forbidden city

Zijin Cheng, literally means “Purple Forbidden City”, and commonly known as “Forbidden City” is an imperial palace built in the heart of Beijing, China during the reign of the third Ming Emperor, YongLe, who moved the capital of China from Nanjing to Beijing. The residence was built as a replica of the Purple Palace where God was thought to live in Heaven. Hence, such a divine place was definitely forbidden to the commoner or the normal people and that is why the Forbidden City is so named. This 74-hectare city consists of 90 palaces and courtyards, 980 buildings and 8,704 bays of rooms, that once served as the home to 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, was built with the finest materials including whole logs of precious Phoebe zhennan wood, huge blocks of marble and floors paved with “golden bricks”. The Forbidden City was divided into two parts: the outer court and the inner court.

Today, the Forbidden City is a public museum, called the Palace Museum, such that it is open to anyone – travellers and tourists around the world. See yourself the Chinese traditional architecture and wonder at the treasures of the imperial family and its court. Hence, visiting and exploring the Forbidden City will be worth the travel.

Forbidden City is commonly reached by entering Tian’anmen Gate and Meridian Gate (place where the Emperor announced the new lunar calendar on the winter solstice) and crossing the Golden Stream Bridge to arrive at the Outer Court in which three Halls are waiting for you. The first one that you will reach the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the most significant and largest structure in the Forbidden City where you can find the Emperor’s Dragon Throne. Behind this first hall is the Hall of Central Harmony, the resting place of the emperor and where they rehearse their speeches and presentations before going to the Temple of Heaven for the sacrifice rites. The last hall is the Hall of the Preserving Harmony which is used for feasts or banquets, and was also the site of the final stage of the Imperial examination. Out from this hall is a large block of marble with dragon designs, such that if you walk straight, you’ll notice another gate, the Gate of Heavenly Peace, which is the main gateway to the inner palaces.

The inner court consists of three main palaces behind the Forbidden City. The first structure inside is the Palace of Heavenly Peace, the emperor’s residence. At the rear of it is the Palace of Union and Peace, the storage place of imperial seals. Next to it is the Palace of Terrestrial Tranquility, the emperor’s wedding room. Heading further north, you’ll find the Imperial Garden that offers a colorful and luxuriant atmosphere. On the left side of the inner court, you will see the Mental Cultivation Hall the most important building except for the Hall of Supreme Harmony.

Besides the three main buildings there are the six eastern palaces and six western palaces (minor palaces), the living quarters for the emperor’s concubines, and where the emperor used to deal with everyday programs and affairs.

Behind the Imperial Garden, right next to the Mental Cultivation Hall will head you to the main exit, the Gate of Divine Might.

Leaving you enjoyment and knowledge exploring the best preserved imperial palace in China and the largest ancient palatial structure in the world.


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