Ho Chi Ming City (formerly Saigon) is the commercial center of Vietnam as Hanoi is the political center of Vietnam. Ho Chi Ming City is in the southeast of Vietnam surrounding the Saigon River. This metropolis city is the most visited in Vietnam.
Not too far from the Central Post Office is the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon. Constructed in 1863-1880 and the Bell Towers were added in 1895 makes it 57.6 meters tall, with the addition of the crosses made it 60.5 meters tall.
Amitabha Buddha welcoming everyone. He is also on top of the two gates leading to the ground of Vinh Trang Temple. One is named the convenient Dharma gate and the other is the gate of pureness.
Qixia Mountain has a variety of maple trees render it a spectacular place to visit in the autumn when the foliage becomes colorful.
When we arrived at Qixia, the foliage was only starting to turn. Therefore we just visit the Qixia Temple considered to be the birthplace of the “Three Treatise” school of East Asia Buddhism. Built-in AD 489 contained a large collection of visual arts associated with Buddhism and continuously add on during different Dynasties. It was destroyed by Taiping rebellion and restored by the Republic of China. However, it was ransacked by the Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution.
This place has very nice sou-venir shops. The first site we came to is Mirror Lake. It was created during the Qing Dynasty during Emperor Qianlong’s reign.
Going up the slope of Qixia Mountain we come upon the “Thousand Buddha Caves”. The grotto contains many Buddhist sculptures of art.
Here is a closer look at the Buddha caves.
Qixia Temple took in refugees during the Nanking Massacre. Saving 23000 lives from the Japanese.
Bar Street of 1912 was where the center of entertainment. Bring back the nostalgia. German brewery was new and in fashion.
Zhongshan Mountain located in the suburb of eastern Nanjing, also known as the Purple Mountain. It is one of the small mountains that only consists of 31 square kilometers but contains 200 heritage and scenic sites to visit. Basically, we can divide into five must-see sites which are the Ming Tombs ( Ming Xiaoling), Linggu Temple, Dr. Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, Mei-ling Palace (actually a villa), Music Stage, Ocean World. Although shuttle cars are available to take you to different areas because each of these areas covers a lot of grounds making much walking necessary. Attempts to cover all in one day will be futile. One must leave something for another day.
Ming Mausoleum construction started in 1381 and end in 1405. First constructed as the tomb for the Ming emperors but then the capital was moved to Beijing and all the succeeding Ming emperors were buried in the Ming Tomb of Beijing. Moving toward the Ming Mausoleum is a sacred way (神道)guarded by 6 pairs of stone animal statues of the Ming period carvings, both in standing and sitting position.
Samples of the stone statues of other animals below.
The path curved to avoid going through the tomb of Sun Quan of the kingdom of Wu during the period of three kingdoms and others. The path continued turning onto Wengzhong Way guarded by four pairs of stone figures of ministers and generals.
Ministers enter through the right square gate
Generals enter through the left square gate
Then we come to the Tablet Hall, which was renovated by
Qing Emperor Kangxi on his order to protect the Ming Tomb during his visit to pay homage, an action to pacify the rebels of the Ming Dynasty at the time.
Finally, the Ming Tower appears. Built above a rectangular Citadel has the commanding post of the Ming Mausoleum. The Southern side has three arch doorways and one each on the other three sides.
Mei-ling Palace (美齡宮) was the villa built for Soong Mei-ling the first lady and wife of Chiang Kai-Shek, Chairman of the National Government. The mansion was purposely built as a love nest for the couple and they spend much time there. The roof has 1000 phoenixes carved on the tiles and there were 34 marble pillars with a phoenix carved on top of it for the 34 birthdays of Madam Soong Mei-Ling.
An aerial view will show the trees form a necklace with the villa as the diamond of the necklace. The mansion was built with a mix of Chinese and Western styles and was also used as a relax official entertaining site.
There is an exhibition of Madame Soong Mei-ling’s paintings with President Chang Kai-Shek’s calligraphy. Madame Soong Meiling had many accomplishments, mainly associated with seeing China through the most difficult times of early Republic and the time of Japanese aggression as well as World War II.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Mausoleum covers an area of 20 acres. This is the burial site of Dr. Sun Yat-Senn (1866-1925), the “Father of the Republic of China”. He successfully led the Chinese revolution against the Qing Dynasty which ended the monarchy rules of the past to the modern democratic system for the people. His doctrine of the “Three Principles of the People” became the main philosophy guiding the Chinese government. The Mausoleum is closed on Mondays. We will need revisit at another time.
The open-air music stage is nearby the Sun Yat-Sen’s Mausoleum. It is a stage for musical performances and speeches.
