Circular Letter #19
Subject: ICM2002-CL19: Footloose Tours
Date: July 5, 2002
To convey some of the many facets of Beijing to the ICM2002
participants, and in particular to accompanying persons,
several volunteers (students from Peking University) will
offer informal tours of Beijing, especially to places "off the beaten track".
These informal tours will be organized by the Office of Academic
Exchanges of the Academy of Mathematics and System Sciences,
No charges will be made for these tours, except all have to
pay the possible entrance fees themselves.
For each footloose tour, only limited numbers of persons will be
taken. Those who want to take the footloose tours please contact
Ms Huijuan Wang (firstname.lastname@example.org)
You should send her your name, ICM2002 registration numbers, the
tour number(s) and the date(s) of the tour(s).
The list of Footloos tours (and their dates) are as follows:
1. Great Bell Temple (Da zhong si)
August 21, 9.00
August 27, 3.00
2. Madam Song's Mansion
August 21, 3.00
3. Chinese Ethnic Culture Park
August 22, 9.00
4. Beijing Botanic Garden
August 23, 9.00
5. Peking University
August 24, 9.00
6. Yuan Ming Yuan (the old Summer Palace)
August 26, 9.00
August 22, 3.00
7. Ancient Observatory(Gu Guan Xiang Tai)
August 27, 9.00
August 23, 3.00
8. Exhibition Hall of Chinese Science and Technology
August 28, 9.00
August 24, 3.00
A brief of descriptions of the footloose tours are as follows.
1. GREAT BELL TEMPLE(Da Zhong Si)
Situated in Haidian in the northwestern suburbs, the temple was built in 1732 in the reign of Emperor YongZheng of the Qing Dynasty. Its original
name is Temple of Awakening (Jueshengsi), and because of the famous
bell it houses it has popularly been known as the Great Bell Temple. It is
the largest bell in China and the second largest in the world. Originally it was one to the six to be hung at the six corners of the city walls to strike the hours, but now it is the only re maining one.
The Bell is also know as the Avatamsaka Bell because it bears the full text
of all 81 volumes of the Lotus Scripture(the Avatamsaka Sutra). It is sometimes referred to as the Yongle Bell since it was cast by the order of
Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty in 1406.
2. MADAM SONG's MANSION(Song Qing Ling Gu Ju)
Madam Song Qingling was the wife of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the
republic, and she herself was the Vice-president of the People's Republic
of China. As the second daughter of the famous Song family(Her younger
sister Song Mei-ling married Chiang Kai-shek), she studied in the United States and was deeply involved in China's political life. Just as Dr. Sun
Yat-sen was regarded as the "Father of the Republic", she was sometimes called the "Mother of the Republic". Her personal life was to some extent a mini-history of modern China.
In 1981, her residence was turned into a museum dedicated to the memory of her and Dr. Sun Yat-sen. The layout of the houses and the arrangement of the furniture and her personal belongings are kept as they were when she was alive. Pictures of historical interest are also
3. CHINESE ETHNIC CULTURE PARK(zhong Hua Min Zu Yuan)
This culture park is indeed a big museum of the nationalities of China. China has 56 nationalities. In this park, houses(villages) of all the different nationalities can be found. Culture shows, such as special dances, wedding ceremonies, songs, festival celebrations of different ethnic groups, are given in the park regularly.
A visit to this park will at least give you a flavour of China's multinational cultures.
4. BEIJING BOTANIC GARDEN (Bei Jing Zhi Wu Yuan)
Located at the Foot of the Fragrant Hills, Beijing Botanic Garden is one of
the largest botanic gardens in China. The recent built greenhouse is also
one of the main attractions of the botanic garden. The Temple Recumbent Buddha(Wo fo si) is inside the Botanic Garden.
5. PEKING UNIVERSITY
Peking University is one of the best and most famous universities in
China. Having over 100 years history, Peking University is also one of
the oldest universities in China. The site of Peking University was a
garden in the Qing Dynasty. This tour is a walk in the beautiful campus of Peking University.
6. RUINS OF YUANMINGYUAN(Yuan Ming Yuan Yi Zhi)
Yuanmingyuan (the Garden of Perfection and Brightness) is actually
three gardens. It used to be the summer palace in Qing Dynasty (please
notice that it is older than the Summer Palace, the later one being one of
the most visited places in Beijing now). The whole garden was destroyed by Anglo-French joint force in
1860. The whole grounds were set on fire,
and treasures were plundered.
Since most the buildings were wooden structures, almost nothing escaped the fires, except in on corner of the garden there still stand some broken
stone pillars and collapsed arches. This is a group of Western-style Renaissance buildings to the north of the Garden. They were designed by
Western architects employed by the Qing court at the time, and
constructed by Chinese artisans. From the ruins we still can imagine out the grandeus of the palaces.
7. ANCIENT OBSERVATORY(Gu Guan Xiang Tai)
This ancient observatory seats on a high platform which was used to be
the battlements of a watchtower on the Beijing city walls. An astronomical observatory was set up around this site in 1279 during the
Yuan Dynasty, and astronomical instruments designed and made by the
famous astronomer, hydraulics engineer and mathematician Guo Shou
Jing and by other astronomers were installed on the top of the observatory. The observatory and instruments were the most advanced
in the world at that time.
8. EXHIBITION HALL OF CHINESE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Once again, please notice that the places for these footloose tours are very limited, and will be served in a "first come first take" principle. Therefore, if you want to join any of the footloose tours, please contact
Ms Huijuan Wang
(email@example.com) as soon as possible.
Chairman, Organizing Committee of ICM2002