Beijing, China

The Heart of the Great Dragon

Mao's Traffic Light
The supervisory image of Mao Tse-Tung in the center of the Tianamen Portal and facing the homonymous square.
in sense
Detached soldier for the formation that carries out the complex choreography of collecting the Chinese flag.
Transit in the Heart of Beijing
Taxis and other vehicles pass in front of the Tianamen gate, under the supervision of Mao Tse-Tung.
Patriotic Souvenir
Beijing visitor is photographed with his daughter in Chinese historical costumes.
Soldiers march during the flag-gathering ceremony.
people's reflection
A child of a Chinese family examines the reflection of a puddle in front of the Tianamen Gate.
Sleep on duty
Soldier yawns during his turn right in front of the image of the great leader Mao Tse-Tung.
Chinese people's army soldiers raise the flag from the center of Tianamen Square.
communist glory
Communist motifs decorate the top of one of the buildings that delimit Tianamen Square.
hot group
Chinese visitors stroll under the haughty gaze of the former great leader.
historic solitude
The portrait of Mao Tse-Tung stands out, elevated and in the absolute center of the Tianamen Portal.
for later recall
Spectators photograph and film every step of the flag-gathering ceremony.
in sense
At the end of the day, soldiers perform the ceremony to collect the Chinese flag.
the light of china
Night falls and enhances the resplendent illumination of the Portal of Tianamen.
Soldiers guard the plinth on which others carry out a ceremony to collect the Chinese flag.
It is the incoherent historic center of Maoist-Communist ideology and almost all Chinese aspire to visit it, but Tianamen Square will always be remembered as a macabre epitaph of the nation's aspirations.

It's the height of summer. Beijing remains stuffy and shrouded in a fog that its heavy traffic and less and less tricycle thickens.

Even so, the multitude of passersby walking along the promenade along the southern wall of the Forbidden City is clearly visible.

Taxis, Vehicles, Mao Tse Tung, Dragao Heart, Tianamen Square, Beijing, China

Taxis and other vehicles pass in front of the Tianamen gate, under the supervision of Mao Tse-Tung.

In the middle of the vacation period – even for millions of the ever-busy servants and new Chinese entrepreneurs – curious and enthusiastic citizens from almost every province arrive in the capital.

They are joined by expatriates and outsiders who, like us, are more intrigued than ever by the success and global power newly gained by the Han ethnic group.

child, water reflection, dragon heart, tianamen square, Beijing, China

A child of a Chinese family examines the reflection of a puddle in front of the Tianamen Gate.

The common destination of this pilgrimage is the front of the Portal of Heavenly Peace. There, for several decades now, the paternalistic image of former President Mao Tse-Tung seems to oversee the events around and the destinies of the nation, protected by a small army organized geometrically around it.

Tianamen Square: Monumental Work, Mausoleum of Mao Zedong

It was Mao who had the vision of building the largest and most spectacular square in the world, with a capacity to accommodate at least 500.000 subjects. To this end, in 1950, the Portal of China was demolished, like many other buildings, largely residential.

Portrait Mao Tse Tung Portal Dragon Heart Tianamen Square Beijing China

The portrait of Mao Tse-Tung stands out, elevated and in the absolute center of the Tianamen Portal.

Eleven months after its start, the works were completed. The new square gave the people a vast space of stone and concrete in the symbolic heart of the Sino-Universe.

The founder of China Popular Republic he had also expressed a desire to be cremated after his death. But the successor leaders found the whim compromising the greatness of the leader.

In late 1976, they disrespected him. Zedong's body – the untransliterated version of his name – was mummified and placed for eternal rest in a mausoleum purposely erected in the middle of the square, in place of the ancient Portal of China.

The authorities took the opportunity to widen the square a little more. It now measures 880 by 550 meters and can accommodate 600.000 people.

soldiers guard pedestal dragon heart Tianamen square Beijing China

Soldiers guard the plinth on which others carry out a ceremony to collect the Chinese flag.

Chinese Patience That Some Consider Frustrated

Similar to what happens during the summer to enter the Forbidden City and so many other attractions in the center of the capital, endless lines of suitors form to contemplate the mausoleum of Mao Zedong.

