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Home >> Beijing Travel Attractions >> Forbidden City travel information and tour

Forbidden City

Beijing Forbidden City
broze lion in Forbidden City
Forbidden City

The Forbidden City, located in the heart of Beijing, is the best-preserved imperial palace in China and the largest collection of ancient wooden structures in the world.

It served as the imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty, and was home to 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Construction of the Forbidden City started in 1406, and was completed in 1420.

The palace complex covers an area of 720 square meters, and consists of about 980 buildings with around 87, 00 rooms. It is surrounded by a 12-meter city wall measuring 3 kilometers in circumference. .There is a gate on each side of wall: Meridian Gate (Wumen), Donghua Men on the east, Xihua Men on the west, and Shenwu Men on the north, with Meridian Gate at the southern end the main entrance to the palace complex. At each corner of the wall stands a tower.

The Forbidden City is traditionally comprised of two major parts: the Outer Court and the Inner Court. The Outer Court was used for political and ceremonial purposes. It was where the emperors dealt with national affairs. Layout of the Outer Court is centered on the following three buildings: the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihedian), the Hall of Central Harmony (Zhonghedian) and the Hall of Preserving Harmony (Baohedian). The Hall of Supreme Harmony was used for grand ceremonies such as ceremony of a new emperor's enthronement and the emperors' wedding. The Hall of Central Harmony, in the middle of the Hall of Supreme Harmony and Hall of Preserving Harmony was for the emperors taking a rest before attending the grand ceremonies held in the Hall of Supreme Harmony. The Hall of the Preserving Harmony was where the emperors held banquets and imperial exams.

The Inner Court was the residence of the emperors and their families. It is separated from the Outer Court by the Gate of Heavenly Peace (Qianqingmen). The south of the gate is the Outer Court and the north of it is the Inner Court. At the center of the Inner Court stands three main buildings: the Palace of Heavenly Peace (Qianqingong), the Palace of Union and Peace (Jiaotaidian) and the Palace of Terrestrial Tranquility (Kunninggong). These three halls, smaller than the halls in the Outer Court, were the residences of the emperors, their empresses and concubines.

The Forbidden City was listed by the UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1987. Now some buildings of the palace have transformed into exhibiting halls where a great number of cultural items are displayed.

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Beijing
Forbidden City
Badaling Great Wall
Mutianyu Great Wall
Temple of Heaven
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798 Art Zone
Aquatics Center "Water Cube"
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