Imagine, a place that collected unmatchable fortune and innumerable priceless treasures all over China and the world over. The Forbidden City or the Imperial Palace, situated right in the center of the metropolis, didn’t change its status as ruling center and living residence of 24 emperors in Ming (1271-1368) and Qing (1936-1912) dynasties, beyond the peeping of ordinary people, until 1925 when it was turned into a public-available national museum. To manifest the supreme power of the emperors as the sons of heaven, it was built into a replica of the Heavenly Palace with a vast area of 740,000 square meters, 9999.5 luxurious and elaborate rooms, an awesome 10-meter wall that was dotted with exquisite watchtowers and a moat encircled the palace. It is now the best preserved and the biggest ancient architect complex on the earth and shares the honor of being one of the five world-famous palaces with Versailles Palace in France, Buckingham Palace in Britain, the White House in America and the Kremlin in Russia. Having undergone the devastation of the long history and the looting of past riots, its extreme wealth and grandeur that once occurred can still be traced through the modified edifices.
A treasure trove of precious relics
Ever since the palace opened to public, many art galleries have been set in it to showcase 1,000,000 cultural and historical relics in the forms of historical art pieces, paintings, ceramics, bronze wares, arts and crafts in Ming and Qing dynasties, four treasures of study, antiques and curios, jewelries, horologes as well as imperial decrees and regulations antiquities that account for 1/6 of the total relics in China, and some of them are invaluable national treasures. The wings of the Forbidden City thus go far and wide around the world as the richest ancient culture and arts museum in China.
Architectural philosophy of the Forbidden City
As a political architecture, the Forbidden City carries the national philosophy and ideology in ancient China. It seems all the magnificent and majestic halls and towers as well as the detailed refined decorations are full of philosophy ideas. Basic theory of Chinese philosophy is Yin-Yang and five elements-metal, wood, water, fire and earth. Broadly, the palace is made up of two parts- the Outer Court where the emperors handled political issues is representative of Yang and the Inner Court, residence of the extensive royal family, stands for Yin. Specifically, the Altar of Land and Grain is a typical display of the five elements. There are walls enclosing the altar, whose top are decorated with five-color glazed tiles. Those in the east are cyan blue, corresponding wood; the south red, going with fire; the west white, matching along with gold; the north black, representing water; and those in the middle are yellow, associating with earth. Both the directions and colors strictly conform to the five-element theory.
||Nov. 1 - Mar. 31
||Apr. 1 - Oct. 31
||Oct. 16 - Apr. 15
||Apr. 16 - Oct. 15
||No. 101, 103, 109, 124, 202, 211, 685, 810, 814, 846
Line 1: get off at Tiananmen West or Tiananmen East Station
Line 2: get off at Qianmen Station
1. At Meridian Gate, visitors can rent a guide translating player in different languages, which introduces the history and architecture of the palace. The player can be returned at the north gate of the Palace Museum.
2. Don't forget to visit the Jingshan (Coal Hill) Park, on the opposite of the palace's north gate, from where you can see the splendid layout of the palace.