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The Forbidden City Beijing

  • The Forbidden City is situated in the center of Beijing. It was the imperial palace from the Ming dynasty up to the end of the Qing dynasty. Presently it houses the Palace Museum.
  • For about 500 years, it was used as the home of kings and their belongings, and the ceremonial as well as political center of Chinese government. Constructed from 1406 to 1420, the complex is spread over180 acres and has 980 buildings. The palace complex serves as an example of traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced architectural and cultural developments in East Asia as well as elsewhere. The Forbidden City was listed by UNESCO as the biggest collection of conserved ancient old wooden constructions all over the world and was declared as a World Heritage Site in 1987.



Front Internal Entrance To Forbidden City Beijing


History

  • During the Mongol Yuan Dynasty, the location of the Forbidden City was in the Imperial City. After the establishment of the Ming dynasty, the Emperor shifted the capital from Beijing to Nanjing. When his son Zhu Di became the King, he shifted the capital back to Beijing, and construction work started in 1406 on what would become the Forbidden City.
  • Construction work by more than a million workers continued for 14 years. Materials used included big blocks of marble from quarries near Beijing and complete logs of valuable Phoebe zhennan from the jungles of south-western China. The floors of main halls were lined with "golden bricks", specifically baked lining bricks from Suzhou.
  • The Forbidden City was the capital of the Ming dynasty from 1420 to 1644. It was captured in April 1644, by revolutionary forces commanded by Li Zicheng, who declared himself king of the Shun Dynasty.
  • During the Second Opium War in 1860, Anglo-French forces captured the Forbidden City. During the Boxer Rebellion, in 1900 Empress Dowager Cixi ran away from the Forbidden City leaving it to be taken over by forces of the treaty powers.
  • In 1912, the last king of China, Puyi resigned and with that the Forbidden City ceased being the capital of China. As per an agreement with the new government of Republic of China, Puyi confined in the Inner Court, the Outer Court was for public use. Puyi was removed from the Inner Court after a rebellion in 1924. In 1925, the Palace Museum was established in the Forbidden City. In 1933, after the Japanese invasion of China the removal of the national treasures in the Forbidden City to Taiwan took place. After the end of the Second World War, part of the collection was returned.
  • In 1949, following the creation of the People's Republic of China some damage was done to the Forbidden City. Further destruction during the Cultural Revolution, was avoided when Premier Zhou Enlai deputed an army battalion to protect the city.
  • Because of its significant place in the development of Chinese culture and architecture, UNESCO declared the Forbidden City as the World Heritage Site in 1987. Presently it’s administered by the Palace Museum that is working on a sixteen-year restoration project to restore and repair all buildings in the Forbidden City to their pre-1912 condition.
  • Recently the setting up of commercial enterprises in the Forbidden City has become contentious. A Starbucks store which opened in 2000 triggered objections and ultimately closed on July 13, 2007. In 2006, Chinese media also noticed a pair of souvenir shops which refused entry to Chinese citizens so as to price-gouge foreign customers.



Rear View Of Forbidden City Beijing


Description
  • The Forbidden City is rectangular in shape, measuring 753 metres from east to west and 961 metres from north to south. It was planned to be the centre of the old, walled town of Beijing. It’s surrounded by a large, walled area called the Imperial City. The Imperial City is itself enclosed by the Inner City; the Outer City lies to its south.
  • The Forbidden City is significant in the civic plan of Beijing. The central north–south axis is the middle axis of Beijing. To the South, this axis passes through Tiananmen gate to Tiananmen Square, the traditional centre of the People's Republic of China. To the North, it passes through Jingshan Hill.
Walls and gates
  • The Forbidden City is enclosed by a 7.9 metres high city wall and 6 metres deep by 52 metres wide moat. At the base, the walls are 8.62 metres wide tapering to 6.66 metres at the top. These walls served both as retaining walls and defensive walls for the palace. They were built with a rammed earth core, and lined with three coatings of specifically baked bricks on both sides.
  • There are towers with intricate roofs at the four corners of the wall. These towers are the most visible parts of the palace to visitors.
  • On each side, the wall is pierced by a gate. The main Meridian Gate is at the southern end. The Gate of Divine Might that faces Jingshan Park is to the north. The east and west gates are called the "East Glorious Gate" and "West Glorious Gate". All gates in the Forbidden City are embellished with a nine-by-nine array of golden door nails, except the East Glorious Gate, that has eight rows.
  • The Meridian Gate has 2 wings forming three sides of a square before it. The gate has 5 gateways. The central gateway is a stone flagged path and leads from the Gate of China in the south to Jingshan in the north.
Outer Court
  • Customarily, the Forbidden City is divided into 2 parts. The Outer Court or Front Court and the Inner Court or Back Palace. The Outer Court includes the southern sections, and was used for ritual purposes. The Inner Court includes the northern sections, and was the home of the monarch and his family, and was used for day-to-day affairs of state.
  • Getting in from the Meridian Gate, there is a big square, pierced by the Inner Golden Water River that is crossed by 5 bridges. Beyond the square there is the Gate of Supreme Harmony. The Hall of Supreme Harmony Square is behind this. From this square, a white marble terrace rises.
  • The Hall of Supreme Harmony is the biggest, and rises about 30 metres above the level of the adjacent square. It’s the ceremonial hub of imperial power, and the biggest surviving wooden structure in China. It’s five bays deep and nine bays wide. In the Ming dynasty, the Emperor held court here to talk about matters of state. During the Qing dynasty, the Hall of Supreme Harmony was used only for ceremonial purposes, like imperial weddings coronations and investitures.
  • The Hall of Central Peace is a square, smaller, hall. The Hall of Preserving Harmony is behind it. All 3 halls feature imperial thrones, the biggest and most elaborate is in the Hall of Supreme Harmony.
  • The northern slope, behind the Hall of Preserving Harmony, is made from one piece of stone1.7 metres thick, 3.07 metres wide and 16.57 metres long. Its weight is about 200 tonnes and is the biggest such carving in China. The southern ramp, in front of the Hall of Supreme Harmony, is longer, but it is made from two stone slabs.
Inner Court
  • The Inner Court is separated from the Outer Court by an oblong courtyard. The Emperor and his family resided here. In the Qing dynasty, the Emperor resided and worked in the Inner Court. The Outer Court was used just for ceremonial purposes.
  • There are three halls at the centre of the Inner Court. From the south, these are the Palace of Earthly Tranquility, Hall of Union, and the Palace of Heavenly Court. The 3 halls of the Inner Court were the official residences of the Emperor and the Empress.
  • The Imperial Garden is behind these three halls. Compact in design and relatively small, the garden has many elaborate landscaping features. The Gate of Divine Might is to the north of the garden.
  • The Hall of Mental Cultivation is directly to the west. The offices of the Grand Council and other main government bodies are located around the Hall of Mental Cultivation.
  • The Palace of Tranquil Longevity is in the north-eastern section of the Inner Court. The entrance to the Palace of Tranquil Longevity in the Forbidden City is being restored in a partnership between the World Monuments Fund and the, Palace Museum a project expected to complete in 2017.



Mythical Lion Bronze Statue Inside The Forbidden City