by Fons1 via FlickrJeremy Goldkorn hits the road around Beijing for the New York Times and explains some of its past by exploring the surrounds of China’s capital.
Fanzipai — which means foreign writing sign — also has a Yuan Dynasty relic: some large rocks engraved with Sanskrit and Tibetan Buddhist verses. The carvings were probably made by traveling monks — Tibetans, Mongolians and other central Asians. The rocks are behind a gate, which is usually locked, but you can walk around the back to view them. There are signs in Chinese and English with a brief note about the rocks. No ticket is necessary.
Such relics are neglected by China’s tourism authorities. Perhaps this is because Communist Party-sanctioned history downplays the fact that during the Yuan (1271-1368) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, the area was ruled by Mongolians and Manchurians, respectively, who were at the time considered foreigners by the Han Chinese.