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.
Seul, 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.
Okavango Delta, Not all rivers reach the sea, Mokoros
Okavango Delta, Botswana

Not all rivers reach the sea

Third longest river in southern Africa, the Okavango rises in the Angolan Bié plateau and runs 1600km to the southeast. It gets lost in the Kalahari Desert where it irrigates a dazzling wetland teeming with wildlife.
Hikers on the Ice Lake Trail, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 7th - Braga - Ice Lake, Nepal

Annapurna Circuit – The Painful Acclimatization of the Ice Lake

On the way up to the Ghyaru village, we had a first and unexpected show of how ecstatic the Annapurna Circuit can be tasted. Nine kilometers later, in Braga, due to the need to acclimatize, we climbed from 3.470m from Braga to 4.600m from Lake Kicho Tal. We only felt some expected tiredness and the increase in the wonder of the Annapurna Mountains.
Itamaraty Palace Staircase, Brasilia, Utopia, Brazil
Architecture & Design
Brasilia, Brazil

Brasília: from Utopia to the Capital and Political Arena of Brazil

Since the days of the Marquis of Pombal, there has been talk of transferring the capital to the interior. Today, the chimera city continues to look surreal but dictates the rules of Brazilian development.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
Saida Ksar Ouled Soltane, festival of the ksour, tataouine, tunisia
Ceremonies and Festivities
Tataouine, Tunisia

Festival of the Ksour: Sand Castles That Don't Collapse

The ksour were built as fortifications by the Berbers of North Africa. They resisted Arab invasions and centuries of erosion. Every year, the Festival of the Ksour pays them the due homage.
Selfie, Hida from Ancient and Medieval Japan
Takayama, Japan

From the Ancient Japan to the Medieval Hida

In three of its streets, Takayama retains traditional wooden architecture and concentrates old shops and sake producers. Around it, it approaches 100.000 inhabitants and surrenders to modernity.
Cocoa, Chocolate, Sao Tome Principe, Agua Izé farm
São Tomé and Principe

Cocoa Roças, Corallo and the Chocolate Factory

At the beginning of the century. In the XNUMXth century, São Tomé and Príncipe generated more cocoa than any other territory. Thanks to the dedication of some entrepreneurs, production survives and the two islands taste like the best chocolate.
Jingkieng Wahsurah, Nongblai Village Roots Bridge, Meghalaya, India
Meghalaya, India

The Bridges of the Peoples that Create Roots

The unpredictability of rivers in the wettest region on Earth never deterred the Khasi and the Jaintia. Faced with the abundance of trees elastic fig tree in their valleys, these ethnic groups got used to molding their branches and strains. From their time-lost tradition, they have bequeathed hundreds of dazzling root bridges to future generations.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
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.
Cambodia, Angkor, Ta Phrom
Ho Chi Minh a of Angkor, Cambodia

The Crooked Path to Angkor

From Vietnam onwards, Cambodia's crumbling roads and minefields take us back to the years of Khmer Rouge terror. We survive and are rewarded with the vision of the greatest religious temple
Pueblos del Sur, Venezuela

The Pueblos del Sur Locainas, Their Dances and Co.

From the beginning of the XNUMXth century, with Hispanic settlers and, more recently, with Portuguese emigrants, customs and traditions well known in the Iberian Peninsula and, in particular, in northern Portugal, were consolidated in the Pueblos del Sur.
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.
Moa on a beach in Rapa Nui/Easter Island
Easter Island, Chile

The Take-off and Fall of the Bird-Man Cult

Until the XNUMXth century, the natives of Easter Island they carved and worshiped great stone gods. All of a sudden, they started to drop their moai. The veneration of tanatu manu, a half-human, half-sacred leader, decreed after a dramatic competition for an egg.
São Jorge, Azores, Fajã dos Vimes
São Jorge, Azores

