Set Current Location
|Monday to Sunday||08:30 AM to 04:30 PM|
One of Beijing's greatest gems, the Forbidden City is a national treasure. Constructed in 1420, this must-see historical attraction was once the imperial residence for both the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is called the forbidden city because no one was allowed to enter or leave the city without the emperor's permission. The sprawling complex contains over 70 structures with more than 9000 rooms containing priceless artifacts and relics. The palace was turned into a museum during the early 20th Century and offers great insight into China's past. While throngs of visitors come through each day, the royal gardens area is surprisingly calm and quiet. Enter this giant complex through the impressive Tiananmen Gate.
The Hall of Central Harmony is one of the three halls that form a part of the Outer Court of the Forbidden City. Although the hall was originally constructed in 1420, repeated damage by fire meant that it had to be rebuilt several times. The existing hall dates back to 1627, and is a beautiful example of ancient, imperial architecture. The square hall is centered around a throne, flanked by two majestic dragons and incense bowls that were used to warm the space. The Hall of Central Harmony was the exclusive domain of the emperor and it is where he would retire to rest and prepare for various ceremonies. The hall remains beautifully preserved and is a part of the Palace Museum.
Built during the Ming Dynasty when Emperor Jiajing was in power, the Hall of Mental Cultivation or Yangxindian was a very prominent structure of its time. Set inside the western side of the Inner Court of the Forbidden City, it was the residence of eight Qing emperors, though it was initially used as the emperor's temporary resting chamber. This luxurious building features a main hall, rear hall and many side rooms. The main hall was the ruler's office while the east hall was is where the empresses handled the state affairs. The West Warmth Chamber features a conference room, the Hall of Three Rare Treasures (San Xi Tang), a Buddhist prayer room and several private rooms. The Hall of Mental Cultivation was later used as imperial workshop for the Kangxi regime.
Also known as the Qianqing Palace, The Palace of Heavenly Purity is one of the majestic structures found in the world-renowned Forbidden City of China, and served as the hall where the emperor held court during the Qing dynasty. Worth noting while strolling through these impressive hallways are the throne where the emperor sat, the table hanging above the throne which contains writing by the Sunzhi Emperor and the coiled dragons which are sculpted on the ends of the roof.
Helping to ease the flow of visitors to the Forbidden City, the Meridian Gate acts as its primary entrance. Visitors travel from the south to north as the explore this vast complex. This particular gate features five distinct arches and is the largest structure in the entire complex towering 37 meters (125 feet) into the air. Historically, the gate offered five different doors, one for the emperor, three for the top scholars of the era and one for ministers and officials. The gate and entire complex was believed to be built along the Meridian, because the emperor's believed themselves to be the sons of the universe and therefore should live at the center of it.
The Palace Museum, which is now the largest museum in China, was once the home of 24 different emperors. It is located in the center of Beijing and the Forbidden city. With 70 halls and 9,000 rooms, it is hard to imagine being able to see all of the museum's treasures in one trip. This incredible establishment offers up a journey through China's history and is a must-see during your stay in Beijing. Check out the museum's website for an extensive virtual tour of their pieces, which range from calligraphy to furniture; doing so may help you to determine which parts of this huge museum you would most like to spend your time in during your visit.
Once a private park of the Forbidden City, Jingshan Park opened to the public in the 1990s. The most striking aspect of this park is the hill, which is made from the earth dug up to create the moat around the Forbidden City. Climb to the top of this hill to get a magnificent view of the imperial palace. This park is also infamously known as the place where the last of the Ming Emperors (Chong Zhen) committed suicide when the palace grounds were stormed by rebels. This beautiful park is a must visit to get a feel of the history of the city.
A national symbol and historical monument, the Tiananmen Gate is the central heartbeat of the bustling capital, Beijing. Meaning the 'Gate of Heavenly Peace', the Tiananmen Gate was first erected in during the reign of the Ming Dynasty in 1420. Serving as the gateway to the Forbidden City, the gate features two regal lion statues meant to ward off evil spirits. Grand ceremonies, rituals and political speeches have taken place here over the centuries and thus it serves as an integral part of the nation.