And even if history has taken it upon itself to prove the atrocities inspired by the Great Leader in terms of red ideology and his Great Leap Forward, not all Chinese are aware of the reality or are willing to accept it.

Many spend a few yuan on a flower that will offer their controversial memory.

After the long wait, some suspicious visitors feel cheated. Despite the exhaustive security procedures and the obligation to remove the hat, accusations that what is on display is nothing more than a wax doll are common.

The body appears in a kind of crystal capsule, covered by an old communist flag. We are protected by national army guards who harass the beholders as they hurry to the next room.

soldier, sleep, yawn, mao tse tung, dragon heart, tianamen square, Beijing, China

Soldier yawns during his turn right in front of the image of the great leader Mao Tse-Tung.

Wanderings on the Sunset of the Dragon's Heart

We continue to explore the corners of Tianamen Square. We pass through the underground passages under the road that separates it from the wall of the Forbidden City and the Portal of Heavenly Peace.

Underneath, dozens of sellers of souvenirs and street drinks, several illegals, protagonists of a game of cat and mouse to which the police seem to have gotten used to, have settled down there.

The end of the afternoon is marked by a diffuse sunset that oranges the western slope. And for the agglomeration of yet another patient international crowd, now around a delimited area around the pole on which the Chinese flag is soaringly fluttering.

And the Bell-Banner Military Ceremony

At the right time, soldiers stationed in front of the Portal of Heavenly Peace invade the road and stop traffic. A small battalion of soldiers with swords and rifles at the top appears on the other side of the walls, crossing one of the bridges and the wide road that separates it from the homonymous square.

spectators, flag ceremony, dragon heart, tianamen square, Beijing, China

Spectators photograph and film every step of the flag-gathering ceremony.

Soon, they enter the restricted area and are distributed in an organized way. Some of them face the noisy public that points them to hundreds of mobile phones so that they can film and photograph the ceremony.

Others climb the red carpet covered pedestal. They salute towards the portal and the figure of Mao already artificially lit.

Two of these soldiers, raised at the base of the pole, lower the flag and roll it up using sudden gestures and tugs, provided for in the protocol.

Flag Down Soldiers Dragon Heart Tianamen Square Beijing China

Chinese people's army soldiers raise the flag from the center of Tianamen Square.

When they are done, the battalion regroups. It re-crosses the return road on the other side of the portal, a resting place for the flag that will only be raised again after a similar ceremony, in the following dawn.

However, night had fallen. The crowd dispersed across the square but, engrossed in conversation and photographing and filming the surrounding illuminated panoramas, insisted on not disbanding.

This permanence goes against the precepts of the authorities. Accordingly, several vehicles driven by agents coming from the road come into action. Supported by a deafening message in Mandarin, they force people, like cattle, to move towards the side exit stairs.

A few minutes later, the last resisters who continue to ignore or bully authority surrender to the power of authority and evidence. The Tiananmen Square, built for the people, is once again emptied of people, by force.

These tourist clashes do not claim victims.

Visitors, Mao Tse Tung, Dragon Heart, Tianamen Square, Beijing, China

Chinese visitors stroll under the haughty gaze of the former great leader.

Tianamen: The Macabre Days of 1989

From 15 April to 4 June 1989, Tianamen was the scene of successive political protests involving its occupation mainly by students and hunger strikes.

On the last day of the contest, Chinese Communist Party Chairman Deng Xiaoping and Prime Minister li peng responded with the declaration of Martial Law. When they were unable to expel the demonstrators for good, they ordered a massacre believed to have caused between 300 and 800 deaths and many thousands injured.

Instead of tanks, the crowd, unhappy with the lack of political openness and rampant corruption within the CCP, was confronted with reinforced military forces. Most of the victimized protesters were shot dead. Some were crushed by tank caterpillars.

Who watched the images that arrived at the rest of the world, hardly forgets the most emblematic moment of events: a casual Protestant, in particular, displayed supreme courage.

soldier collecting flag, dragon heart, Tianamen square, Beijing, China

Detached soldier for the formation that carries out the complex choreography of collecting the Chinese flag.

He remained in front of a column of WZ-120 armored vehicles with two shopping bags, one in each hand, to the point of forcing the tank in front – shortly after, also others – to change direction to avoid him.

