for most of the last eight centuries and the world’s largest city by population for much of the second millennium AD. With mountains surrounding the inner city on three sides, in addition to the old inner and outer city walls, Beijing was strategically placed and developed to be the residence of the emperor and was therefore the perfect location for the imperial capital.

The Forbidden City

The city is known for its lavish palaces, temples, parks, gardens, tombs, walls and gates. Beijing is one of the world’s most important tourist destinations. In 2018, Beijing was the second-highest tourist-earning city in the world after Shanghai. Beijing is home to many national monuments and museums and has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites — the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, the Ming Tombs, Zhoukoudian and parts of the Great Wall and the Grand Canal, all of which are extremely popular with world tourists. Siheyuans, a traditional urban style of housing, and hutongs, the narrow alleyways between the siheyuans, are major tourist attractions and are common in urban Beijing.

Beijing is famous for its siheyuans, a type of residence where a common courtyard is shared by surrounding buildings. Among the grander examples are Prince Gong’s Mansion and Soong Ching-ling’s residence. These courtyards are usually connected by alleys called hutongs. Hutongs are generally flat and run from east to west, so the doors face north and south for good Feng Shui. They differ in width. some are even so narrow that only a few pedestrians can pass through them.

Three styles of architecture predominate in urban Beijing. First, there is the traditional architecture of Imperial China, perhaps best exemplified by the massive Tian’anmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace), which remains a trademark of the People’s Republic of China, the Forbidden City, the Temple of the Imperial Ancestors, and the Temple of Heaven. The second style, sometimes called the “Sino-Soviet” style, with structures that tend to be boxy and sometimes poorly built, was built between the 1950s and 1970s. Finally, there are many more modern architectural forms, most noticeable in the Beijing Central District area in eastern Beijing, such as the new headquarters of China Central Television, alongside buildings elsewhere in the city such as the Beijing National Stadium and the National Performing Arts Center.

Tiananmen Square or Tian’anmen Square (“Gate of Heavenly Peace”)

In the following travelogues, you will get to know some of the famous sights such as the Gate of Heavenly Peace, the Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall of China… I am sure that this will be one of the most interesting adventures that you have had the opportunity to see so far on the Mr.M blog!

My dear travelers, we have come to the end of this first special travelogue in a series of travelogues about China where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this unusual country in the heart of East Asia. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of the Ministry of Tourism of the People’s Republic of China – Visit China, the world airline company Turkish Airlines and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of ancient Chinese culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions about this unusual experience from China with Turkish Airlines.

The Temple of Heaven

A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way.

I am honored to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank Turkish Airlines once again for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual Far Eastern culture in a completely different way.

The Summer Palace

How did you like my story about China and the presentation of the capital Beijing, which adorns the heart of this unusual country in East Asia? Have you had a chance to visit China so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

In the following stories from China, we will discover some other interesting sights that you should visit if your journey leads you to this capital of this ancient faraway country!

With Love from Beijing,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by world airline Turkish Airlines, Visit China and The Peninsula Beijing Hotel as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Qatar: The National Museum, a modern landmark that invites everyone to explore Qatar’s culture

My dear travelers and lovers of unique trips, welcome to a new adventure on the Mr.M blog! Today’s travelogue will be the last in a series of travelogues from the State of Qatar. I sincerely hope you enjoyed this Qatar adventure and put this extraordinary country in the Middle East on your bucket-list of countries to visit in the future. This country deserves more tourists and Doha is much more than a city that has an international airport and you should take the time to explore it, as I tried to show you in my previous travelogues.

If by any chance you missed reading the previous travelogues or want to remind yourself of some interesting things about Doha, take the opportunity to visit the following links:

  1. Doha: The city where the future has already arrived
  2. The Souq Waqif and Cruise: Relax and experience the oriental spirit of Doha

At the very beginning of this last post in the series of travelogues about Qatar, I would like to thank Visit Qatar for the kind invitation and an amazing hospitality experience. With their help, the travelogues and fashion stories that you had the opportunity to read this April were created, and I sincerely hope that you enjoyed them.

