At the end of September, I was invited to attend a conference in Changping in northern Beijing. I took the chance to stay a few days longer and visit North Korea, too.
While I spent most of my time in Beijing attending talks and meetings, the organizers also took us for an afternoon walk around Kunming Lake in the magnificent Summer Palace. This huge imperial garden with many beautiful pavilions, bridges, palaces, and temples was constructed and used mainly during the Qing Dynasty. I had visited Beijing several times in the past, but I have never experienced it in such wonderful autumn weather – clear blue sky, fresh air, perfect temperatures!
Once the conference was finished, I participated in a research field trip to nearby Luanping County – approximately 200 km northeast of Beijing. The countryside was very beautiful with mountains and small villages.
Before I left Beijing, I had the chance to visit the Ding Ling Mausoleum, one of the thirteen imperial tombs of the Ming Dynasty. This particular mausoleum is the resting place of the Wanli Emperor and his two empresses who ruled between 1572 and 1620. In contrast to the other Ming Tombs, it is possible to enter the actual burial chambers 27 m below the ground.
After my time in Beijing was over, I took a morning flight to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea – but that will be the topic of the coming post!