The unknown man even climbed into the tank and yelled into the turret. Shortly afterwards, unidentified people, dressed in blue suits, rushed from the surrounding crowd and led him away from the tank.

To date, little is known for sure about the identity of these actors and their fate.

It is known and felt, however, that Tianamen is anything but a Peace Square.

Dali, China

The Surrealist China of Dali

Embedded in a magical lakeside setting, the ancient capital of the Bai people has remained, until some time ago, a refuge for the backpacker community of travelers. The social and economic changes of China they fomented the invasion of Chinese to discover the southwest corner of the nation.
Bingling Yes, China

The Canyon of a Thousand Buddhas

For more than a millennium and at least seven dynasties, Chinese devotees have extolled their religious belief with the legacy of sculpture in a remote strait of the Yellow River. If you disembark in the Canyon of Thousand Buddhas, you may not find all the sculptures, but you will find a stunning Buddhist shrine.
Harare, Zimbabwewe

The Last Rales of Surreal Mugabué

In 2015, Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe said the 91-year-old president would rule until the age of 100 in a special wheelchair. Shortly thereafter, it began to insinuate itself into his succession. But in recent days, the generals have finally precipitated the removal of Robert Mugabe, who has replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Dunhuang, China

An Oasis in the China of the Sands

Thousands of kilometers west of Beijing, the Great Wall has its western end and the China and other. An unexpected splash of vegetable green breaks up the arid expanse all around. Announces Dunhuang, formerly crucial outpost on the Silk Road, today an intriguing city at the base of Asia's largest sand dunes.
Lijiang, China

A Gray City but Little

Seen from afar, its vast houses are dreary, but Lijiang's centuries-old sidewalks and canals are more folkloric than ever. This city once shone as the grandiose capital of the Naxi people. Today, floods of Chinese visitors who fight for the quasi-theme park it have become take it by storm.
Longsheng, China

Huang Luo: the Chinese Village of the Longest Hairs

In a multi-ethnic region covered with terraced rice paddies, the women of Huang Luo have surrendered to the same hairy obsession. They let the longest hair in the world grow, years on end, to an average length of 170 to 200 cm. Oddly enough, to keep them beautiful and shiny, they only use water and rice.
Alone, South Korea

A Glimpse of Medieval Korea

Gyeongbokgung Palace stands guarded by guardians in silken robes. Together they form a symbol of South Korean identity. Without waiting for it, we ended up finding ourselves in the imperial era of these Asian places.

Nantou, Taiwan

In the Heart of the Other China

Nantou is Taiwan's only province isolated from the Pacific Ocean. Those who discover the mountainous heart of this region today tend to agree with the Portuguese navigators who named Taiwan Formosa.


Formosa but Unsafe

Portuguese navigators could not imagine the imbroglio reserved for the Formosa they baptized. Nearly 500 years later, even though it is uncertain of its future, Taiwan still prospers. Somewhere between independence and integration in greater China.
Huang Shan, China

Huang Shan: The Yellow Mountains of the Floating Peaks

The granitic peaks of the floating yellow mountains of Huang Shan, from which acrobat pines sprout, appear in artistic illustrations from China without count. The real scenery, in addition to being remote, remains hidden above the clouds for over 200 days.
Badaling, China

The Sino Invasion of the Great Wall of China

With the arrival of the hot days, hordes of Han visitors take over the Great Wall of China, the largest man-made structure. They go back to the era of imperial dynasties and celebrate the nation's newfound prominence.
Lijiang e Yangshuo, China

An Impressive China

One of the most respected Asian filmmakers, Zhang Yimou dedicated himself to large outdoor productions and co-authored the media ceremonies of the Beijing OG. But Yimou is also responsible for “Impressions”, a series of no less controversial stagings with stages in emblematic places.
Lhasa, Tibet

The Sino-Demolition of the Roof of the World

Any debate about sovereignty is incidental and a waste of time. Anyone who wants to be dazzled by the purity, affability and exoticism of Tibetan culture should visit the territory as soon as possible. The Han civilizational greed that moves China will soon bury millenary Tibet.
Dali, China

