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R is for Red Panda

by Sienna Hargreaves

A Beijing Alphabet

A is for 798 Art Zone


A wonderful place

with sights to see

there´s paintings of all kinds 

maybe even of trees


     The Art Zone was originally a storage place for the company North China Wireless Joint Equipment Factory. The company eventually transferred to a new location.  When the company moved they left behind their building and storage area.  Some artists took advantage of that space and transformed it into art. They drew on the walls, painted pictures, made sculptures, and turned the place into an art museum.  This art attracted people (and still does) from all around.

     This place is located in the Dashanzi area in Beijing, China.  The Art District contains tons and tons of different art exhibits, galleries, and museums inside of it.  If you come here you may get the chance to see the art festivals they hold every year.  It is visited by thousands of tourists and locals .  It contains many different types of art like sculptures, paintings, ceramics, and so much more!



B is for Beijing Zoo

The giant panda             

Is a sight to behold                

This zoo is fantastic       

Even though it is old

     The Beijing Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in all of China.  It was made around a thousand years ago in 1906.  It was renamed The Beijing Zoo in 1955. Before it became a zoo it was originally an imperial manor during the Ming dynasty.  In 1906 they established an experimental farm and purchased some animals for it.  The farm became popular when it opened to the public in 1908.  In 1911 after the Qing dynasty was overthrown, the zoo became a national botanical garden.

     The zoo is home to 14,500 animals and 950 animal species.  The zoo has over 450 species of land animals and over 500 different species of marine animals.  More than 6 million people visit the Beijing Zoo every year.  The zoo is also a center of zoological research that studies and breeds rare animals from various continents.  The Beijing Zoo is also known for all its rare animals.  They have everything from tigers to zebras.


C is for Confucius Temple


    This temple is where people paid respect to Confucius.  It was constructed in 1302.  He was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher.  He was also the greatest thinker and educationalist in all of ancient China.  The Confucius Temple is the second largest temple that was made for Confucius.  The temple was expanded repeatedly over a period of more than 2,000 years until it became the huge temple currently standing. 

     The Confucius Temple contains many amazing statues, paintings, and courtyards.  It also has a hallway filled with the names of 51,624 scholars and 14 stone stele pavilions that hold various historical documents of ancient China.  The Confucius Temple has many other names such as: The Temple of Confucius, the Temple of Literature, the Temple of the Sage of Literature, and the Hall of the Sage.  It stands on Guozijian Street right near the Imperial Academy.



The Confucius Temple

Is a sight to behold

It is amazing

Even though it’s old

D is for Dajue Temple

This temple is

Very beautiful

With four cool statues

That sure are wonderful

     The Dajue Temple was built in 1068 and was originally named the Clear water Temple.  The name Clear Water Temple was based on a stream that ran through the temple grounds.  It was later renamed, Lingquan Temple.  It was originally founded in the 11th century.  It was rebuilt once in the year 1428.  Inside contains statues of the four heavenly kings of Dajue Temple.  The Dajue Temple eventually opened to the public in 1992.

     The Dajue Temple is located in the Haidian District of Beijing.  It contains three main halls, a pagoda, a gate, and various side halls.  The temple is also called a few different names such as the Temple of Enlightenment.  Every year the Dajue Temple holds a festival called the Magnolia Festival.  It was completed in the 15th century during the Ming Dynasty.


Even though it’s airtight

you can still speak through the wall.

It’s about 1 yard thick

and around 12 feet tall.

E is for Echo Wall

The Echo Wall has a cool special trick.  If you talk on one side of the wall someone on the other side would be able to hear you clearly.  This is because of the way the bricks are placed.  The bricks are laid in a way that makes the wall airtight.  This is because of the conductibility of sound waves.  They named it the Echo Wall because it looks like the wall is talking to you and not another person.  The Echo Wall also has other names, such as the Whispering Wall.  The Echo Wall surrounds the famous Temple of Heaven.  The wall is 90 centimeters thick (about 1 yard thick) and is 372 centimeters tall.


