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The History of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China

The History of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China

What is the forbidden City?

Listed by UNESCO is the Forbidden City, encircled by citadel walls in the center of Beijing. It is China’s most well-preserved collection of historic structures, spacious enough to easily accommodate the 16 million tourists it gets each year. This unearthly palace was the secluded home of two royal dynasties, sharing a massive number of structures with a staff of eunuchs, attendants, and courtiers.

Step inside Forbidden City, the home of Chinese Emperors

When Was it Constructed?

The construction began in 1406 and continued for 11 years under the command of the Ming Dynasty. This enormous palace’s construction required the hands of more than a million laborers. Marble slabs, specially crafted Golden bricks, and wood from the rarest Phoebe Zhen Nan trees were among the most valuable materials shipped from across China. Soon after its construction was completed, the Emperor relocated the capital to Beijing.

How Large is the City?

This Forbidden City is incredible. There are about 1,600,000 square feet of potential floor space. Imagine how you would clean that floor if you were in charge. Throughout the wide area, there are over a thousand palaces and a large number of rooms. The emperor, on the other hand, had a large number of workers to look after the city and its people.


The Emperor and his family were also protected by this palace, which acted as a stronghold.

What is its Layout?

The building of this Palace follows several Ancient Chinese architectural standards. The principal structures were lined up in a singular line. There are the two parts of the palace.

The former is located in the south. It housed three primary structures. It was here that the emperors held jury.

The emperor along with his family lived in the inner court, which is located to the north. The Emperor rested in a separate special structure and the Empress was housed in another.

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The Statue of Liberty from Liberty Harbor.

Built on ancient Symbolism

The ancient Chinese symbols and philosophy were used to build the Forbidden City. For example,

  • The structures were all facing south, symbolizing sanctity. They also turned towards the south as to represent turning away from the Chinese’s foes, chilly and wicked storms.
  • The Emperor’s unique shade was yellow, which signified his supreme authority. Thus, yellow tiles were used to cover all roofs of the city’s structures.
  • The ceremonial structures are grouped into threes as this was thought to signify paradise.
  • The, palace’s design incorporates all colors of elements, red, green, black, yellow and white
  • To preserve the manuscripts from fire, the library’s roof was painted black to represent water.

Till today, this City stands strong in the heart of Beijing. It is now popularly known as the Sacred City of Lamaism, which holds hundreds of ancient Chinese relics and works of art.

Beijing Travel Guide – Forbidden City Documentary

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