During our trip to China, following our participation in the Montessori Model UN, we visited Kaifeng City, one of the eight ancient capitals of China. It was particularly interesting to learn that Kaifeng had been the capital during the Northern Song Dynasty, which we learned was one of the most prosperous and stable dynasties in Chinese history.

On the way to Kaifeng City, our tour guide, Albert, spoke to us about life in China – both today and in Kaifeng City during the Song Dynasty. Our students were taken aback to hear that Chinese students preparing for the entrance exams to university spend their last year of high school studying from 5 a.m. to midnight, with only a few breaks for meals! Albert also taught us how to say certain phrases in Chinese and sang some traditional songs to us!

We started our day at the Millennium City Park, a reconstruction of Kaifeng during the Song Dynasty which was based off of a twelfth century painting by Zhang Zeduan of 'The Qingming Festival by the Riverside' (depicting life at the time). It was great fun to walk around the park, as everywhere people were dressed in the traditional garb of the time. There were also a number of little performances allowing us to get a sense of what life at the time was like. 

We ate lunch at a famous restaurant where we were treated to an incredible spread! Everyone was enthusiastic about trying new things!


After lunch, we took a tour of the Memorial Temple of Lord Bao. Lord Bao is a Chinese hero from the Song Dynasty. He was an official who fought courageously and unyieldingly against corrupt officials and protected ordinary people from being exploited. Our guide explained Lord Bao's story and showed us around this special temple. It was a beautiful and peaceful spot!



We then went to the Iron Pagoda, a 13-story pagoda built during the Song Dynasty. Although the pagoda is actually built of brick, it appears to be made of iron from a distance (because of the color of the bricks). Three of our students braved the climb to the top with teacher, Emily as the rest of the group spent time at a nearby playground...where they discovered some very friendly pigeons!