F is for Forbidden City

An old city

With a big, old gate

It will drag you in

Like a fish and bait

     The construction of the Forbidden City began in 1406.  It lasted for fourteen years, more than a decade!  The building of the city required more than 2 million workers.  From 1420 to 1644 it was the seat of the Ming Dynasty.  The Forbidden City had been through many invasions and wars.  In 1987 the city was declared a world heritage site for its important place in the improvement of Chinese architecture and culture.

     The Forbidden City contains 980 surviving buildings.  The city is currently not forbidden but in the Ming and Qing dynasties ordinary people were not allowed in without permission.  The palace demonstrates traditional Chinese architecture.  It was originally designed to be the center of Beijing but now it is a spot for tourists.  The city is also enclosed by a huge twenty foot wall.  The Forbidden City served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government for almost 500 years.


G is for the Great Wall

Stone and wood

Bricks and dirt

Don’t fall off 

Or you’ll get hurt

     The Great Wall has some cool titles and features.  It is called the longest cemetery in the world.  Over a million people died when constructing the Great Wall.  The Great Wall also possess the title of being the most extensive project completed, it is 5,500 miles long.  When building the wall they used rice (for a small part) to stick the bricks together.  The wall is about half the size of the equator, now that’s long!

     Over ten million people visit the Great Wall every year.  The wall is made of stone, bricks, tampered earth, wood, and a few other materials.  It was made to protect Chinese states from raids and invasions.  The path of the Great Wall also served as a transportation corridor.  It has watchtowers, troop barracks, military stations, and alarms for smoke or fire.


H is for Hall of Supreme Harmony

A popular place

With many special names

Unique titles are

What this hall claims

     The Hall of Supreme Harmony is known as the longest hall within the Forbidden City.  There’s also a few other interesting facts about this hall.  It’s one of the largest wooden structures in China.  The name of the hall was changed several different times.  The Hall of Supreme Harmony was where the emperors would have their enthronement and wedding ceremonies.

     The Hall of Supreme Harmony is in the center of the Forbidden City.  It has a few other names such as Hall of Gold throne and Hall of Golden Chimes.  The Hall of Supreme Harmony was constructed in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty.  It is the ceremonial center of imperial power.  It is one out of three other halls the other two are The Hall of Central Harmony and The Hall of Preserving Harmony.


I is for Indian Elephant

Long, sharp tusks.

Big, floppy ears.

 A gentle giant

no need for fears

     Since 1986 the Indian Elephant has been on the endangered list.  The population of the Indian Elephant has declined 50%over the last 60 to 75 years.  They are threatened by habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation.  Some people poach elephants for ivory even though it’s illegal.  Hopefully, the Indian Elephant's population will go back up.

     The Indian Elephant feeds mainly on grass, and are smaller than the African Elephants.  Sharp tusks and floppy ears are what the elephant is known for.  Indian elephants have smaller ears, but most of the time have broader skulls and larger trunks than African elephants.  The Indian Elephant is currently endangered.  It’s population is 20,000 - 25,000.  Females are usually smaller than males and have short or no tusks.


J is for Jianbing

Round and flat

Topped with sauce

Once you eat it

You’ll know its boss

     Jiangbing originated in Northeastern China.  Chancellor Zhuge Liang encountered the problem of feeding his soldiers.  He told the chefs to mix wheat flour with water to make batter, then he told them to spread it on flat copper griddles over a fire. Quickly, it started to spread throughout China, it began to gain popularity.  It’s now very popular in China and is now topped with different sauces and all kinds of fillings.

Jianbing is a type of Bing.  Jianbing is also called ”fried pancakes” and a few other names.  They are now one of the most popular foods in all of China.  Jianbing is very similar to crepes, both have many different toppings and fillings.  It’s very popular to get different types of sauces and fillings with the Jianbing.


