Beijing history

Beijing's Five Architectural Colors, and the Symbolism Behind Them

Beijing's Five Architectural Colors, and the Symbolism Behind Them

It sometimes seems like the dominant color in Beijing is “Socialist Taupe.” The streets. The bricks. The roads. Getting away from the gray and the beige is hard.

That wasn’t always the case. In imperial times, builders and architects relied on five colors to add life to their creations: red, yellow, blue, white, and (yes) gray

Beyond Marco Polo: Italians in Old China

Beyond Marco Polo: Italians in Old China

While Marco Polo might be the best-known Italian to travel to China (or not), he was far from alone in making the long journey from that sunny Mediterranean peninsula to the Far East.

Charitable Past: Examples of Goodwill Throughout the Chinese Ages

Charitable Past: Examples of Goodwill Throughout the Chinese Ages

Even centuries ago, the people of Beijing were willing to help those less fortunate, and throughout the city’s recent history, there have been many institutions providing aid to the poor, the sick, and the displaced.

Postcards From Dashilan: Retracing the Development of Beijing’s Former Commercial Hub

Postcards From Dashilan: Retracing the Development of Beijing’s Former Commercial Hub

Beijing has seen a lot of changes this year, but is this something new? Beijing has always been in a state of flux.

Historic Courtyards and Residences That Could (or Should) Be Opened to the Public

Historic Courtyards and Residences That Could (or Should) Be Opened to the Public

Have you ever walked down a hutong past a grand gate and stopped to wonder just what was hidden behind those high brick walls?

Beijing's Mystery Canal: Centuries-Old Brook Reimagined in Qianmen Neighborhood

Beijing's Mystery Canal: Centuries-Old Brook Reimagined in Qianmen Neighborhood

Last month, state media buzzed about the restoration of an ancient brook, a long-lost waterway transformed into a beautiful new park in Beijing. The trouble was, the brook didn’t seem to exist on any historical maps of the city. 

Capital Histories: How Beijing became the capital of China

Capital Histories: How Beijing became the capital of China

How did Beijing become the capital of China? My short-form history of Beijing for the Nov/Dec 2016 issue of The Beijinger.

Blinged-Out Mobile Not the First Telephone Controversy at the Forbidden City

Blinged-Out Mobile Not the First Telephone Controversy at the Forbidden City

The recent flap over the Palace Museum's promotion of a bling-out luxury mobile phone was not the first time that a phone has caused a stir at the Forbidden City. The story of a phone, a young emperor, and his love of prank calls.

Preserved Architecture, Sustainable Crowds, and Manageable Traffic: The Story of What Beijing Could Have Been

Preserved Architecture, Sustainable Crowds, and Manageable Traffic: The Story of What Beijing Could Have Been

In 1949, two architects' plan for Beijing's future was rejected for being too much in love with the city's past.

Audio: Telling the story of the waterways

Audio: Telling the story of the waterways

The final part of my conversation with Bruce Connolly of Radio Beijing AM774 on the renovation of the Jade River and the canal system of Beijing. 

Audio: Restored Jade River tells some of the early history of Beijing

Audio: Restored Jade River tells some of the early history of Beijing

The second part of my conversation with Bruce Connolly of Radio Beijing AM774 on the renovation of the Jade River and the canal system of Beijing.

Audio: Walking the recently restored Jade River

Audio: Walking the recently restored Jade River

The first part of my conversation with Bruce Connolly of Radio Beijing AM774 on the renovation of the Jade River and the canal system of Beijing.

A Stroll Along Beijing’s Restored Canal System and the Ongoing Plan to Revive its Ancient Waterways

A Stroll Along Beijing’s Restored Canal System and the Ongoing Plan to Revive its Ancient Waterways

A project to reconstruct a section of an ancient canal system that once flowed through the heart of Beijing is finally nearing completion.