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Forbidden City, Beijing

The Forbidden City is also known as "Gugong". The Gugong in Chinese means Imperial Palace in the past, it was home to 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is the biggest and the most complete ancient building group, a masterpiece of ancient architecture in the world. Now the Imperial Palace has become a Palace Museum. Some halls in the Palace Museum have developed into the Hall of Historical Arts, Hall of Paintings, categorized Halls of Ceramics, Hall of Bronze wares, Hall of Crafts and Arts in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Hall of Inscriptions, Hall of Toys, Hall of Scholar's Studio, Hall of Playing Pieces, Hall of Jewelry, Hall of Watches and Clocks, Exhibition Hall of Royal Cultural Relics in the Qing Dynasty and so on. The museum has a collection of 1,052,653 pieces of ancient art treasures, accounting for one sixth of the total cultural relics in China. It is the museum with the richest collection of cultural relics in China, and also a world-renowned museum of ancient cultural arts.

The construction is the largest and most complete ancient palace complex extant in China today. Lofty and magnificent, it is acclaimed to be one of the world great palaces, together with Palace of Versailles in France, Buckingham Palace in Britain, White House in the United States, and Kremlin Palace in Russia. The unparalleled masterpiece was recognized as a World Cultural Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. And 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 is located in Beijing. It is directly to the north of Tian'AnMen Square and is accessible from the square via Tian'AnMen Gate. Immediately to the north of the Palace Museum is Prospect Hill (also called Coal Hill), while on the east and west are Wangfujing and Zhongnanhai neighborhoods. The location was endowed with cosmic significance by ancient China's astronomers. They correlated the emperor's abode, which they considered the pivot of the terrestrial world, with the Pole Star (Ziwei yuan), which they believed to be at the center of the heavens. Because of its centrality as well as restricted access, the palace was called The Forbidden City.

History Background:
It was built from 1406 to 1420 by the third emperor of the Ming dynasty, the Yongle Emperor (r. 1403-1420) who, upon usurping the throne, determined to move his capital northward from Nanjing to Beijing. The Ming dynasty fell to the Manchu Qing in 1644 and in 1911 the Qing dynasty was overthrown by the republican revolutionaries. The last emperor Puyi (ruled from 1909 to 1911 under the reign name Xuantong) continued to live in the palace after his abdication until he was expelled in 1924. During nearly six hundred years, twenty-four emperors lived and ruled from this palace.

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