Situated in the very heart of Beijing is one of China’s largest and best preserved complex of ancient buildings – The Forbidden City. It is appropriately named so, because for 500 long years it was off limits to commoners. The Forbidden city (considered an otherworldly palace) was a reclusive home to two dynasties of imperial rule until the Republic demoted the last Emperor of China from the Qing Dynasty, Pui Yi, in 1912.
Under Emperor YongLe’s reign, the construction of the Forbidden City began in 1406. The construction took about 14 years to complete and it is estimated that roughly 1 million workers and 100,000 artisans were involved in its construction.
The Forbidden city was constructed in accordance with ancient rules of spatial design. There were rules which specified that the main buildings should be aligned along a straight axis from the South to the North, flanked by symmetrical arrangement of minor structures on parallel axes. Most of the buildings inside the Forbidden City face south because the North was generally associated with evil because most invasions of China had originated from over there.
If you want to know more about the culture of China, I think visiting this place is a great way to start.
Tips+ interesting facts:
- Wear comfortable walking shoes (no high heels!) because the palace is 960m long aand 750m wide. It has 9999 rooms in total. You will be very exhausted at the end of the trip.
- The well guarded palace is surrounded by a moat. Any Intruders or uninvited guests will be instantly executed. Don’t worry, nowadays 40RMB will suffice for entry.
- Walk through the wide open courtyards along its central axis.
-The side offers some museum exhibits. You’ll get to see some very cool ancient artefacts from the Ming and Qing Dynasty.
- Average time for this activity is 1.5h
- The Forbidden City opens from 8:30am – 5:00pm. Last admission is at 4:00pm.
- Look out for some fancy little ceramic guardians perched on the rooftops of the buildings. They’re easy to spot, but you could easily miss them. (related to chinese mythology, if you’re interested in that)
-There are audio tours available in english and chinese.
-Restaurants, toilets and a police station can be found within the palace grounds.
-Wheelchairs and strollers are free to use but you may need to pay a deposit.
- The Clock Exhibition Hall is one of the highlights of the Forbidden City – make sure to check it out! The exhibition contains a fascinating array of elaborate timepieces which were given as gifts to the Qing emperors from overseas.
Roof top “Guardians”