As the largest and best-preserved ancient royal building complex in the world, the Palace Museum is an expression of the highest architecture level in ancient China.
Located in the center of Beijing, the Forbidden City used to be the imperial palace of the Ming Dynasty which began construction in 1406 AD and was completed in 1420 through the work of tens of thousands of laborers. The rectangular-shaped palace is just over half a mile (961 meters) from south to north and nearly 2,500 feet (753 meters from) west to east. It covers an area of 725,000 square meters and the building area is 155,000 square meters with 8,707 rooms. The wall of palace is 40 feet (12 meters) high and over 2 miles (3,400 meters) long.
There is a moat 170 feet (52 meters) long around the palace. In this way, the palace becomes a strong and impregnable castle. The building complex was laid out very precisely in accordance with a feudal code of architectural hierarchy which designated specific features to reflect the paramount authority and status of the emperor.
There are four gates to enter the palace named Wu Gate in the south, Donghua Gate in the east, Xihua Gate in the west, and Shenwu Gate in the north.. The Wu Gate has five arches and the middle arch was specially constructed for the emperor. This is also the central axis of the palace and Beijing City. In the past, even the high-ranking government officials are only allowed to go across the side arch to enter the palace. Construction of the National Palace on the basis of its layout and function is divided into the exterior and interior imperial court.
Outside the Hall of Supreme Harmony, Hall of Central Harmony and Hall of Preserving Harmony, the exterior of the palace is where feudal rulers exercised their power and held festivals and rituals. The interior court includes Palace of Heavenly Purity, Hall of Union, Palace of Earthly Tranquility, Hall of Mental Cultivation, and more. It’s where the emperor and his family lived.
In 1911 the last feudal dynasty, the Qing, fell to revolutionaries. The last emperor continued to live in the palace after his abdication until expelled in 1924. On October 10, 1925, the Forbidden City became the Palace Museum and was opened to the public. Many parts of the palace were destroyed by the war, time, and bad weather. After the establishment of People’s Republic of China, the palace has been renovated in large scale by the government since the 1950s. In 1961, the Palace Museum was designated a national key cultural relic under state protection. In 1987, the Palace Museum was selected to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Admission Fee: 60RMB (low seasons), 40RMB (high season)
Open Time: Tickets start to sell at 8:30 and stop at 16:00 in the high season, while in low season the tickets are sold from 8:30 to 15:40
Telephone: 86-10-85007422, 85007421