Forbidden City

Useful information

The Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum, lies in the center of Beijing city. It was constructed from 1406 to 1420, and was home to the 24 emperors from the Ming dynasty (since the third emperor named Yongle Emperor) to the end of the Qing dynasty, between 1420 and 1924. It served also as the ceremonial and political center of the Chinese government for over 500 years. In 1987, the Forbidden City was listed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage, due to its significant place in the development of Chinese architecture and culture.

Now 16 million visitors e

ach year explore the Forbidden City who covers an area of 72 hectares with more than 9,000 rooms. The most important buildings are situated on the central north–south axis. Traditionally, it is divided into two parts: the Outer Court includes the southern section and was used for the ceremonial purposes, while the Inner Court includes the northern sections, and was the residence of the Emperor and his family.

The southern sections include the Meridian Gate (午门), the Gate of Supreme Harmony (太和门) and the Hall of Supreme Harmony (殿), the Hall of Central Harmony (殿), and the Hall of Preserving Harmony (殿). The Hall of Supreme Harmony is the largest, it was used for ceremonial purposes, such as coronations, investitures, and imperial weddings. The Hall of Central Harmony is a smaller, square hall, used by the Emperor to prepare and rest before and during ceremonies. Behind it, the Hall of Preserving Harmony, was used for rehearsing ceremonies, and was also the site of the final stage of the Imperial examination.

The Inner Court was the home of the Emperor and his family. In the Qing dynasty, the Emperor lived and worked almost exclusively in this place. At the centre of the Inner Court are located the Palace of Heavenly Purity () which represents the Heavens and Yang in the Chinese culture and was occupied by the emperor, the Palace of Earthly Tranquility (坤宁宫) where lived the empress who represents the Earth and Yin. Between these two palaces is the Hall of Union (交泰殿), where the Yang and Yin mixed to produce the harmony.

The last section the Imperial Garden (后花园) where the emperors, and their Empress, concubines could have a walk, see Beijing Opera etc.

For the discovery of the Forbidden City, it costs at least a half day, because except the six most important halls, it covers a lot of others palaces on either side. In these palaces expose a collection of 1.8 million pieces of art, including ancient calligraphy and painting, imperial artifacts, ancient books and archives.

In the early morning when every site is still quiet, you enter the Forbidden City after strolling on the Tian’an Men Place, and walk out from the Imperial Garden. If you like, you can continue to climb the Jingshan Hill from where you can have a good view on the Forbidden City.

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