The National Museum of Qatar is a national museum in the capital of the State of Qatar – Doha. The new building opened to the public on March 28, 2019, replacing the previous building that was officially opened in 1975. This modern magnificent edifice was designed by architect Jean Nouvel who was inspired by the desert rose crystal found in Qatar. The site of the museum includes the palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Yassim Al Thani, which is the heart of Qatar’s national identity. Since 2013, the director of the museum is Sheika Amna.

Sheikha Amna bint Abdulaziz bin Jassim Al Thani is the director of the Qatar National Museum who is a well-known businesswoman in Qatar and the Middle East. Prior to her work at the National Museum of Qatar, Sheikha Amna worked in the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs in the Qatar Financial Center. Before she was appointed director of the National Museum of Qatar under construction in 2013, she previously coordinated the Board of Directors of the future museum. The conceptual vision and operation of the museum was developed in cooperation with the people of Qatar during the previous decade before its opening.

During many years of consultation, the main conceptual concepts were developed that were used in the final appearance of the museum. However, Sheikha Amna once said that this space “is not a classic exhibition space, but a journey, which, like any real journey, does not just take people from one place to another. The museum in itself will be a story about the past of the people of Qatar”. The new museum also involved the people of Qatar to add contemporary contributions to the museum’s collection. Later in 2020, Sheikha Amna collaborated with collectors and historians to showcase Qatar’s automotive history in an exhibition at the museum.

During the tour of the museum, visitors have the feeling of moving through an unusual labyrinth of galleries that deal with three main, interconnected themes. The galleries are arranged in chronological order, starting with exhibitions on the natural history of the desert and the Persian Gulf, artifacts from Bedouin culture, historical exhibitions on tribal wars, the establishment of the Qatari state and finally the discovery of oil to the present and planned future of Qatar. Exhibitions and installations that explore these themes present audiovisual displays with carefully selected treasures from the museum’s collections.

These collections currently consist of approximately 8,000 items and include archaeological artefacts, architectural elements, household and travel heirlooms from personal collections, such as textiles and costumes, jewellery, decorative arts, books and numerous historical documents.

The mission of the National Museum of Qatar is to celebrate the culture, heritage and future of Qatar and its people, depicting the pride and tradition of Qatar, while offering international visitors a dialogue about rapid change and modernization. Since its opening, the museum has housed materials signifying Qatar’s cultural heritage, such as Bedouin ethnographic materials, maritime artifacts, and environmental items. Ancient artefacts, most of which are of local origin, are also housed in the museum.

Before oil, the inhabitants of the Arabian Gulf coast depended economically on diving in search of natural pearls. Mainly European and North American demand dictated the success or failure of each pearling season. Before large-scale exploitation of the region’s oil reserves began in the 1950s, pearl diving was the primary economic activity along the Arabian Gulf coast. Pearls have been harvested from the waters of the Gulf since time immemorial, but it was not until the mid-nineteenth century that the industry grew rapidly to meet increasing global demand.

Pearls from the Gulf were traded with India, Persia and the Ottoman Empire, and then on to Europe and North America, where the aristocracy and the emerging middle class considered pearls to be luxury items to make into jewelry and clothing. By the second half of the nineteenth century, the pearl trade in the Gulf had grown to the point where it united people of all backgrounds.

There is a historical saying that Sheikh Mohammed bin Thani of Qatar said in 1877: “We are all slaves to one master – Pearls.” Pearl diving in the Gulf was a seasonal activity that took place during the summer period. Each season, dozens of pearling boats set sail from ports such as Manama, Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi to the shellfish-rich coastal shores.

British archaeologist Beatrice de Cardi and her team were tasked with undertaking expeditions to Qatar from November 1973 to January 1974 to collect artefacts for museum display. Their most significant discoveries were at the site of Al Daas, which contained numerous Neolithic Ubaid pottery sherds. Artifacts from earlier Danish expeditions launched during the 1950s and 1960s, previously housed in the Doha Public Library, were also displayed at the museum. The Museum’s Department of Antiquities played an active role in research and excavations after the end of De Cardi’s expedition. They excavated the archaeological sites of Al Wusail and Zubarah.

Materials documenting Bedouin ethnography cover a wide range of topics. Certain items on display were historically used by the Bedouins as tools and weapons, while other items included jewelry, pottery, and costumes. Traditional songs are presented in the museum; the most prominent are the works composed by Katari ibn al-Fuja’a and the former Emir Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani. In 2015, Sheikh Mubarak bin Saif Al Thani presented the first written draft of the Qatari national anthem at the National Museum.

When Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani ascended the throne in 1972, he made plans for a national museum to document the country’s heritage and traditions. In the same year, he contracted a company to design the structural and functional aspects of the museum. It was decided that the building would include the Old Amiri Palace, a dilapidated palace from the beginning of the 20th century that was previously occupied by the former emir of Qatar, Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani. The lagoon was also created to provide a place to display traditional dhows and pearl equipment.

Originally named the National Museum of Qatar, it opened on June 23, 1975. Originally, its facilities included a 100-seat auditorium and a library. In 1980, the museum received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. The royal palace around which the museum is built was renovated in 2015 in preparation for the opening of the new museum.

The new museum building was built on the site of the old building. It was designed by architect Jean Nouvel, who was inspired by the desert rose, which grows around the original twentieth-century palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Yassim Al Thani. This important monument to Qatar’s past is now preserved as the heart of the new Qatar National Museum. The connected relationship between the new building and the old building is part of creating a bridge between the past and the present that Sheikh Al Mayas advocates as a way to “define ourselves instead of being forever defined by others” and to “celebrate our Qatari identity”.

Covering more than 40,000 square meters, the National Museum of Qatar consists of interconnected discs that create cavities to protect visitors from the desert heat. Located on a site occupying the southern end of Doha – the Corniche, the building of the NMoQ rises from the sea and is connected to the coast by two pedestrian bridges and a road bridge.

The museum was originally planned to open in 2016, but its opening was postponed to March 28, 2019. World magazine Time named it one of the world’s greatest places to visit in 2019, citing the integration of “impressive video screens and dioramas” alongside Jean Nouvel’s architectural design. It is an interesting fact that the National Museum was visited by slightly less than half a million visitors in less than a year after its opening. The museum attracts people because it shows the history of Qatar not through paintings and sculptures, but through lights, sounds and visuals that are characteristic of the 21st century.

During my visit to this incredible museum, I had the opportunity to visit a unique traveling exhibition of the famous French fashion house Hermès – “Harnessing the Roots”. Over time, everything at Hermès changes, every mechanism, shape, type of binding, suspension or buckle, originally conceived to equip a saddle or belt, is transferred and transformed, playing a role in the design of a completely new object, because lifestyles evolve, and with them and the wants and needs of its customers.

For “Harnessing the Roots”, Bruno Gaudichon, curator of the Museum of Art and Industry of La Piscine and Laurence Fontaine, scenographer, decided to compare the objects displayed through a thematic narrative, in order to reveal the connections and dialogue that has always existed between the objects. The five themes are: Brides de Gala, The Horse and His Staff, The Saddle, Buckled, and Ties and Belts. All the creations featured in the exhibition come from three different sources. The first is the Emile Hermès Collection – a collection of treasures and small curiosities, located in the Hermès flagship at 24 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honore in Paris, which Emile Hermès built during his lifetime. The second source is the Conservatory of House Creations, and the third and final source is the collections of contemporary fashion, lifestyle and accessories.

These items are complemented by a documentary archive and a film from 1962 in which Robert Dumas, heir and director of Hermès from 1951 to 1978, explains the art of saddle making. It is this interweaving of materials, stories and techniques that reveals the fantasy and magic of Hermès.

My dear adventurers, we have come to the end of this special travelogue in the series of travelogues about Qatar where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this unusual country on the Arabian Peninsula. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of Visit Qatar and Marsa Malaz Kempinski Hotel in collaboration with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Qatari culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Qatar.

I would like to especially thank the staff of the Marsa Malaz Kempinski Hotel for their warm welcome and hosting me in their property. The stay in their hotel was exceptional, where I felt the warmth of home!

A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way.

I am honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank the Visit Qatar for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual Qatari culture in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about National Museum of Qatar and the presentation of the capital Doha, which adorns the heart of this unusual country on the Arabian Peninsula? Have you had the chance to visit Qatar so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

In the following travelogues, we will discover some other interesting landmarks that you should visit if your journey takes you to capital of China!

