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Forbiden City

Forbidden City

The Forbidden City has a history of 600 years. The large scale construction of the palace extended from 1406 to 1420. It’s totally 24 emperors of the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty rule here, and was off-limits for the common people. On the foundation of the palace it is established the Palace Museum and began open to common people. Designated by the State Council as one of China's foremost protected monuments in 1961, the Palace Museum was also made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.

Covering an area of 72 hectares (about 180 acres) the Forbidden City consists of 9999 rooms surrounded by a 10-meter high city wall which measures 960 meters long from south to north and 750 meters wide from east to west. Outside the wall is a 52-meter-wide moat. It is indeed a city within a city.

Most of the structures in the Forbidden City are wooden with white stone foundations yellow glazed tiles and colorful wall paintings. A south-to-north axis line divides the complex by half. The whole complex looks imposing and stately.

The Forbidden City can be divided into the Outer Court and Inner Court. The Outer Court consists mainly of the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Middle Harmony and the Hall of Preserving Harmony. The Hall of Supreme Harmony was where the emperor held grand ceremonies.

The Inner Court is composed of the Palace of Heavenly Purity, the Hall of Union and Peace and the Palace of Earthly Tranquility with three palaces on either side. Here the emperor used to handle daily state affairs and the empress and concubines used to live. In the Ming Dynasty the height of its decadent history about 10,000 concubines lived here together with the 70,000 eunuchs who were there to cater for the ladies' (almost) every whim.

Much of the Forbidden City later fell into disrepair but the restoration work has been superb. The complex once again is the actual and spiritual heart of Beijing and it is certainly worth more than one viewing. Amble through the seemingly endless courtyards and halls and occasionally close your eyes and dream - this place is so atmospheric you can almost smell the history.

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