The beauty of China’s capital through lens of a Greek photographer
Published: Aug 23, 2022 05:17 PM
Tiantan in Beijing Photo: VCG

Tiantan in Beijing Photo: VCG

 For Greek photographer George Doupas, Beijing is home now. During the past decade, he has been photographing the city, capturing its beauty - from the historical monuments to the hutong neighborhoods and mazes of the streets - and sharing these photos online and in exhibitions.

"To me, this represents Beijing - the old and the new, nicely blending together," Doupas said while showing his photograph of the Zhihua Temple, an intricate Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) building located in front of the Galaxy SOHO, a modern office building featuring weaving bridges and interlocking passageways.

"It is fascinating to see how the city is rapidly developing while investing so much effort in preserving its past," he said.

Doupas first visited China as a backpacker in 2005. Amazed by what he discovered, he returned on several occasions. He settled down in Beijing in 2009 after marrying Li Yixue, a local who studied history and has been engaged in cultural heritage preservation.

"I like to explore this beautiful city, full of history and culture," he said.

With a history of over 3,000 years, including more than 800 years as the capital of ancient dynasties, Beijing has a rich cultural and historical heritage. Doupas often gets lost in the magnificence of the ancient architecture of Beijing with his camera.

"The Forbidden City is one of my favorites, and I go there frequently. That's why I have a year ticket. So I can go in different seasons, at different times," he said. 

"I also go to the Summer Palace. I spend whole days walking around the lake there," he said. "I like the alleyways in downtown Beijing. There you can see the real Beijing life."

As for Beijing's diversity, Doupas said, "The central business district (CBD), in the eastern part of Beijing, is a different place from the old city."

Surrounded by foreign embassies, multinational and international organizations, the CBD coordinates high-end businesses as well as the media industry.

During his 13 years in Beijing, Doupas has noticed China's efforts to protect its cultural heritage. 

"The Chinese government protects and restores its cultural heritage. I have seen it in the Forbidden City, in the Temple of Heaven, and in the alleys. The government takes care of the old buildings."

"Many historical sites have been renovated in Athens. It is something we have in common with China," he said.

Beyond Beijing, Doupas has also been traveling extensively across China. His home, located in southeastern Beijing, is cozy and decorated with photos and souvenirs from different parts of China.

Rice terraces cascading down lush hillsides, snow-capped mountains under the blue sky, and people in traditional ethnic costumes beaming with joy are some of the beautiful scenes in China, vividly reflected in his album of photos.

Doupas said he hopes to serve as a bridge between China and the West.

"A friend of mine, also a photographer, traveled to China in 2012 for the first time after seeing my photos," he said.

"I call Beijing my home now," he said. "I will keep sharing my photos of China with the rest of the world."