Greetings from Doha,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by Qatar Tourism and Marsa Malaz Kempinski Hotel as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Qatar: Doha, the City where the Future has already arrived…

My dear travelers, welcome to the new series of travelogues in 2023. The month of April will be dedicated to the country where the future has already arrived – Qatar. At the very beginning of this series of travelogues, I would like to thank Visit Qatar for the kind invitation and hospitality. With their help, the travelogues and fashion stories that you will have the opportunity to read this April were created and I sincerely hope that you will enjoy them as I truly enjoyed making them for you.

Qatar, the formal name of the State of Qatar is a country in Western Asia. It occupies the Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East. The state of Qatar shares its only land border with Saudi Arabia in the south, while the rest of the territory is surrounded by the Persian Gulf. The Gulf of Bahrain, the entrance to the Persian Gulf, separates Qatar from nearby Bahrain. The capital is Doha, home to more than 80% of the country’s population, and the land area is mostly flat, low-lying desert.

Doha is the capital city and the main cultural, social and financial center of Qatar. Located on the coast of the Persian Gulf in the east of the country, north of Al Wakrah and south of Al Khur, it is home to the majority of the country’s population. It is also the fastest growing city in Qatar, with over 80% of the nation’s population living in Doha or the surrounding suburbs.

How was the capital of Qatar created? Doha was founded in the 1820s as an offshoot of Al Bidda. It was officially declared the country’s capital in 1971, when Qatar gained independence from the British protectorate. As the commercial capital of Qatar and one of the emerging financial centers of the Middle East, Doha is considered a Beta Level Global City by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Doha is home to Education City, an area dedicated to research and education, and Hamad Medical City, an administrative area for medical care.

Doha has always hosted major world events, and the latest to mark the country’s history is the famous FIFA Qatar 2022 – World Cup. This was truly a historic event for this richest country in the world and believe me it could be felt even in March of this year because everywhere there were symbols of this amazing world event of which the people of Qatar are extremely proud.

The team of the Ministry of Tourism tried their best to give me an extraordinary opportunity to experience Qatar in a completely different way where I had the possibility to travel through time and get to know the culture, heritage and sights of Qatar.

The first stop during my visit to Qatar was Heenat Salma Farm. Heenat Salma is an eco-farm and camp, located in Shahaniya, northwest of Doha. It is a revolutionary multidisciplinary project dedicated to holistic methods in agriculture, architecture and community development.

They have successfully transformed a local conventional farm into an organic permaculture center that grows desert-friendly plants and vegetables, diversifying local food production and contributing to the renewable, homegrown food supply in Qatar and beyond. The Heenat Salma Farm team is aware of the fact that as individual small companies their impact is significantly limited, but as a small community they can initiate change that encourages meaningful action across borders. In addition to agriculture, the farm is a place for hospitality, vocational training, education, craftsmanship, master classes and wellness spas – each field supports and enhances the other.

Heenat Salma Farm opened its doors in 2019, when the Caravane Earth Foundation brought together a group of dedicated experts in agronomy, architecture and water infrastructure to develop a holistic farm model and ten-year strategy aimed at transforming a conventional farm into a center for regenerative agriculture.

As the program progressed, they realized that there was an opportunity not only to support innovative positive farming techniques, but also to form a special community based on hospitality and education. When you are hosted by Heenat Salma, you will experience a holistic environment specially designed to bring you closer to a new special environment, to expose you to natural beauty and interest in a new wellness experience as well as educational activities.

Heenat Salma Farm‘s work is founded on a commitment to agriculture, climate and well-being, Heenat Salma is genuinely and deeply concerned about the ongoing deterioration of all of them. All of the farm’s activities are their best way to try to solve the problem according to their capabilities, to direct the initiatives towards a positive impact on people locally and globally. Through tangible approaches, the farm functions as a prototype as they examine and test new ways of implementing change. Heenat Salma addresses urgent issues, such as the impact of the climate crisis on immigration, through the search for sustainable solutions that lead to higher and fairer wages, increased interconnectedness, and new forms of knowledge exchange.

Guest accommodations at Heenat Salma Farm are designed to positively impact and shape the way guests feel. A fine blend of precious, natural materials creates a very special atmosphere that is both subtle and classic. The particular setting of the farm favors the tactile over the visual, creating depth through texture. Here you can experience an unusual and special experience of being in the desert.