From Fajã to Fajã

In the Azores, strips of habitable land at the foot of large cliffs abound. No other island has as many fajãs as the more than 70 in the slender and elevated São Jorge. It was in them that the jorgenses settled. Their busy Atlantic lives rest on them.
coast, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Winter White
Seydisfjordur, Iceland

From the Art of Fishing to the Fishing of Art

When shipowners from Reykjavik bought the Seydisfjordur fishing fleet, the village had to adapt. Today, it captures Dieter Roth's art disciples and other bohemian and creative souls.
Visitors to Ernest Hemingway's Home, Key West, Florida, United States
Key West, United States

Hemingway's Caribbean Playground

Effusive as ever, Ernest Hemingway called Key West "the best place I've ever been...". In the tropical depths of the contiguous US, he found evasion and crazy, drunken fun. And the inspiration to write with intensity to match.

icy blue planet

They form at high latitudes and/or altitudes. In Alaska or New Zealand, Argentina or Chile, rivers of ice are always stunning visions of an Earth as frigid as it is inhospitable.
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.
Grand Canyon, Arizona, Travel North America, Abysmal, Hot Shadows
Natural Parks
Grand Canyon, USA

Journey through the Abysmal North America

The Colorado River and tributaries began flowing into the plateau of the same name 17 million years ago and exposed half of Earth's geological past. They also carved one of its most stunning entrails.
tarsio, bohol, philippines, out of this world
UNESCO World Heritage
Bohol, Philippines

Other-wordly Philippines

The Philippine archipelago spans 300.000 km² of the Pacific Ocean. Part of the Visayas sub-archipelago, Bohol is home to small alien-looking primates and the extraterrestrial hills of the Chocolate Hills.
Correspondence verification
Rovaniemi, Finland

From the Finnish Lapland to the Arctic. A Visit to the Land of Santa

Fed up with waiting for the bearded old man to descend down the chimney, we reverse the story. We took advantage of a trip to Finnish Lapland and passed through its furtive home.
Boat and helmsman, Cayo Los Pájaros, Los Haitises, Dominican Republic
Samaná PeninsulaLos Haitises National Park Dominican Republic

From the Samaná Peninsula to the Dominican Haitises

In the northeast corner of the Dominican Republic, where Caribbean nature still triumphs, we face an Atlantic much more vigorous than expected in these parts. There we ride on a communal basis to the famous Limón waterfall, cross the bay of Samaná and penetrate the remote and exuberant “land of the mountains” that encloses it.
holy bookcase
Tsfat (Safed), Israel

When the Kabbalah is a Victim of Itself

In the 50s, Tsfat brought together the artistic life of the young Israeli nation and regained its secular mystique. But famous converts like Madonna have come to disturb the most elemental Kabbalist discretion.
The Toy Train story
On Rails
Siliguri a Darjeeling, India

The Himalayan Toy Train Still Running

Neither the steep slope of some stretches nor the modernity stop it. From Siliguri, in the tropical foothills of the great Asian mountain range, the Darjeeling, with its peaks in sight, the most famous of the Indian Toy Trains has ensured for 117 years, day after day, an arduous dream journey. Traveling through the area, we climb aboard and let ourselves be enchanted.
emperor akihito waves, emperor without empire, tokyo, japan
Tokyo, Japan

The Emperor Without Empire

After the capitulation in World War II, Japan underwent a constitution that ended one of the longest empires in history. The Japanese emperor is, today, the only monarch to reign without empire.
herd, foot-and-mouth disease, weak meat, colonia pellegrini, argentina
Daily life
Colónia Pellegrini, Argentina

When the Meat is Weak

The unmistakable flavor of Argentine beef is well known. But this wealth is more vulnerable than you think. The threat of foot-and-mouth disease, in particular, keeps authorities and growers afloat.
Crocodiles, Queensland Tropical Australia Wild
Cairns to Cape Tribulation, Australia

Tropical Queensland: An Australia Too Wild

Cyclones and floods are just the meteorological expression of Queensland's tropical harshness. When it's not the weather, it's the deadly fauna of the region that keeps its inhabitants on their toes.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.