Forbidden City, Beijing, China
In the very center of Beijing, the capital of China, an impressive historical complex is located. The Forbidden City (in Chinese- Zijin Cheng or forbidden purple city) served as a residency for 24 imperators of China (14 of the Ming Dynasty, 10 of the Qing Dynasty) and it has been the political center of the city throughout the centuries.
Forbidden City History
It was the residence of the royal family until 1911. In 1987 it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage thus acknowledging its significance in Chinese architecture and culture in general. UNESCO has also approved it as the world’s oldest ancient complex of wooden buildings. It is claimed to be an excellent example of the Chinese religious traditions and court culture. Only in the last 100 years this huge complex with the story of hundreds of years of royal mightiness is open to everyone for the first time in these centuries.
Forbidden City Architecture
The complex was built from 1406 until 1420 and the size of it is truly astonishing – planned as a center of the ancient city of Beijing it was constructed as a rectangle, sized 961 x 753 meters. 980 buildings are forming the complex and, although it is still not survey-proved, it is believed that there are 9999 rooms in these buildings. The complex is surrounded by a 7.9 m high wall and a 6 m deep and 52 m wide moat. The walls had both defensive and retaining functions and in the corners of them 4 towers are located. These towers are the most visible parts of the palace and therefore it is has become an object of Chinese folklore. Overall, the Imperial Palace itself is a great mix of symmetrical and hierarchic tradition of Chinese architecture and the style of other cultures, like Tibetan, Mongolian, etc.
Forbidden City Tour
The Forbidden City is now open to the visitors of Beijing as a Palace Museum, where you are able not only to see the amazing and influential architecture of the palace but also a great collection of nearly 2 million of valuable items that are in its collection: paintings, ceramics, bronze ware, sculptures and others. With over 1000 items, it also holds the largest collection of mechanical timepieces of the 18th and 19th century.
The museum is open to its visitors every day and nearly 8 million tourists visit it each year. The Forbidden City is considered to be China’s most famous museum. Well preserved and deeply influential in Eastern culture, it is a must-see site when visiting Beijing.