The Forbidden City, located at the exact center of the ancient city of Beijing, was the home and center of power for 24 emperors during the mid to latter Ming and Qing dynasties.
Indeed, the Forbidden City 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.
The Forbidden City has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. Visitors can see the traditional palace architecture, enjoy the treasures kept in the palace, and learn of the legends and anecdotes about the imperial family and the court.
The Forbidden City Highlights
Meridian Gate (Wu Men)
From the balcony, the emperor would review his armies. There were also performing ceremonies marking the start of a new calendar.
Gate of Supreme Harmony
Originally used for receiving visitors, the 78-ft high, double-eaved hall was later used for banquets during the Qing dynasty.
Hall of Supreme Harmony
The largest hall in the palace, this was used for major occasions such as the enthronement of an emperor. Inside the hall, the ornate throne sits beneath a fabulously colored ceiling.
Hall of Preserving Harmony
The Hall of Preserving Harmony (Baohe Dian) is the last main hall in the Outer Court. This rectangular wooden hall has multiple eaves, with ten different animal statues at each corner. In ancient China, a group of ten animals is the maximum which is only seen on imperial palaces.