History teaches us what our past was and prepares us to live a better present and a better future.
Every country tries to maintain their past in various museums and other historic structures but China may be the best at it.
It’s amazing to see how china is passionate for history and culture recording. Everything in this vast country is recorded even what some people may consider irrelevant.
Over the past month, we toured various facilities in the China’s capital Beijing as part of a seminar we were invited to attend with other journalists from nine African countries.
For historians, China is one of the oldest civilisation and is regarded as the cradle of civilization.
The history of China’s civilisation dates long time ago but mainly in the third Century before BC which saw some of the most advanced technology at the time including paper making and using compasses plus agricultural and medical improvement.
The invention of gunpowder and printing in the Tang dynasty 618-907 completed the Four Great Inventions.
It is astonishing that China’s long journey of civilization and their entire history is well documented.
Everything in their lifestyle can be found in their various museums, which also serve as education hubs for young generations.
From Architecture, culture, Religion, technology, printing and many other various specific sectors have specific museums showing how they have been preserved from ancient China until now.
Surprisingly, everyday accomplishments are always added so that future generations will be able to learn from them.
The Imperial College
Imperial college was the highest educational administration and the top school from 12th century until the end of 20th century.
Located in Beijing, the college with its traditional buildings has been conserved to serve as a memory on how the Chinese education system was like.
Also known as Guozijian, the Imperial College was established during Yu, Ming and Qing dynasties.
It is also the temple of Confucius, the great ideologist and philosopher who is still respected until today. It is a place where Chinese leaders in various periods were trained on how to be good and patriotic leaders.
To date, the college serves as a museum showcasing the Chinese traditional education, and most brilliant students from all corners in the country go there for training as one of the ways of preparing themselves for further steps in education or real life.
Inside the main building, people come and bow to honour Confucius in front of the monument where he used to sit while teaching.
The capital museum is located in the Confucius temple. It was renovated in 1953 and officially opened in 1981. The architectural design concept of the museum is to use cultural heritage to serve the society.
The museum contains many things about the Chinese culture, which harmoniously integrate the past and present Chinese history, art and nature.
Around 5000 pieces of cultural relics are displayed in this museum most of them are from the past years and show historical heritages of the Beijing city. This is a small fraction though as the museum contains over 200,000 cultural relics
A significant percentage of the museum’s art collection comprises artifacts unearthed in Beijing.
The view of the museum is most attractive to see from a distance as it has a massive roof at the entrance.
The structure was influenced by ancient Chinese architecture and the stone exterior wall symbolises the city walls and towers of ancient china.
Visitors enjoy seeing a massive stone carved with images of dragon, phoenix and imperial artifacts is embedded on the ground in front of the north gate of the museum.
There is also a decorative archway which is set at the reception hall and shows the central axis feature that is commonly seen in Chinese architecture.
The Bronze Exhibition Hall, which has an oval-shape, was meant to symbolise the unearthing of ancient relics by its slanting design which extends from the ground to the exterior of the museum.
Chaoyang Paleontological Museum
In the fossil of Jehol Biota located in Chaoyang city in Liaoning Province, various special animal fossils are found there and they include dinosaurs, gastropods, insects, various mammals among other animals. It is believed that China is the origin of the world birds.
A number of important research achievements have been made in the study of the origin of birds, the origin of feathers and the origin and the evolution of angiosperms.
Jehol Biota has become the international hotspot of paleontology known as \ one of the great discoveries of the 20th century.
The origin of dinosaurs has been discussed for so long, but according to what is seen in this museum, there is no doubt that they existed.
Remains of different mysterious creatures can be seen in the museum, and there is a great possibility that they are the origin of many kind of birds we see today, including chicken.
The Chinese scientists established theories that dinosaurs would have changed their size over time and became birds.
Beijing planning exhibition Hall
The Beijing planning exhibition hall introduces the long history of this immortal city, showcasing the great achievements in urban planning, construction as well as the splendid future of Beijing.
In one of its exhibition halls, the huge master plan is showcased, just like Beijing city on the paper. Every house, trees and water among others are all seen in the master plan.
The house also contains other miraculous forms of architectural like the Forbidden City master plan and others.
With a construction area of 16,000 square meters and an exhibition area of 8000 square meters, the four stored exhibition hall serves as a patriotism education base, as well as a platform for international experts and scholars.
China Science and Technology Museum
China science and technology museum is the only comprehensive museum of this sector at national level.
It’s amazing to see all forms of technologies which have been invented by Chinese themselves, some of it dates back to BC.
Hydraulic irrigation system, timing, construction and tailoring and other forms of technology can be seen in this museum and the way they have been progressing over time.
It depicts the history of science from paper making to powder gun and compasses up to the technology of making rockets.
The museum also showcases the strength of the Chinese army during the ancient period, the weapons the soldiers used to conquer the enemy who could invade their territory as well as how the leaders were respected.
Children constitute the majority of museum visitors.
The Great wall
The Great Wall is a defensive fortification in ancient China, which goes across many provinces and cities.
With a length of around 8 kilometers, it is one of the seven wonders in the world, and was listed on world cultural heritage in December 1987.
It was built in Western Zhou dynasty and the construction works continued through dynasties, it was finally completed in Ming dynasty.
There is a saying in China that if a person fails to reach the Great Wall, then that person is a coward. A lot of visitors from inside and outside China come there for a lifetime accomplishment.
Besides, more than 300 great foreign leaders and influential people across the globe have reached this wonder including US presidents Nixon and Regan and UK Minister Margaret Thatcher, among others.
Located in Liaoning in the eastern province, Phoenix mountain is destined to Buddhism custom savings and many pilgrims come there to worship Buddha.
This sacred Mountain teaches about Buddhism. Hundreds of pilgrims from across China and across the world flock the mountain every day.
Arriving there, they move towards the building, bowing and kneeling down as they pray to Buddha and as they enter they kneel down facing the monument of Buddha as they offer offerings in cash and in food products.
Ceramic arts and beverages, and music
You can move in the city of Beijing and other parts of China and the development confuses you that people in the city do not enjoy traditional beers and engage in ceramic arts.
But there are some local liquor companies and established companies that deal with ceramic arts and make clay products and other artifacts in a traditional way.
You can’t be surprised as well when you see old men and women holding traditional music instruments which you can compare to Inanga, Imiduri and drums among others in our local languages among others eagerly playing them.