Chinese Style Flash Mob

The time is set and the place is known. When the music starts playing, a crowd follows the choreography harmoniously until time runs out and everyone returns to their lives.
Guilin, China

The Gateway to the Chinese Stone Kingdom

The immensity of jagged limestone hills around it is so majestic that the authorities of Beijing they print it on the back of the 20-yuan notes. Those who explore it almost always pass through Guilin. And even if this city in the province of Guangxi clashes with the exuberant nature around it, we also found its charms.
Lhasa a Gyantse, Tibet

Gyantse, through the Heights of Tibet

The final target is the Tibetan Everest Base Camp. On this first route, starting from Lhasa, we pass by the sacred lake of Yamdrok (4.441m) and the glacier of the Karo gorge (5.020m). In Gyantse, we surrender to the Tibetan-Buddhist splendor of the old citadel.
Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
Amboseli National Park, Kenya

A Gift from the Kilimanjaro

The first European to venture into these Masai haunts was stunned by what he found. And even today, large herds of elephants and other herbivores roam the pastures irrigated by the snow of Africa's biggest mountain.
Thorong La, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, photo for posterity
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 13th - High camp a Thorong La to Muktinath, Nepal

At the height of the Annapurnas Circuit

At 5416m of altitude, the Thorong La Gorge is the great challenge and the main cause of anxiety on the itinerary. After having killed 2014 climbers in October 29, crossing it safely generates a relief worthy of double celebration.
Bay Watch cabin, Miami beach, beach, Florida, United States,
Architecture & Design
Miami beach, USA

The Beach of All Vanities

Few coasts concentrate, at the same time, so much heat and displays of fame, wealth and glory. Located in the extreme southeast of the USA, Miami Beach is accessible via six bridges that connect it to the rest of Florida. It is meager for the number of souls who desire it.
Boat Trips

For Those Becoming Internet Sick

Hop on and let yourself go on unmissable boat trips like the Philippine archipelago of Bacuit and the frozen sea of ​​the Finnish Gulf of Bothnia.
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pentecost Island, Vanuatu

Naghol: Bungee Jumping without Modern Touches

At Pentecost, in their late teens, young people launch themselves from a tower with only lianas tied to their ankles. Bungee cords and harnesses are inappropriate fussiness from initiation to adulthood.
São Tomé, city, São Tomé and Príncipe, alley of the Fort
Sao Tome (city), São Tomé and Principe

The Capital of the Santomean Tropics

Founded by the Portuguese, in 1485, São Tomé prospered for centuries, like the city because of the goods in and out of the homonymous island. The archipelago's independence confirmed it as the busy capital that we trod, always sweating.
young saleswoman, nation, bread, uzbekistan
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, The Nation That Does Not Lack Bread

Few countries employ cereals like Uzbekistan. In this republic of Central Asia, bread plays a vital and social role. The Uzbeks produce it and consume it with devotion and in abundance.
Cuada village, Flores Island, Azores, rainbow quarter
Aldeia da Cuada, Flores Island, Azores

The Azorean Eden Betrayed by the Other Side of the Sea

Cuada was founded, it is estimated that in 1676, next to the west threshold of Flores. In the XNUMXth century, its residents joined the great Azorean stampede to the Americas. They left behind a village as stunning as the island and the Azores.
combat arbiter, cockfighting, philippines

When Only Cock Fights Wake Up the Philippines

Banned in much of the First World, cockfighting thrives in the Philippines where they move millions of people and pesos. Despite its eternal problems, it is the sabong that most stimulates the nation.
Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal
Annapurna Circuit: 4th – Upper Banana to Ngawal, Nepal

From Nightmare to Dazzle

Unbeknownst to us, we are faced with an ascent that leads us to despair. We pulled our strength as far as possible and reached Ghyaru where we felt closer than ever to the Annapurnas. The rest of the way to Ngawal felt like a kind of extension of the reward.
Goa, India

To Goa, Quickly and in Strength

A sudden longing for Indo-Portuguese tropical heritage makes us travel in various transports but almost non-stop, from Lisbon to the famous Anjuna beach. Only there, at great cost, were we able to rest.
sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

