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Backstreet Beijing Walk: Agricultural God Altar & Farmers' Market
 
 
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We start our walking tour from Zhushikou Protestant Church, along the Qianmen Avenue, south of Qianmen. Construction and expansion of the three-storey Methodist denomination building took place several times over a 17-year-period between 1904 and 1921. It was one of the first multiple storey buildings in south Beijing. We will join their gathering for worshiping and talk to the priests or volunteers and learn their routines and religious education and practice.

Then we explore the winding hutongs, walk along the miles long local market in the neighborhood, go into some courtyards including a huge western style building, which was a Japanese built brothel and now are crammed with many households.

We head south until we meet Xiantongtan, Altal of Agriculture (Temple of Agriculture), the imperial altar dedicated to the first farmer of China. Beside to the Temple of Heaven, Xiannongtan Altar once shared the same size of the Tiantan (Temple of Heave) with royal level of architecture (high wall, grand palaces and spacious and solemn courtyards). From about 1410, emperors came to this once-extensive site to perform rituals in which they started the agricultural cycle by playing farmer and plowing the first furrows. The site where they once toiled is now a basketball court. At the start of the agricultural season every spring, emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties performed rituals to ensure that nature provided a bountiful harvest. The main imperial groups of building are still existed. The complex and park are much more peaceful than Temple of Heaven or any other major parks of the capital. Now the Firt Farmer's Altar has been resumed partly.

In the end, we will enter into the Ancient Architecture Museum. This exhibition, a mixture of models of China's most famous architecture and fragments of buildings long disappeared, is housed in halls as dramatic as those on the central axis of the Forbidden City. These were once part of the Xianongtan Temple, or Altar of Agriculture, an interesting Ming Dynasty complex. The rearmost Taisui Dian (Hall of Jupiter) of 1532, with its vast, sweeping roof, is only exceeded in magnificence by the Forbidden City's Hall of Supreme Harmony.

         
   
         
         
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Meet in front of Zhushikou Protestant Church, at the southwest corner of Zhushikou Intersection with Qianmen Dajie.


























About the CCC "Backstreet Beijing" Walking Tour Series

This is a cultural tour series designed to rediscover some of Beijing's old districts and lanes .We will walk through areas which used to be bustling with interesting popular shops, theaters, shrines and temples and residences of important people. Over 20 walking routes have been carefully designed by CCC since 2004, covering almost all areas of old Beijing within the second ring road or beyong. CCC guides will take you back in time to rediscover the history of the lanes and get a glimpse of the authentic atmosphere of old Beijing. Along the way you'll meet some unplanned surprises, some long-time, elderly residents and interesting characters, including descendants of famous people. You'll hear their stories of the streets and neighborhoods and of China in the past century. Of course, architecture, design, the artwork of the courtyards, and other cultural aspects will be discussed as well.

Note: This series is for lovers of Beijing lore and history and those who like to walk . The talks and discussions will be detailed and the walking/tour time will be 3-4 hours or more. Each tour will be limited to 20 people.

 
 
   
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