The Heenat Salma team is fully focused on all human senses to create evocative experiences and memories for their guests who appreciate immersion in real life and human connection, as well as some good stories behind every cup of tea.

Guest accommodation at Heenat Salma Farm consists of 48 luxuriously furnished 40 square meter tents that are elegant and spacious, furnished with local handmade furniture and have an open bathroom with shower, as well as a private garden.

The Heenat Salma Farma team cultivates an aesthetic of neutral colors that are pleasing to the human eye and simply timeless. Unlike the vivid palettes and bold wallpapers of posh hotels, their fine blend of natural and precious materials creates a very special atmosphere that is subtle and classic, making guests feel as if they are in the warmth of their own home.

Working with the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at Qatar University and the Ministry of Municipalities and Environment, Heenat Salma Farma strives to share the principles of organic farming with farmers, local people, landowners and policy makers. Heenat Salma practices regenerative agriculture, the practice of cultivating and maintaining vital soil. For the soil to yield vital products, it must first be alive. This is in stark contrast to the extensive use of chemical fertilizers and the industrialization of agriculture, which has led to soil erosion and water scarcity, along with a global loss of the vitality, resilience and nutritional value of the crops we eat.

Heenat Salma’s holistic methods will offer an alternative model, allowing the farm to be fully sustained without the use of any chemicals. The farm also practices simple techniques that bring animal waste, plant waste and soil into a healthy relationship, turning each element into fertility in the farm’s organism. The production of natural fertilizers, collected using what is available on the farm, can potentially eliminate dependence on chemical fertilizers, allowing the soil to move towards a natural balance and resilience.

After an interesting and pleasant stay at the farm in the morning, it was time for the next activity – Desert Safari in the Inland Sea. Yes, you read that right, you have the opportunity to discover an extraordinary desert landscape where sand dunes flow into the azure waters of the Inland Sea. This is an unusual adventure where you can travel through exciting sand dunes to Khor Al Adaid, a large tidal inlet known for its outstanding natural heritage value.

The Inland Sea or Khor Al Adaid as the locals like to call it is an extraordinary landscape with sand dunes and a seabed that will leave you wanting more. Located on the southeastern side of Qatar, this site is recognized by UNESCO as Qatar’s largest nature reserve. The reserve is home to wildlife, marine life and vegetation. Enjoy spotting turtles, flamingos, dugongs, Arabian oryx, camels and more.

According to historical records, Bedouin tribes roamed the desert, setting up camps while grazing their animals and engaging in trade. Today, this tradition remains ingrained in Qatari culture, with the annual winter camping season, or Al Enna, where locals venture into the desert in elaborate camps, returning to the land. The desert is an integral part of the local culture and boasts a surprising array of activities. From relaxing tent side to dune boating or parasailing, the desert is anything but an ordinary space painted in beige.

The impressive Inland Sea or Khor Al Adaid is one of the few places in the world where the sea encroaches on the desert. For a truly authentic desert experience, nothing beats driving over the soft dunes, before embarking on an exciting desert safari across the dunes to Khor Al Adaid, which can only be accessed by special jeeps. A favorite Qatari pastime, visitors can enjoy day, evening or night camping in the desert. Doha is waiting for you, so you can always #FeelMoreInQatar.

After an exciting experience and an unusual safari in the Inland Sea, it was time for a lunch break where I had the opportunity to visit Al Majles Resort where you can spend the night in addition to your lunch break, but due to my busy schedule I was not able to spend more time. Staying in this exceptional resort is fascinating and you have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the blue sea and soft sand.

My dear adventurers, we have come to the end of this first special travelogue in the series of travelogues about Qatar where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this unusual country on the Arabian Peninsula. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of Visit Qatar and Marsa Malaz Kempinski Hotel in collaboration with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Qatari culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Qatar.

I would like to especially thank the staff of the Marsa Malaz Kempinski Hotel for their warm welcome and hosting me in their property. The stay in their hotel was exceptional, where I felt the warmth of home!