Most travel photos are taken in sunlight. Sunlight and weather form a capricious interaction. Learn how to predict, detect and use at its best.
Cable car connecting Puerto Plata to the top of PN Isabel de Torres
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Home Silver

Puerto Plata resulted from the abandonment of La Isabela, the second attempt at a Hispanic colony in the Americas. Almost half a millennium after Columbus's landing, it inaugurated the nation's inexorable tourist phenomenon. In a lightning passage through the province, we see how the sea, the mountains, the people and the Caribbean sun keep it shining.
Sentosa Island, Singapore, Family on Sentosa Artificial Beach
Sentosa, Singapore

Singapore's Fun Island

It was a stronghold where the Japanese murdered Allied prisoners and welcomed troops who pursued Indonesian saboteurs. Today, the island of Sentosa fights the monotony that gripped the country.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
silhouette and poem, Cora coralina, Goias Velho, Brazil
Goiás Velho, Brazil

The Life and Work of a Marginal Writer

Born in Goiás, Ana Lins Bretas spent most of her life far from her castrating family and the city. Returning to its origins, it continued to portray the prejudiced mentality of the Brazilian countryside
capillary helmet
Viti levu, Fiji

Cannibalism and Hair, Fiji Islands' Old Pastimes

For 2500 years, anthropophagy has been part of everyday life in Fiji. In more recent centuries, the practice has been adorned by a fascinating hair cult. Luckily, only vestiges of the latest fashion remain.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
Natural Parks
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Banana, Nepal

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Escort when the last snow faded.
Vesikko submarine
UNESCO World Heritage
Helsinki, Finland

Finland's once Swedish Fortress

Detached in a small archipelago at the entrance to Helsinki, Suomenlinna was built by the Swedish kingdom's political-military designs. For more than a century, the Russia stopped her. Since 1917, the Suomi people have venerated it as the historic bastion of their thorny independence.
In elevator kimono, Osaka, Japan
Osaka, Japan

In the Company of Mayu

Japanese nightlife is a multi-faceted, multi-billion business. In Osaka, an enigmatic couchsurfing hostess welcomes us, somewhere between the geisha and the luxury escort.
Bather, The Baths, Devil's Bay (The Baths) National Park, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Virgin Gorda's Divine “Caribbaths”

Discovering the Virgin Islands, we disembark on a tropical and seductive seaside dotted with huge granite boulders. The Baths seem straight out of the Seychelles but they are one of the most exuberant marine scenery in the Caribbean.
Mtshketa, Holy City of Georgia, Caucasus, Svetitskhoveli Cathedral
Mtskheta, Georgia

The Holy City of Georgia

If Tbilisi is the contemporary capital, Mtskheta was the city that made Christianity official in the kingdom of Iberia, predecessor of Georgia, and one that spread the religion throughout the Caucasus. Those who visit see how, after almost two millennia, it is Christianity that governs life there.
Back in the sun. San Francisco Cable Cars, Life Ups and Downs
On Rails
San Francisco, USA

San Francisco Cable Cars: A Life of Highs and Lows

A macabre wagon accident inspired the San Francisco cable car saga. Today, these relics work as a charm operation in the city of fog, but they also have their risks.
Police intervention, ultra-Orthodox Jews, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel
Jaffa, Israel

Unorthodox protests

A building in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, threatened to desecrate what ultra-Orthodox Jews thought were remnants of their ancestors. And even the revelation that they were pagan tombs did not deter them from the contestation.
Busy intersection of Tokyo, Japan
Daily life
Tokyo, Japan

The Endless Night of the Rising Sun Capital

Say that Tokyo do not sleep is an understatement. In one of the largest and most sophisticated cities on the face of the Earth, twilight marks only the renewal of the frenetic daily life. And there are millions of souls that either find no place in the sun, or make more sense in the “dark” and obscure turns that follow.
Bwabwata National Park, Namibia, giraffes
PN Bwabwata, Namíbia

A Namibian Park Worth Three

Once Namibia's independence was consolidated in 1990, to simplify its management, the authorities grouped together a trio of parks and reserves on the Caprivi strip. The resulting PN Bwabwata hosts a stunning immensity of ecosystems and wildlife, on the banks of the Cubango (Okavango) and Cuando rivers.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.