- World Heritage Sites in China
- Museums, Memorials & Research Centers in China
- Ancient Architectures in China
Location: Chang'an Street in Dongcheng District, Beijing (the center of Beijing city)
1961 - the first batch of China's national key cultural relics protection units;
1987 - World Heritage Site;
2013 - the world's existing largest and most complete ancient wooden structure buildings
Time for a Visit: 2.5 - 3 hours
Each April to October: 8:30-16:00
Each November to March: 8:30-15:30*
Close in each Monday afternoon (Except China national holiday, July to August)
Subway: Subway Line 1 - get off at Tiananmen East Station or Tiananmen West Station.
The Imperial Palace was formerly known as the Forbidden City, which covers an area of over 720,000 m², has more than 9,000 buildings and construction area of 150,000 square meters. Forbidden City was the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties, is the existing China's largest and most complete ancient buildings. It was first built in 1406 and finished in 1420. In its 500 years of history, there were 24 emperors living here. Experiencing several times renovation and expansion during the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Forbidden City is still remaining its original layout.
Forbidden City is known as the world's five major palaces (Forbidden City in Beijing, the Palace of Versailles in France, Buckingham Palace in UK, the White House in America, the Kremlin Palace in Russia). In 1961, the State Council announced the Forbidden City as the first batch of national key cultural relics protection units. In 1987, the Forbidden City was listed as World Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO. Juries evaluated: "The Forbidden City is the supreme power center in China over five centuries, with its landscape architecture, and huge buildings which accommodate 9,000 rooms of furniture and crafts, it has become a priceless historical witness of the Chinese civilization of Ming and Qing era.
The Forbidden City is also a treasure trove of movable cultural relics; it is the seat of the National Palace Museum. It has over 1.8 million movable cultural relics, including more than 1.68 million pieces of precious relics. In 2012, the highest single-day passenger flow volume of Forbidden City exceeded 180,000 people, and annual passenger flow volume exceed 15 million people. It can be regarded as the busiest museum in the world.
Layout of the Forbidden City
Forbidden City is surrounded by wall which is 10-meter high, 960-meter long from north to south and 753-meter wide from east to west, covering an area of 720,000 square meters which is the largest in the world. The entire construction of the Forbidden City is enclosed by two solid line of defense; the outside of this palace is a moat which is 52 meters in width, 6 meters in depth, and 3800 meters in length. The palace has 4 gates including Meridian Gate (Wumen) in the south, the Gate of Devine Might (Shenwumen
in the north, Donghua Gate (Donghuamen) in the east and Xihua Gate (Xihuamen) in the west. The four corners of the wall stands with 4 turrets which has 3-layer roof and 72 ridges, which are exquisitely carved, uniquely shaped and masterpieces of ancient Chinese architecture.
Based on its layout and function, Forbidden City is divided into two parts - the "Outer Palace" and "Inner Court". These two parts are bounded by Gate of Heavenly Purity (Qianqingmen): south is outer palace and north is inner court. The building atmosphere is very different between these two parts.
The "Outer Palace" regards Taihe Palace, Zhonghe Palace and Baohe Palace as its center, and is located in the central axis of the entire palace. Taihe Palace is generally called emperor's audience hall or "Qian Chao", where emperors held court. It is the place for emperors to exercise the powers and held festivals.
The inner court has the 3 imperial harems as its center, including the Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing Palace), the Hall of Union and the Palace of Earthly Tranquility (Kunning Palace). This area also consists of Hall of Mental Cultivation, Six Eastern Palaces, Six Western Palaces, Imperial Garden, etc. These places are the places for residence and entertainment. The eastern part of the inner court is the Palace of Peace and Longevity (Ningshou Palace) which was built after the abdication of Qianlong Emperor. The western part of the inner court has Hall of Benevolent Peace (Cining Palace), Shou'an Palace, etc.
►Recommended Tour to the Forbidden City: 4 Days Best of Beijing Tour
(Attractions: Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Mutianyu Great Wall, Changling Tomb)