People say that yellow is color of optimism and happiness and attracts positive energy, so I decided to take my FPM Milano Bank Zip Spinner 55 glacier grey cabin suitcase with grey leather details on my trip to Doha which brought me good luck this year. Not only is it practical, lightweight, but it’s also a photogenic suitcase that many people asked me about at the airport where I bought it.

FPM Milano luggage offers travelers practicality and style, all in one trolley and backpack. Designed by Mark Sadler, these lightweight aluminum-clad and reinforced suitcases are inspired by vintage trunks, purpose-built to give you the durability you need on your travels. The combination of Avante-Garde materials and Italian design motifs give these FPM suitcases a robust and secure look.

This incredible FPM Milano Bank Zip Spinner 55 is made of 100% Makrolon© polycarbonate. The 4 wheels guarantee great stability and smoothness. The suitcase has a TSA lock incorporated (ideal for travelers to the USA) combined with a zipper closure with water resistant treatment. The elastic belt comes with the suitcase and closes with the iconic butterfly lock. The two handles are in Italian fine leather and are embellished with the FPM logo. The internal organization comes with a soft elastic belt with a buckle with FPM logo engraved on one side, and a zip pocket in the other side.ideal for 1-2 day trip.

This cheerful yellow butterfly elastic belt has changed the look of this trolley and it is an interesting accessories. You can choose your favorite color red of yellow and I believe you will be satisfied like me.

If you want to stay up to date and find out which models of suitcases and travel accessories the FPM Milano brand has in its offer, visit their official online store and follow them on the social networks Facebook and Instagram.

A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way.

I am honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank the Visit Qatar for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual Qatari culture in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about Qatar and the presentation of the capital Doha, which adorns the heart of this unusual country on the Arabian Peninsula? Have you had the chance to visit Qatar so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

In the following stories from Doha, we will discover some other interesting sights that you should visit if your journey takes you to this faraway land!

Greetings from Doha,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Qatar Tourism and Marsa Malaz Kempinski Hotel as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Jordan: Aqaba and Dead Sea, Pearls from the South!

My dear travellers and lovers of unusual trips, I hope you are well and ready to continue our adventure in Jordan! Today’s post is special and a bit sentimental as this is the last travelogue in the series of posts Letters from Jordan. This post will wrap up my Jordan adventure and I would like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful messages and numerous questions about the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. I sincerely hope that I managed to solve all your doubts and that your next destination will be this unusual country!

For all my dear travellers and fashionistas who didn’t get to read my previous travelogues and fashion stories from Jordan on the Mr.M blog or want to remind yourself of some details, take a few minutes of your time and visit the post on the following links:

  1. The story about Amman and Jerash (travelogue)
  2. The story of Petra (travelogue)
  3. The story from Wadi Rum with Fratelli Rossetti (fashion story)
  4. The Fashionable Royal Blue adventure in Aqaba (fashion story)
  5. The story of Wadi Rum, the Moon Desert Princess (travelogue)
  6. The story of Petra with Loro Piana (fashion story)

Today I will share with you my experience in Aqaba and Dead Sea and I would like to thank the Visit Jordan for the kind invitation and the amazing experience to get to know Jordanian culture and customs.

Aqaba is the only seaport in the Kingdom of Jordan, as well as the largest and most populated city in the Gulf of Aqaba. Located in the southernmost part of Jordan, Aqaba is the administrative center of Aqaba Governorate. Today, over 150,000 people live in the city. Aqaba plays a major role in the development of the Jordanian economy, through vibrant trade and tourism sectors. The port of Aqaba also serves other countries in the region. Aqaba’s ideal strategic location on the northeastern part of the Red Sea between the continents of Asia and Africa has made its port important for thousands of years.

The ancient city that was located in the area of today’s Aqaba was called Elat, adopted in Latin as Aela and in Arabic as Aila. Its strategic location and proximity to copper mines made it a regional hub for copper production and trade in the Chalcolithic period. Aela became a diocese under Byzantine rule and later became a Latin Catholic titular see after the Islamic conquest around 650 AD, when it became known as Ayla. The name Akaba appears in the Middle Ages. The Battle of Aqaba in the Great Arab Revolt, depicted in the film Lawrence of Arabia, resulted in a victory for the Arab forces over the Ottoman defenders.