K is for Karen Hu

Karen Hu competed in 2014 at the Miss Universe China pageant.  She was the 1st runner-up representing Beijing.  She was the 13th delegate from China to compete at the Miss Universe China pageant.  She is a photographer and a model.  She graduated from the Beijing film academy and is currently 27 years old.  She was born on October 10 in 1990 and is 5 feet 11 inches tall


Born in October.

Beautiful and bold

Almost won the pageant

At 24 years old

L is for Lion Dance

Luck and fortune

is what this dance brings.

Bold and colorful

and held by the kings.

The Lion dance, in the early periods, had a relation to Buddhism.  However, some believe the Lion Dance didn’t originate in China instead they think it originated in India or Persia.  The dance changed many different times over the years.  There were various other versions of the Lion Dance in the Tang Dynasty.  In the Tang court, the lion dance was called other names such as the Great Peace Music and the Lion Dance of the Five Directions.

The Lion Dance is a form of traditional dance that is performed only on special occasions.  There are two main forms of this dance which are the Southern Lion and the Northern Lion.  The dance copies lion movements in a lion costume to bring good luck and fortune.  The Lion Dance is mostly performed during Chinese New Year and other Chinese traditional, cultural, and religious festivals.  Dancing is an important part of the Chinese culture.


M is for Ming Tombs

Tombs lay

Inside this valley

Between two hills

Like an alley

The Ming tombs are a collection of mausoleums built by the emperors of China.  After the construction of the Forbidden City, the Yongle Emperor selected his burial site and made his own burial chamber.  The emperors after him all chose to put their tombs in the same valley. All but one of the tombs are located in Beijing.  During the Ming Dynasty, the tombs were off limits to all commoners.  In 1644 Li Zicheng army ransacked and set many of the tombs on fire.  There are thirteen different mausoleums the first is located in Nanjing the rest are in Beijing.


N is for the National Museum of China

Old and large.

Made in 2003.

specializes in art

and national history.

Completed in 1959 and established in 2003 by the merging of two separate museums.  It developed from the national history museum.  The museum, after four years of renovation, reopened in 2011.  One of the largest museums in the world, and one of the ten Great Constructions.  It has 7.6 million visitors in 2016 and specializes in art and history.


O is for Old Summer Palace

 Beautiful ruins 

destroyed by the French

watch out for rain here

are you might get drenched



Old Summer Palace was originally called the Imperial Gardens was supposed to be a gift for the emperor’s son.  It is a complex of palaces and gardens.  Construction of the palace began in 1707.  It was the main imperial residence of Qianlong Emperor.  Unfortunately, it was destroyed by the French in 1860.  It contains three different parts, Yuanmingyuan, the Garden of Blossoming Spring, and the Garden of Eternal Spring.  Old Summer Palace is known for its collection of gardens.


P is for Peking Duck

thin, crisp skin

roasted and yummy

you'll want to save it

in your tummy

The Peking duck has been made ever since the imperial era.  It was one of the main dishes on the imperial court menus.  They specially breed the ducks for this one dish.  By the mid-20th century, Peking duck had become a symbol of China.  The dish was originally named Shao Yazi.  The Peking duck meat is eaten with several other toppings and sauces as well.


Q is for Qianmen Street

Filled with pedestrians
Its style is old
Many markets years ago
When there was lots of gold.

Qianmen Street is a famous pedestrian street. It was originally called Zhengyangmen Street, it got its present name in 1965.  It contains many different old style buildings and markets. After the last renovation, it reopened on August 7th right before the 2008 Olympics.  Qianmen Street was burnt down in 1900 when the Allied Forces of the Eight Powers ransacked Beijing.


R is for Red Panda

Reddish-brown fur
Long shaggy tail
Leaving footprints
As a furry trail

The Red Panda is on the endangered list, its population is less than 10,000.  They are being threatened by Habitat loss and poaching.  
They are mainly hunted for their fur even though it’s against the law.  In the past, Red Pandas were captured and put in zoos.  They have a very high death rate in the wild.

The Red Panda has reddish-brown fur. It feeds mainly on bamboo but also eats eggs, birds, and insects.  It’s native to southwestern China. It has few other names such as The lesser panda, the Red bear-cat, and the Red cat-bear.  The red panda is made to be a bamboo eater with strong, curved, and sharp semi-retractile claws.


