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Forbidden City

The Forbidden City (Pinyin: zǐjìnchēng ; 紫禁城), also known as the Palace Museum (Pinyin: gùgōng; 故宫), was the residence of the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is the best preserved imperial palace in China and the largest and most complete ancient palatial structure in the world.

This unparalleled ancient architectural masterpiece situated exactly in the heart of the municipality. The construction of the grand palace started in the fourth year of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty (1406) and ended in 1420. The Forbidden City covers an 720,000 sq meter (7,800,000 sq ft) and consists of 90 palaces and courtyards, 980 buildings and 8,704 rooms.. The three major halls, the three palaces of the inner court, and the imperial garden are all placed on the central axis to symbolize the supreme power of the emperor. Other buildings are built on both sides of the north to south axis symmetrically. The axis extends from the Forbidden City to the Yongdingmen Gate in the south and to the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower in the north. There are unique and delicately structured towers on each of the four corners of the wall. The Forbidden City is divided into two parts. The southern section or the Outer Court was where the emperor exercised his supreme power over the nation. The northern section or the Inner Court was where he lived with his royal family.

Halls: Here are the three major Halls at the Outer Courtyard where emperors exerted their supreme power and held their imperial ceremonial events.

  • Hall of Supreme Harmony (Pinyin: Tai He Dian; 太和殿): Emperors held grand ceremonies to mark accessions, weddings, declaring wars as well as announcing the successful candidates in the imperial examinations.
  • Hall of Central Harmony (Pinyin: Zhong He Dian; 中和殿): Emperor came to rest here and receive respects from his officials before presiding over grand ceremonies in the Hall of Supreme Harmony. 
  • Hall of Preserved Harmony (Pinyin: Bao He Dian; 保和殿): Emperors gave banquets to princes, dukes and ministers of minor nationalities at Chinese New Year eve.


  • Palace of Celestial Purity (Pinyin: Qian Qing Gong; 乾清宮):  It has the horizontal inscribed board with wordings 正大光明 above the imperial throne. Emperor Kangxi started the system of writing the name of the selected successor on a testament and hid it behind the board of 正大光明.
  • Hall of Mental Cultivation (Pinyin: Yang Xin Dian; 養心殿): Emperor Yongzheng of Qing Dynasty moved his offices and residence here. Ruling Behind the Curtain happened in the east room of Yang Xin Dian where Empress Dowager Cixi took charge of the state affairs behind the curtain when the emperors Tongzhi, Guangxu or Fuyi was young. And she ruled China over half a century in late Qing Dynasty in this way.
  • Palace of Terrestrial Tranquility (Pinyin: Kun Ning Gong; 坤寧宮): It was the empresses' chamber in the Ming dynasty. The two east side-rooms were the emperor's bridal chamber. Qing Emperors Kangxi, Tongzhi and Guangxu were all married in this Palace.


  • Tiananmen Gate
  • Gate of Celestial Purity
  • Meridian Gate
  • Gate of Divine Military Genius
  • East Flowery Gate
  • West Flowery Gate

Inside the Palace Museum, which is also the largest and most important art museum in China, there are hundreds of thousands of works of art and treasures from the collections of many emperors in the dynasties of China's ancient history. Listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1987, the Palace Museum is now one of the most popular tourist attractions worldwide.

zhengda piecestone

The Palace of Heavenly Purity (Pinyin: Qian Qing Gong 乾清宮) is a double-eaved building, and set on a single-level white marble platform. It is connected to the Gate of Heavenly Purity to its south by a raised walkway. In the Ming Dynasty, it was the residence of the Emperor. However, beginning from the Yongzheng Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, it became the Emperor's audience hall. A caisson is set into the roof, featuring a coiled dragon. Above the throne hangs a tablet reading "Justice and Honour" (Pinyin: zhèngdàguāngmíng; 正大光明).

Dragon pavement is at the back of the Hall of Preserved Harmony (Pinyin: Bao He Dian). It is the largest stone carving in the palace: 16.75 m long, 3.07 m wide and 1.7 m thick. It weighs 200 tons and was carved out of a huge natural stone in the early Ming Dynasty. It took 10,000 men to cut and transport it.
yuding crosstree
御景亭- Temple on an artificial hill of karstic limestone in Imperial Garden, containing pillars of conglomerate. The branch-interlocked cypresses trees symbolize  love of couples: 在天愿作比翼鸟,在地愿为连理枝。天长地久有时尽,此恨绵绵无绝期.
gugong nineani

The Gate of Divine Might, the northern gate. The lower tablet reads "The Palace Museum" (故宫博物院).

The sloping ridges of building roofs are decorated with a line of statuettes led by a man riding a phoenix and followed by an imperial dragon. The number of statuettes represents the status of the building — a minor building might have 3 or 5. The Hall of Supreme Harmony has 10, the only building in the country to be permitted this in Imperial times.

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