"The Forbidden City" Forbidden City - The Palace Museum Tip by Blatherwick

  Forbidden City
by Blatherwick

The Forbidden City or Forbidden Palace, is the centre of everything in Beijing. It was the imperial palace during the mid-Ming and the Qing dynasties. Known now as the Palace Museum, its extensive grounds cover 720,000 square meters, 800 buildings and 9,999 rooms. As such, it is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the World, and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987. It is surrounded by a large area called the Imperial City.

The construction of the Forbidden City started in 1406 and took 14 years and an estimated 200,000 men. From its completion in 1422 to 1644, when a peasant revolt invaded it, the Forbidden City served as the seat of the Ming Dynasty. The following Qing Dynasty also occupied the Forbidden City. After being the home of 24 emperors?fourteen of the Ming dynasty and ten of the Qing?the Forbidden City ceased being the political center of China in 1912 with the abdication of Pu Yi, the last Emperor of China. He was, however, allowed and in fact required to live within the walls of the Forbidden City, until a coup launched by a local warlord in 1924.

Since the 1949 revolution, Tiananmen Gate in front of the Forbidden City has had a picture of Mao Zedong and two placards. The left one reads, "Long Live the People's Republic of China", while the right placard reads, "Long live the Great Unity of the World's Peoples". The phrasing has great symbolic meaning, as the phrase used for long live, like the palace itself, was traditionally reserved for Emperors of China, but is now available to the common people.

Address: In the centre of Beijing
Directions: The Imperial Palace grounds are located directly to the north of Tiananmen Square and are accessible from the square via Tiananmen Gate.
Phone: 010-85007422, 85007421
Website: http://www.dpm.org.cn/

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Aug 3, 2005
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