XuanWu Park used to be a royal park where emperors and his entourages hunt and have outings. At other times it was a training ground for soldiers to enact fighting on the water. Only after China became a republic that it was open to the public as a park. It is the largest park with an enclosed lake on the ground in JianSu province. XuanWu Lake comprises five islands connected by arch bridges. The park always has many activities and exhibitions going on and is a must visit attraction all year round.
JiMing Temple borders the XuanWu Park on its southeastern side connected to the old Nanjing city wall. It is one of the oldest temple in Nanjing. The original temple was build in 527 during the Liang Dynasty. Since then, it was destroyed and reconstructed many times at different periods. JiMing literal definition means the crowing rooster. Legend has it that there was once a poisonous centipede in the mountain of JinHua, embanking XuanWu Lake harming nearby people and animals. The Jade Emperor in heaven send the crowing rooster to control the devious centipede. Even thou the crowing frightened the centipede, it did not impede its action. The brave rooster sought to combat the centipede. After a fierce fight, the centipede died but the rooster was badly poisoned by the centipede died too. The people named the temple JiMing to commemorate the rooster.
Nanjing, China, the ancient city, Jinling, situated at the Yangtze River Delta, and has historically served, on and off, as the governing center of China since the 3rd century to 1949. It has been an important center of arts, cultures, and educational, with these continuous influences made Nanjing the nation’s most civilized city thus winning the 2008 U.N. Habitat Scroll of Honor Award.
Not far from here is the Museum of Imperial Exam and Imperial Academy. Nearby is the Qin Hai River where scholars used to gather in tea houses on its water banks.
Here are a glimpse of the things in the market place.
With in this area is the old residence of the famous Chinese statesman, philosopher, and poet, naming the “Black Clothes Lane” whether it was named because during the Three Kingdom Period, it was the barracks of soldiers who wore black uniform or the nobles at the time prefer to show dignity in black clothes. During the Tang Dynasty, a poet named Liu Yuxi wrote a poem: (It goes something like this:
Wild flowers flourish along the Zhuque Bridge The sun sets at the end of Wuyi Lane The swallows that had swarm the place Had all flown to normal homes
Another often visited place of the locals when they seek the leisure of times gone by is a walk through Old Gate East.
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam. It is known that Vietnam features three slenderness. They are slender women, slender houses, and slender shape of the country. It occupies the whole east coast of the Indochina Peninsula along the South China Sea.
Ha Long Bay is about a three and a half hour bus ride from Hanoi. This is a UNESCO Heritage Sit due to the extraordinary bay-scape. The Bay covers a 1533 square kilometers but consist of around 2,000 islets of various size and shape. The limestone of the bay shows 500 millions years of evolution. There are many species of plants and animals on the karst that had gone through 20 million years of evolution in the tropical climate typical for this environment.
Colosseum, the iconic symbol of Imperial Rome, is on the New Seven Wonders of the World List and one of the popular tourist attractions of Italy.
During the Roman times, the Colosseum provides fights of gladiators and wild animals or executions by wild animals for entertainment. The spectators my yell out whether they like to see the kill or show mercy to the fighters, but the emperor had the right to override the decision. Usually, the gladiator fights were scheduled in the mornings and the animal fights were scheduled in the afternoons with the executions in between. The blood of the dead gladiators and the animals were bottled for the witch doctors to give as health tonics for the sick.
After the 7th century, the arena was converted to a cemetery, and the lower level was converted for housing and workshops. During the 12th century, it was a castle for a while, until 1349 it was destroyed by the great earthquake. Stones and other valuable building materials were carried away for other projects.
Use to be the Temple of Saturn . Built round 497 BC, was the first temple built on the Forum dedicated to the supreme god of Etruscan origin.
Temple of Antoninus Pius and his wife Faustina, built in AD 141
Arch of Septimius Severus , 23 meters arch of 203 AD was the symbolic center of ancient Rome.
The Curia, the meeting place of the Roman Senators. The best preserved building on the site.
What’s left of Temple of Castor and Pollux, built to give thanks in victory of battles. Castor and Pollux were of myths of Greek/Etruscan origin.
Ballet: La Belle au good Dormanti at the theater.
A traditional Italian restaurant who makes everything fresh. Yes, including all kinds of pasta.
Quartiere Coppede is the smallest district of Rome. The outstanding whimsical style is by Gino Coppede. This district may be small but it is very exclusive. It is finished in 1924 consist of 26 small apartments and 7 Villas. The Beatles danced in the Fountain of Frogs (Fontana delle Rane) and it appeared in some scenes of the film ” The Bird with the Crystal Plumage” an Italian film released in 1970. The average price of this smallest district is approximately 10,000 Euros per sq. meters.