S is for Summer Palace

Once a garden
Now an attraction, when
you see it, running in
will be your action

The Summer Palace was once an imperial garden in the Qing Dynasty.  The fourth ruler Wayan Liang ordered for a Palace to be built for him.  It is included in the world heritage list.  It has many lakes, gardens, palaces, in Beijing.  It includes many different landscapes of all kinds. Many emperors demanded different landscapes which changed the landforms.


T is for Tiananmen Sqaure

Not a polygon
Not a shape
But a plaza
Made on a landscape

Tiananmen Square was built in 1415 during the Ming Dynasty.  It was named after the Tiananmen located to its north.  It is within the top 10 largest squares in the world.  It contains many historical places and attractions.  In 1954 the Gate of Chind was demolished allowing the square to get bigger.  In 1971 large portraits were painted of some famous people and put into the square.


U is for University of Beijing

Made in 1898
One of China’s top schools
Don’t get kicked out
And follow the rules

When the University of China was first established it was known as the Imperial University of Peking.  It has one of the largest libraries in the world.  It was renamed another two times after it was first named.  After the war in 1937, the university moved to Changsha and formed a temporary university.  It’s one of the top academic institutions in China.  It’s Known for Its beautiful Chinese architecture.


V is for Village of Art

A famous art community
Filled with many artists
Watch them paint masterpieces
Watch them paint their targets

It became a trend for artists to move away from cities.  They would relocate from one place to another.  This village was apparently ideal living space for an artist to work and live.  It is the biggest, most famous art community in China.  It is located in Songzhuang town in the eastern suburbs of China many artists live there.


W is for Water Cube

An aquatics center
Beautiful and blue
Standing in the night
With a pretty view

In 2003 the Water Cube design was chosen from 10 other proposals.  It was specially designed and built by some organizations.  They thought a square was more symbolic of China’s culture.  The “bubbles” on the cube were supposed to represent water.  The center was completed in 2008 and will host the curling at the 2022 winter Olympics.


X is for Xinglong Park

Filled with wildlife
And many plants as well
Beautiful flowers
All with sweet smells

The Xinglong Park is a very scenic place, it has many different kinds of wildlife.  It has a few huge lakes as well.  It has over 81,000 bushes and many different types of trees.  The park also covers a huge amount of space.  It’s known as the park with the most wildlife in Beijing.


Y is for Yinding Bridge

A pretty bridge
On a beautiful lake
It is so old
That it might even break

The Yinding bridge was built in the Ming Dynasty.  It was one of the eight minor sceneries in Beijing.  It’s in the shape of a silver sycee.  It is the famous “Viewing the mountains at Yinding Bridge”.  It provides the best view of the lake nearby.  It was once a beautiful scenic area but it is now a busy hub.


Z is for Zha Jiang noodles

Thick and long
Pork or beef
Delicious or not
it’s better than a leaf

Soybean paste is only used with these noodles.  Although some people replace it with soy sauce.  The Zha Jiang Noodles are also known as noodles with soybean paste.  It’s made of wheat noodles and stir-fried ground beef or pork.  There is also the delicious soybean paste that goes with it.


Stele- an upright stone or wooden slab usually inscribed with writing in it. 

Pagoda- a temple or sacred building

Conductibility- to serve as a channel or medium for heat, electricity, sound, etc.

Tampered earth-  a technique for constructing foundations

Barracks- a building or group of buildings for soldiers

Enthronement- a ceremony involving a person being seated for the first time upon their throne

Degradation- the decline of the environment through the depletion of resources

Fragmentation- reduction in the total area of the habitat

Griddles- a cooking device with a flat surface heated by gas, electricity, wood, or coal

Bing- a cooking device with a flat surface heated by gas, electricity, wood, or coal

Mausoleums- burial chambers

Ransack- to go quickly through a place while stealing and destroying things


A Map of Beijing