The Forbidden City

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Forbidden City (Palace Museum)

The 24 Emperors that belong to the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing, China have made The Forbidden City their imperial home from 1644 to 1911.  This Purple Palace is said to closely resemble the place where God lives in heaven.  Those with royal blood and lineage were said to be the only individuals that can enter The Forbidden City.  This is the reason why ordinary citizens were forbidden to enter even its gates.  In the past The Forbidden City, now known as Gugong which simply means the Old Palace.  This City was securely protected by 10 meter high walls which are heavily guarded with its own watch tower surrounded by a moat for additional security.

Because of the Chinese government’s efforts towards preserving this magnificently built walled city and its edifice; it has been nominated by the World Heritage Foundation of UNESCO as one of the greatest specimens of Chinese cultural contribution to the world.  It has been given the distinction of being one of the five greatest palaces/buildings in the world along side such famous edifices such as Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom and the White House in America.  It is no longer “forbidden” as it once was so anyone can visit this place after paying an admission charge to enter the present Palace Museum.

The Forbidden City can be entered through Tiananmen Square by present travelers who would wish to visit this grand place.  The Forbidden City is composed of a brick paved square covering an area of approximately 180 acres.  Since the Chinese think that nine is a lucky number, they have built 9,999 rooms inside the palace.  It is only during her wedding day that the Empress can enter the inner sanctum rooms of the palace.  It would take more than a day to visit the interesting halls and rooms inside the palace to experience and see how the Chinese royal families lived in the past.

The Qing dynasty was quite harsh in handling their male servants for almost two thousand years as evidenced, these male servants’ testicles were castrated, preserved and even mummified.  Since social rankings was given great importance during that time, only the Emperor and Empress can eat from real gold or porcelain bowls, cups and plates.  There are numerous treasures to explore that are displayed for the public to enjoy and be amazed.  The exhibit gives visitors a good idea of how the secret lives inside these walls were lived during that time.

Must See In The Forbidden City

The most notable places to visit inside the Forbidden City are inspired by different themes.  The Outer Courts symbolizes Harmony.  It is in the Gate of Supreme Harmony that you will find the Dragon Throne.  It is also in the Hall of Preserving Harmony where young Chinese nobleman sat in preparation for their Imperial exams.  You must also visit the Imperial Garden which covers an area of almost one acre that showcases the classical method of Chinese gardening and landscaping.

The Inner Court pays tribute to Heavenly Purity, Peace and Earthly Tranquility.  The Forbidden City houses the West, East and Far East Palaces but the best place that has been richly preserved so far has got to be the Hall of Mental Cultivation and Yikun Palace.  The other places to see is the Clock Exhibition Hall which houses 200 clocks that were made in Switzerland and England exclusively for the royal family.  Each elaborately designed ornament and architectural buildings carry a specific symbol for the Ancient Chinese people who lived during that time.  It is no wonder why each of the gates and halls each carry their own specific theme.

That’s our presentation for The Forbidden City.  Next we’ll look at The Temple of Heaven.