China-Forbidden City: Home to Chinese Emperors…Forbidden City is a major tourist destination, attracting annual nearly 15,340,000 visitors making it the most visited World Heritage destination in the world.” The Forbidden City (also called Zijin Cheng) is a palace complex in Beijing, with large precinct of red walls and yellow glazed roof tiles located in the heart of China’s capital, Beijing.
As its name suggests, the precinct is a 178-acre walled micro-city (a city within a city) in its own right only fitting for a place that was once considered the center of the universe. You can also get inspired with other locations using some of our past articles World’s Top-Visited Tourist Attractions in Mexico City and World’s Top-Visited Tourist Attractions – Grand Bazaar, Istanbul turkey to help get you started planning your next holiday to discover other top attraction.
[Documentary] The Forbidden City of Ming &Qing Dynasties (1368 – 1912 AD)
The complex measures 961 meters in length and 753 meters in width, the Forbidden City is composed of about 980 buildings, mainly in yellow and red colors, more than 90 palace compounds and surrounded by a moat as wide as 52 meters. The city is configured on a north-south axis that aligns with the pole star, emphasizing the emperor’s position as the son of heaven.
The Forbidden City was the political and ritual center of China renovated constantly throughout its 600-year history. After its completion in 1420, the Forbidden City was home to total 24 emperors during the Ming (1368–1644) and the Qing (1644–1911) dynasties. The Forbidden City was so named because it could only be accessed by the emperor their families and servants) and officials.On1925 it was transformed into the Palace Museum. Through centuries still remains one of the most important cultural heritage sites and the most visited museum in China.
Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang
Plan of the Forbidden City.
The palace complex was ordered built by Zhu Di (the fourth son of the Ming dynasty’s founder Zhu Yuanzhang) who lived A.D. 1360-1424. He was crowned emperor in 1402 after forcefully overthrowing his nephew. After his ascension, in order to solidify his power, he decided to move the imperial capital as well as his own army from Nanjing to his power base Beiping, and began building a new heart of the empire, the Forbidden City renaming the city Beijing “the northern capital”. The ancient building complex was completed 14 years later. The most important events that happen in the Forbidden City occurred in 1644 are the establishment of the Qing dynasty. In that year, a rebel army attacked Beijing, forcing the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Youjian to commit suicide. This did not lessen the Forbidden City’s pivotal status, as the Manchu imperial family continued to live and rule there. Most of the buildings in the Forbidden City were rebuilt many times but no major changes had been made, as they maintained the original architectural style.
The Hall of Central Harmony (foreground) and the Hall of Preserving Harmony
Since the Forbidden City is a ceremonial, ritual and living space, the Forbidden City was designed in an artistic features and style of ancient Chinese palace architecture that had held Chinese social structure together for centuries. The main buildings all were aligned in a straight line from north to south. There are two main sections; public and domestic spheres to the palace: the outer court and the inner court dividing the Forbidden City. Symmetrical designed and hierarchically arranged; the important buildings run down the center, north-south, encircled by a 50 meter wide moat then a huge purple city wall: 10-meter-high, 52-meter-wide, and 4 gates located on each side of the city wall.
The southern half, or the outer court belonged to the realm of state affairs where official business was carried out, and only men had access to its spaces. The Outer Court is composed of 3 main buildings:
– The Hall of Supreme Harmony (the largest of the three and the most important)
– The Hall of Central Harmony.
– The Hall of Preserving Harmony.
The outer court is reserved for men; the inner court is the domestic space, dedicated to the emperor and his family as well as the harem.
The Inner Court is the northern half of the Forbidden City. This Court was where the Emperor and his Royal Family and concubines lived.
That section is composed of 3 main structures align with the city’s central axis:
The Palace of Heavenly Purity (for the emperor’s residence).
– The Palace of Union and Peace (for imperial weddings and familial ceremonies)
– The Palace of Terrestrial Tranquility (the empress’s residence).
The Forbidden City now;
Today, the Palace is a modern Museum and an historical site, open to the public and has become World’s Top-Visited Tourist Attractions in China and one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. Visitors when wandering through the traditional palace architecture, appreciate China’s past history and beauty of this ancient culture.