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Beijing Street Scenes August 4, 2008
Photos compiled by ARCHAEOLOGY's managing editor Eti Bonn-Muller
In Beijing, old meets new, ancient meets modern, and contemporary meets futuristic--sometimes, all at the same moment. Amid the continuous swoosh of traffic and gentle ring of bicycle bells; the clamor of street vendors peddling brightly painted paper kites and kitschy Chairman Mao-era replicas of goods; and the sizzle of pan-fried noodles emanating from the kitchens of street-side restaurants, there lies a quiet beauty. Here are some glimpses of life in the timeless Olympic metropolis.

Transportation

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1: For Beijing residents, the best way to get around the city is on a bicycle.
2: For tourists, the best way to explore a Beijing hutong is on a "rickshaw-style" tour.
3: Although the cheapest and most reliable way for toursists to get around Beijing is by taxi, traffic along the city's famous "ring roads" often comes to a virtual standstill.

Photos by Eti Bonn-Muller

Water

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1: A small bridge reflects in a glasslike pool of water near the south entrance to the Forbidden City.
2: Tourists get an early look at the dazzling new Water Cube swimming pool that will be featured in the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Photos by Eti Bonn-Muller

Crooked Facades

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1: A leaning doorframe in the northwest district of the Forbidden City features holes that were left by rebel Li Zhicheng's arrows (click image for detail). He led his army to Beijing and attacked the Forbidden City in 1644, but never penetrated this gate.
2: The leaning China Central Television (CCTV) Tower was designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). It features two 60-degree bent towers that are connected at the top. This summer's Olympic Games will be broadcast from here.

Photo 1 by Liu Bowen; photo 2 by Eti Bonn-Muller

Theater-Hutong

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1: The monumental National Grand Theater in Beijing was designed by French architect Paul Andreu.
2: Bingbuwa Hutong lies directly across the street from the National Grand Theater. Similar neighborhoods were razed to make way for the futuristic performance hall.

Photos by Eti Bonn-Muller

People

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1: An old woman sits outside a shop along Liulichang, a famous antiques district.
2: Young women sweep the area around their souvenir stands at the entrance to the Forbidden City.
3: A soldier stands guard in front of the Gate of Heavenly Peace in Tiananmen Square.
4: Elderly residents practice tai chi in a park at the base of Jingshan Hill, which offers exquisite bird's-eye views of the Forbidden City.

Photos 1, 2, 4 by Eti Bonn-Muller; photo 3 by Liu Bowen

Walls

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1: A late-eighteenth-century wall in the Qianlong Garden district of the Forbidden City suffers from water damage.
2: Shimmering glass walls adorn the state-owned Poly Group building, which houses art exhibitions.
3: The exterior of a Qing Dynasty courtyard house was recently refinished.
4: Young people express themselves through graffiti on a wall in Beijing's trendy art district called 798.

Photos by Eti Bonn-Muller

Wide-Narrow

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1: Wangfujing Dajie, a wide pedestrian-only shopping street in the heart of Beijing just a few blocks to the east of the Forbidden City, has been in the same spot since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Revitalized, expanded, and closed to traffic over the past two decades, it is now a popular place for young people to socialize.
2: Beixinqiao Santiao Hutong, a narrow shopping street near the Lama Temple, is the main commercial district for dozens of surrounding neighborhoods. Elderly local residents get their fruits and vegetables here, and run errands along the modest street.

Photo 1 by Eti Bonn-Muller; photo 2 by Liu Bowen

Roofs

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1: Extensive work is underway to stabilize the exteriors of the Forbidden City. The project is expected to be completed in 2020 to coincide with the 600th anniversary of the construction of the Ming Dynasty imperial palace.
2: Extensive work is underway on new apartment complexes in the area of the Olympic stadia. They are expected to be completed in time for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Photos by Eti Bonn-Muller

Modern Art-Ancient Art

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1-4: Contemporary work is on display in 798, Beijing's hip art district.

Photos by Eti Bonn-Muller

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1: Early Western Han Dynasty (206-141 B.C.) terracotta figurines from an imperial burial on view at Beijing University's archaeology museum.
2: Also on display at the university are terracotta tomb guardians from the eighth-century A.D. burial of Li Yanzhen, a low-ranking official in Henan Province.
3: A Liao Dynasty (A.D. 907-1125) sarcophagus at the Capital Museum
4: The Ten Thousand Buddhas Hall at Zhihua Temple (Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644) contains tiny drawers that store sutras.

Photos by Liu Bowen

Birds

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1: Birds soar above Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) Zhihua Temple, which retains much of its original interiors--a rare site in Beijing.
2: The ultramodern Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium was designed by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron.

Photo 1 by Liu Bowen; photo 2 by Eti Bonn-Muller

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