Enigmatic, awe-inspiring, puzzling, magnificent, fascinating…adjectives run short when describing the Forbidden City, a place of cultural pride for the Oriental World. Tour to the Forbidden City, China or the Palace Museum, the official name, is a trip of lifetime, an unforgettable experience.
Forbidden City: The Palace Museum
The Forbidden City, the colossal museum of cultural relics in China, is also known as Palace Museum. Itself the witness of the reigns of twenty-four emperors, it showcases one million precious historical relics relating from the Shang Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty.
- Ranked fifteenth in world wonder list by Hillman Wonders.
- Declared a World Heritage Site in 1987.
- Massive palace complex comprising more than nine thousand rooms and spread over 250 acres.
- The image of Tiananmen, the entrance to the Imperial City, appears on the seal of the People’s Republic of China.
- Museum of Chinese antiques and treasures.
- Tour Attractions
- Hall for Ancestry Worship(Fengxiandian)
- Hall of Celestial and Terrestrial Union (Jiaotaidian)
- Hall of Central Harmony (Zhonghedian)
- Hall of Joyful Longevity(Leshoutang)
- Hall of Mental Cultivation(Yangxindian)
- Hall of Preserved Harmony (Baohedian)
- Hall of Supreme Harmony(Taihedian)
- Tiananmen Gate
- Gate of Celestial Purity(Qianqingmen)
- Meridian Gate
- Gate of Divine Military Genius
- East Flowery Gate
- West Flowery Gate
- Palace of Celestial Purity(Qianqinggong)
- Palace of Terrestrial Tranquility(Kunninggong)
- Palace of Tranquil Longevity(Ningshougong)
- Six Eastern Palaces(Dongliugong)
- Six Western Palaces(Xiliugong)
- Huge Stone Carving
- Imperial Garden (Yuhuayuan)
- Nine Dragons Screen
- Country : China
- City : Beijing
- Known For : Largest ever palace complex, Architectural masterpiece of China
- Best Time To Visit : May to June and September to November
- Architectural Style : Imperial Chinese
Why to Visit
- Largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures on the planet.
- One of the most popular tourist attraction in the world.
- Masterpiece of Chinese architecture- majestic style, flawless construction, fine coordination.
- Two lakh men worked for fourteen years. The result was the Forbidden City.
- It receives over 10 million visitors each year (foreign and domestic).
- Jinshan Hill is the best place to watch the splendid layout of the palace.
- Not forget to view the Tiananmen Square from rostrum of the front gate.
- You could end up paying much more than you should for your souvenirs. So be careful.
How To Reach
You can take taxis/cabs from Beijing Airport and Railway Station. Local buses also ferry passengers to the area. Qianmen is the nearest underground local train station.
12,000 square metre Imperial Garden, which lies at the northern end of the Forbidden City, was used by the members of the imperial household to relax. A labyrinth of old trees and pavilions, the garden footpaths, made from small stones, are paved with mosaic patterns. made from small stones.
The Forbidden City is encircled by some more picturesque gardens. Zhongnanhai Park, the complex of buildings centred on two lakes is located towards west. To the north-west sits Beihai Park, which also centres on a lake. To the north lies Jingshan Park, also known as Jing Shan or Coal Hill.
The year was 1406. Two lakh men combined their hard labour for fourteen years. The result was the Forbidden City in1420. Till 1644, the Forbidden City remained the imperial seat of the Ming Dynasty. Then, the Qing Dynasty took the reins of the imperial power. The Forbidden City served as the home of twenty-four emperors- fourteen of the Ming Dynasty and ten of the Qing Dynasty. With the abdication of Puyi, the last emperor of China, it lost it’s place as the political seat of China.
Why A Forbidden City
The Forbidden City gained this mysterious title because entry was banned without imperial permission. The offender had to part with his life.
- Once the number of rooms in the Forbidden City was 9,999. The Chinese considered 9 a lucky number.
- Ringed by a 10 meter (33 foot) high protective wall. The defense was strengthened by a moat as wide as a river.
- The Forbidden City occupies 720,000 square metres of land, which is equivalent to twenty plus football fields.
- The colossal complex was home of some six thousand people, including the imperial family.
- Puyi, the last resident emperor of the Forbidden City, was permanently evicted in 1924. He was depicted in Bertolucci’s 1987 epic movie ‘The Last Emperor’.
- The British are the only power who succeeded in capturing the Forbidden City. They did so during the Second Anglo-Chinese Opium War, in 1860.
- The earth excavated during the construction of the moat was piled up at a single place. The result was Jingshan Hill, an artificial hill.
The Forbidden City, a priceless architectural marvel, fully embodies the artistic features and style of ancient Chinese imperial structure. Majority of structures, exuding harmony and symmetry, were built with wood, resting on blue-and-white stone foundations, roofed with tiles glazed yellow.
The Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Central Harmony and the Hall of Preserving Harmony, which are within the Outer Part, and the Hall of Heavenly Purity, the Hall of Union and the Hall of Earthly Tranquility, which adorn the inner part, stand in a line from south to north on the central axis. The throne symbolizing imperial power is placed at the centre of this axis.
World’s largest palace complex, the Forbidden City, is reputed to host 9,999 rooms. Encased by a mighty defensive wall and a deep moat are five halls, seventeen palaces, and numerous other buildings. Every wall is pierced by a majestic gate. The four corners of the curtain wall are strengthened by uniquely structured towers, which were used to overlook both the palace and the sprawling city. The Forbidden City is segregated into two parts- Outer and Inner. Buildings of the Outer Part were used mainly for ceremonial purposes while the Inner Part structures were where the Emperor worked and resided.
Yellow, the imperial color, flows over the rooftops. Red color of the walls, was considered symbol of happiness and auspiciousness. However,. Wenyuange, the royal library, with a black roof, is an exception. The Chinese believed that black symbolised water and could extinguish fire.
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