The Forbidden City in Beijing is said to be the best preserved imperial palace complex in the world. The home of 24 emperors during Ming and Qing dynasties (1368 to 1912), The Forbidden City was listed as the World’s Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 1987.
The Forbidden City sits in the central Beijing facing Tiananmen Square and has been designated as a National Palace Museum. The Forbidden City is counted as one of the world's five Palaces (the Forbidden City in Beijing, the French Palace of Versailles, Buckingham Palace, the White House and Kremlin). The palace of the Forbidden City is China 's largest and most significant ancient architectural complex with a total area of over 720 thousand square meters.
The Forbidden City is a “must see” site in Beijing with the maximum visiting numbers of visitors being up to 80,000 people per day.
The history of Forbidden City has been traced back to 1406, after Ming Emperor Zhuli seized the throne and decided to move the capital city to Beijing from Nanjing. The Emperor ordered his Beijing Palace built in style of the Palace in Nanjing. The palace had a 14 years construction period and was completed in 1420, the year of Yongle.
According to the theory of ancient Chinese astrology, the location of the palace is in transit, regarded as the Celestial Emperor, corresponding to heaven. There is an axis that runs through the Forbidden City and this represents the royal supremacy. The three main halls, the imperial harems and the imperial garden are all situated on this central axis.
Rooms on both sides of the axis are symmetric distribution of many palaces do not lack magnificence. These rooms can be divided into two parts - the outer court and inner court.
The outer court consists of Hall of Supreme Harmony, Hall of Central Harmony and Hall of Preserve as the three main halls, Wenhua Hall and Wuying Hall are the two wings.
The inner court consists of the Hall of Celestial Purity, the Hall of Celestial and Terrestrial Union and Hall of Terrestrial Tranquility and the six rooms on the east and west for its two wings. There is a strict and orderly layout.
At the four corners of the Forbidden City lay delicate and exquisite turrets which were for observation and defense. The Forbidden City is built in a square shape, and the inner city is surrounded by 10 m high, 3400 m long wall. Outside the wall is a 52 meters wide moat.
Some of the rooms and halls in the Forbidden City have been set up as history museums, painting museums, pottery museums, bronze museum, art museum of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the four treasures museum, watch museum and the Qing court judgments exhibition.
These museums contain a huge display a large collection of ancient art works. A total of 1,052,653 pieces are preserved in the Forbidden City, accounting for one sixth of the total number of the Chinese cultural relics. The Forbidden City is the largest history museum cultural relics in China. Many of these relics are unique and a priceless national treasure.
How to Visit The Forbidden City
The middle route (recommended): Meridian Gate → The Halls in Taihemen→ Qianqingmen→ Jiaotaidian→ Kunninggong→ Imperial Garden → Shenwumen
The East Route: Meridian Gate → the three Hall of Taihemen→ Qianqingmen→ Six Eastern Palace → Ningshougong→ Zhenfei Well
The West Route: Meridian Gate → The Hall of Taihemen→ Qianqinggong → Yangxin Hall→ Six Western Palace
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Forbidden City is from late April to early June, late August to the end of November. The weather of these months is good with not too much rain. Late April to early June is spring time in Beijing. The spring blossoms in the Imperial Palace are gorgeous.
Recommended Beijing Tours including a visit of Forbidden City
The Forbidden City is the largest surviving palace complex in the world. Its ancient palatial structure has been influential in the subsequent development of Chinese architecture, as well as providing inspiration for many modern constructions. The Forbidden City is one of the must-see attractions in Beijing.
- One day Beijing Forbidden City Tour: best preserved imperial palace and the largest ancient palatial structure
- 4-day Essence of Beijing Tour: see the highlights of Beijing: the magnificent Forbidden City, the man-made world wonder - the Great Wall and old hutong alleys
- Half day Photography Tour of Corner Tower of the Forbidden City: one of the best shooting spots; inherited the flexibility of the traditional wood structure construction