Beijing is a city of monuments, whether they are Imperial, Communist, Capitalist, or something else (artistic? architectural? religious?). . . these are the types of objects and places that fit a global capital and the desire to represent itself through monuments is something that goes back to its earliest history as a political capital.
The above is one my favorite monuments in Beijing. The White Dagoba, a 150 foot tower made during the Yuan dynasty and sitting in the western part of old Beijing. Some of my relatives used to live in its shadows, and I love how it pops up over the hutong skyline. . .
One way to know Beijing is to know its monuments and see the way they narrate the city's history. They are kind of an "official" text of the aspirations of the city during different historical eras, how the rulers want the people who live in the city, or come into it, to understand it, to "read" it.
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