Aqaba, next to Wadi Rum and Petra, is located in the famous golden Jordanian tourist triangle, which strengthened the location of the city on the world map and made it one of the main tourist attractions of the Kingdom of Jordan. The city is governed by the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, which has turned Aqaba into a low-tax, duty-free city, attracting several mega projects such as Aila Oasis, Saraya Aqaba, Marsa Zayed and the expansion of Aqaba Port. It is expected to turn the city into a major tourist center in the region. However, industrial and commercial activities remain important, due to the city’s strategic position as the only seaport in the country. The city is located just across the border from Eilat, also Israel’s only port on the Red Sea. After the 1994 Israeli-Jordanian peace accord, there were plans and hopes for the establishment of a cross-border tourism and economic zone, but few of these plans came to fruition.

Since I know how much you love to read interesting historical facts, I made sure to find out how the only seaport in Jordan got its name. The name of the city was anciently Elat, Ailat. The name is probably derived from the Semitic name of a tree from the genus Pistacia. Modern Eilat (founded in 1947), located about 5 km northwest of Aqaba, is also named after an ancient settlement. In the Hellenistic period it was renamed Berenice, but the original name survived, and under Roman rule it was reintroduced in the forms Aila, Aela or Haila, adopted in Byzantine Greek as Aila Aila and in Arabic as Ayla, while the Crusaders called the city Elin.

The current name of Aqaba is shortened from ʿakabat Ailah – “mountain pass of Ailah”, which was first mentioned by Idrisi in the 12th century, at a time when the settlement was mainly reduced to a military stronghold, exactly referring to the pass northeast of the settlement.

Aqaba has a number of luxury hotels, including Tala Bay Resort, that cater to those who come to have fun on the beaches as well as to dive. It also offers activities that take advantage of its desert location. Its many cafes offer mansaf and knafeh and baklava desserts. Another very popular place is the Turkish bath (Hamam) built in 306 AD, where locals and visitors come to relax after a hot and tiring day.

Aqaba has been chosen as the site of a new waterfront construction project that would renovate Aqaba with new artificial water features, new high-rise residential and commercial buildings, and more tourism services to put Aqaba on the investment map and challenge other centers of waterfront development throughout the region. Aqaba was chosen as the best Arab tourist city in 2011.

During the five-day holiday at the end of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha, Jordanian and Western expatriates flock to the city with numbers reaching up to 50,000 visitors. During that time, the occupancy rate of most hotels there reaches as high as 90% and they are often fully booked.

The fact that Aqaba is the only coastal city in Jordan has successfully created a distinctive cuisine compared to other Jordanian cities. Main dishes include Saiadeiah, a combination of rice, fish and spices, a dish common in Arabian coastal cities. Kishnah is a famous dish that includes fish, tomatoes and onions cooked together. Bukhari dish consists of rice, meat, hummus beans, ghee and spices popular in wedding ceremonies. Treats in Aqaba include Al-Hooh, which consists of layers of pastry filled with nuts or dates that are then fried in ghee and dipped in sugar syrup. Dates and ghee, which consists of fresh dates dipped in ghee, is a simple dessert that is also commonly presented to all tourists.

The Dead Sea, also known by other names, is a salt lake bordered by Jordan on the east and Israel and the West Bank. It lies in the valley of the Jordan River, and at the same time its main tributary is the Jordan River.

The lake is located about 430 meters below sea level, which makes the shores of the Dead Sea the lowest altitude on Earth. It is 304 meters deep and is the deepest hyper-saline lake in the world. With a salinity of 342 g/kg, or 34.2%, it is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, almost 10 times saltier than the ocean and has a density of 1.24 kg/l, making swimming akin to floating. This salinity creates a harsh environment where plants and animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The main, northern basin of the Dead Sea is 50 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide at its widest point.

Since you know that I can’t swim, you must be wondering how I dared to enter the lake, since we know that lakes can be quite deep… After reading numerous articles in which scientists claimed that it was simply impossible that due to the salinity of the lake itself a man drowns, I decided to see for myself.

There are rules that you must follow if you want to feel the beauty and healing of this lake in a healthy way. Staying in the water is limited due to salinity.

