The Great Wall Sign

Travel to the great wall in China

The Forbidden City in China


forbidden cityPopular movies have depicted the Forbidden City China as a mysterious locale holding the secrets of ancient Chinese royalty. In a way, this is true.

The secretive nature of the destination still resonates with visitors today, even though China no longer has any nobility. That this huge complex rests just behind one of the largest plazas in the world reminds you of how quickly the amazing attractions in China tend to pile up on one another, overwhelming visitors' senses.

Forbidden City Facts

• The Forbidden City China is 720,000 square meters in area, which is almost two times the size of the Vatican.

• The complex is so large that workers spend a full decade doing renovations. As soon as they finish, they have to take up the job again immediately.

• A moat surrounds the palace. It is 56 meters wide, six meters deep and served as a barrier of protection.

• The name "forbidden" comes from the fact that only people accepted by the emperor could enter the giant complex.

• Deeper inside the city, most women were not allowed. The only exception to this was for the emperor's wife on the day of her marriage.

• According to UNESCO, this collection of painted wooden buildings is the largest in the world.

• In Chinese, the palace is known as GùGōng. This means "former palace", reflecting the dissolution of the monarchy in modern China.

• At one time, almost 10,000 people called the Forbidden City China home. Besides the royal family itself, servants, scholars, guards, concubines and eunuchs lived there.

• During the Ming Dynasty, among others, eunuchs gained significant political and military power and played a huge role in Chinese history.

• Legend has it that the building originally had 9,999 rooms. This reflected the belief that the number nine was auspicious.

• Puyi, who became emperor at age three, was destined to become the final emperor in China.

• For many years, only a select few people were allowed to look directly at the emperor's face. Those who dared break this rule were punished by death.

• The Japanese took away many of the original artworks stored in the Forbidden City. Some of this was returned, but a lot of it was transferred to Taipei.

• The color yellow was associated with the emperor. This is reflected in the fact that only the emperor and his wife were permitted to eat off of the bright yellow china dishes.

• Over fifty thousand paintings adorn the walls of the Forbidden City, which is now a large museum.

• Over a thousand mechanical timepieces from the 1700s and 1800s exist at the museum. "Hall of Clocks" is one of the largest collections in the world.

When you know your Forbidden City Facts, you can begin to scrape away at the mystery of this destination. But, it seems that no matter how many times you visit, something of that magic still hangs in the air. If you really want to have that feeling, take a look at one of the documentaries or feature films about the Forbidden City China and let yourself dream away.

forbidden city inside

History of the Forbidden City

The history of the Forbidden City in China dates back to the 1400's. Its construction was ordered by Emperor Chengzu of the Ming Dynasty in 1406. It took 14 years to build, and over one million workers and one thousand artisans contributed their time and labor. It would be the home to the Ming and Qing Dynasties until 1911 when the republican revolution took over the Palace. The Emperor, just a child, and his family were allowed to stay in the palace from 1911 to 1924, when they were eventually expelled by the republican troops. In 1925, the Forbidden City Palace was created into a Palace Museum and opened to the public for viewing in 1950. With over a million artifacts and historic goods, this Palace is visited by millions of people from all over the world. This Palace is one of the oldest and most preserved, making the history of the Forbidden City in China available for all to see.

The Forbidden City Palace

This rectangular palace sits on 72 hectacres of land. There are a little over 8,700 rooms and 980 buildings in the 980 by 750 gated area. The Palace was divided into two sections, the Inner and Outer Court. The Inner Court is where the Emperor spent his time with this family, and the Outer Court is where he conducted his political work that involved the country. 24 emperors, 14 from the Ming and 10 from the Qing dynasty, had ruled China from the Outer Court. After the republican revolution, that all changed.

In 1987, UNESCO declared the Forbidden City China a World Heritage Site. It has an eight meter high wall and a watchtower in all four corners for security purposes. There is also a 52 meter wide moat. Three gardens and Jingshan Park surround the Forbidden City. Its architecture has influenced the Chinese culture and other countries around the world. Yellow, being the symbol of the royal family, is the main color that decorates Forbidden City Palace. Its colors, organization, symbolism, religious touches and magnificent architecture make the Forbidden City China one of the most popular tourist attractions in China and in the world.

forbidden city throne

Attractions in Forbidden City

When first approaching Forbidden City, visitors enter the Gate of Heavenly Peace. They then enter the Meridian Gate to enter the Palace. To enter the Outer Court, visitors can cross the Golden Stream Bridge. The Outer Court is made up of three buildings: the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Central Harmony and the Hall of Preserving Harmony. There is then another gate that takes visitors to the Inner Court. There are three main palaces here; they are the Palace of Heavenly Peace, the Palace of Union and Peace and the Palace of Terrestrial Tranquility. There are also six Eastern and six Western palaces in the Inner Court.

Once visitors have spent their day visiting the different exhibitions, palaces and gardens, they can exit Forbidden City through the Divine Might gate, behind the Imperial Garden. There is a price to pay to tour the Forbidden City China, but it is a worthwhile visit full of culture, history and artifacts. Collections of bronze, ceramic, paintings, jade and timepieces dating over 600 years ago are available for tourists to see and marvel. Millions of people from China and all over the world visit the Forbidden City in Beijing, China each year to experience a little bit of royal history.