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A Private Guide to Beijing > The Forbidden City
The Forbidden City
The Forbidden City is the main historical site in Beijing, and its is the largest palace of its kind in the World.
So called for the 'Forbidden City', as it was closed off to commoners for over 500 years, as it was the home to the Emperors of China.
Emperor Yongle (Ming Dynasty) setup the layout and kicked off the construction of the palace in 1406.
Picture to the right is the main entrance to the Forbidden City, South Gate or Tiananmen Gate.
The whole place is set on a North South axis, as are most (if not all) official historic sites in China. This is in keeping with Fengshui. The exception to this is the "Great Mosque" in Xian (a former capital of China) which is set on a West East axis. u
The south gate to the Forbidden City taken from Tiananmen Square
tt The picture to the left is the Tiananmen Gate, over which hangs a giant portrait of Mao Zedong.
t The entrance is protected by 2 large red gold studded doors. Each door has 81 golden studs (9x9).
x It is said that when passing in to the Forbidden City that on touching the studs you will be granted luck.
Below is the "Meridian Gate", the gate beyond which during emperor times only the emperor, females and eunuchs were allowed. q
Entrance is free to public up to the Meridian Gate. On passing through this main gate you are confronted with the view below, Supreme Harmony Gate. q
On passing through the Meridian gate is the Supreme Harmony Gate (picture to the right), and before that are the 5 bridges over the man made moat. u
The five marble bridges represent the 5 main virtues of Confucianism, Humanity, Justice, Education, Trustworthiness & Refinement. u
tt On passing through the Supreme Harmony Gate will be the Hall of Supreme Harmony (picture to the left).
This is the largest and most important structure in the Forbidden City. It was used for ceremonial occasions.
t The large bronze turtles in front of the hall represent longevity.
Beyond the Hall of Supreme Harmony is the Hall of Preserving Harmony behind which has a 250 tonne carved marble block of dragons. uu
This was moved to Beijing in the winter, as the only way to move such a weight was to slide it on ice. u
Last updated 03/02/08 : Contact Admin