What does it actually look like to have a Spa relaxing day on the Dead Sea? When you get to the lake you can stay in it for between 10 and 15 minutes, don’t get the area around your eyes and mouth wet because of the salt! After that, you can apply a layer of healing mud from the Dead Sea, which has many positive properties that can help people who have problems with some skin diseases. It is recommended to leave the mud on the body to dry for up to 20 minutes and after that period you can re-enter the Dead Sea to remove the mud more easily with the help of salt from the lake and take a good shower with plain water. It is recommended to do this once, maximum twice a day. If you have sensitive skin like me, my honest recommendation is to do this once a day or once every 2/3 days due to the salinity.

The interesting thing is that it was the Dead Sea that attracted visitors from the entire Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. It was one of the world’s first spas and supplied a wide range of products, from asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizer. Today, tourists visit the lake on its shores in Israel, Jordan and the West Bank.

The Dead Sea area has become a location for numerous health researches and a place for potential treatment of some diseases. The mineral content of the water, the low content of pollen and other allergens in the atmosphere, the reduced ultraviolet component of solar radiation and the higher atmospheric pressure at this great depth can have specific health effects. For example, people who have reduced respiratory function due to diseases such as cystic fibrosis benefit from increased atmospheric pressure.

The climate and low altitude of the region have made it a popular center for certain therapies:

Climatotherapy: A treatment that uses local climatic characteristics such as temperature, humidity, sunshine, barometric pressure and special atmospheric constituents
Heliotherapy: A treatment that uses the biological effects of solar radiation
Thalassotherapy: A treatment that uses bathing in the water of the Dead Sea

Climatotherapy at the Dead Sea can be a therapy for psoriasis by prolonged sunbathing in the area due to its location below sea level and the subsequent result that UV rays are partially blocked by the increased thickness of the atmosphere.

Patients with rhinosinusitis who received nasal irrigation with Dead Sea saline showed improved symptom relief compared to standard hypertonic saline spray in one study.

Dead Sea mud therapy has been suggested to temporarily relieve pain in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. According to researchers at Ben Gurion University, treatment with mineral-enriched mud packs can be used to augment conventional medical therapy.

What does relaxation and rest look like when you apply mud from the Dead Sea. The picture was taken with the permission of all family members.

In the picture above, you can see a family enjoying their vacation at the Dead Sea and what the drying period of the mud looks like when applied to the skin. Today, the Dead Sea has become an ideal tourist destination for generations because everyone wants to experience the healing properties of the Dead Sea.

A clock located at the entrance to the lake where you can track your time in the water.
This is the area for swimming in the Dead Sea at the Kempinski Ishtar Hotel Resort

My dear travellers, we have come to the end of the last special fourth travelogue about the Kingdom of Jordan where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the only sea port of Aqaba and the lowest point on Earth – the Dead Sea. This series of travelogues would not be possible without the selfless help of the Jordan Tourism Board – Visit Jordan in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Jordanian culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Jordan.

I would like to especially thank the staff of the Kempinski Aqaba and Kempinski Ishtar Dead Sea hotels for their warm welcome and having me in their incredible hotels. The stay in their hotels was exceptional, where I felt the warmth of my own home! Top full service that can be expected in 5* star hotels, pleasant staff, exceptional food, I have to put a special emphasis on the sweets! 🙂

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual country in Western Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about Aqaba and the Dead Sea? Have you had the chance to visit Jordan so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT ME page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With love from Jordan,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Visit Jordan, as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Jordan: Wadi Rum, The Moon Desert Princess…

My dear travellers and lovers of unique trips, I hope you are well and ready to continue our adventure in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Today I have a special story about Wadi Rum, Jordan’s famous thee moon desert princess.

For all my dear travellers and fashionistas who didn’t get to read my previous travelogues and fashion stories from Jordan on the Mr.M blog or want to remind yourself of some details, take a few minutes of your time and visit the post on the following links:

  1. The story about Amman and Jerash (travelogue)
  2. The story of Petra (travelogue)
  3. The story from Wadi Rum with Fratelli Rossetti (fashion story)
  4. The Fashionable Royal Blue adventure in Aqaba (fashion story)

Today I will share with you my adventure in Wadi Rum and I would like to thank the Visit Jordan for the kind invitation and the amazing experience to get to know Jordanian culture and customs.