Forbidden City Introduction
Name: Forbidden City 故宫, The Palace Museum 故宫博物院
Address:4 Jingshan Front St, Dongcheng, Beijing, China
Opening: Tuesday to Sunday
Advance Reservation: Strongly Recommended (Forbidden City Ticket Booking)
The Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum, is an extensive palace complex situated in the heart of Beijing, China. It was commissioned by Emperor Yongle Zhu Xi of the Ming dynasty in the early 15th century and completed in 1420. Serving as the imperial palace for both the Ming and Qing dynasties, it stood as the political center of China for over 500 years.
Encompassing an area of 72 hectares, the Forbidden City comprises 980 buildings and boasts an impressive 8,700 rooms. It is renowned as the largest and most intact wooden architectural complex in China, as well as one of the largest in the world.
The complex is divided into two primary sections: the outer court and the inner court, separated by the Gate of Heavenly Peace. The outer court, also known as the front court, served as the venue for imperial power and grand ceremonies. The inner court, on the other hand, was the residence of the emperor and his family, housing their private quarters and personal offices.
Within the Forbidden City, a vast collection of cultural relics is preserved, including paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, and jade. The Palace Museum is home to millions of cultural relics, accounting for approximately one-sixth of China's national cultural relics.
The Forbidden City stands as a remarkable testament to China's imperial history, offering visitors a glimpse into the grandeur and cultural richness of the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Most Valuable Objects in the Imperial Palace Collection
a) Paintings from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, such as "Along the River During the Qingming Festival" (清明上河图) and "A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains" (千里江山图).
b) Elephant-ear Incense Burner with Porcelain Enamel Design of Intertwined Lotus Branches (掐丝珐琅缠枝莲纹象耳炉), standing at a height of 13.9 centimeters and with a diameter of 16 centimeters, was created during the Yuan Dynasty. This piece is known for its elegant design and exquisite craftsmanship, with finely detailed features. The porcelain enamel applied to the surface creates a vibrant and colorful effect, enhancing the beauty of the intertwined lotus branches.
c) Black Lacquer Kiosk Clock with Colorful Painting of Immortals Celebrating Longevity (黑漆彩绘楼阁群仙祝寿钟). This imperial court clock, made during the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty, stands at a height of 185 centimeters and a width of 102 centimeters. Its overall design features a two-tiered black lacquer kiosk adorned with colorful paintings.
d) Jade Mountain of Dayu Calming the Flood (青玉大禹治水图山子), measuring 224 centimeters in height, 96 centimeters in width, 60 centimeters in base height, and weighing 5000 kilograms, is one of the most remarkable pieces in China's jadeite treasury. Utilizing the most impressive material, requiring the longest process, and having the highest cost, it is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
e) Green Jade Incense Burner with Cloud and Dragon Design (青玉云龙纹炉) is an ancient jade piece belonging to the Song Dynasty. It has a height of 7.9 centimeters and a diameter of 12.8 centimeters. It is famous for its carved style that imitates ancient bronzes, and the manufacturing process is extremely intricate. It is considered a masterpiece in Chinese jade craftsmanship and is regarded as an invaluable treasure.
How to buy tickets for the Forbidden City
1. The Palace Museum only allows 80,000 visitors per day and has implemented a real-name system. Visitor’s name and ID card/Passport number is required to purchase ticket onsite or online, as well as check in.
2. Online tickets are released 7 days before entry through an app in Chinese. A friend in China or travel agencies like ETripChina can help you to make reservation (book forbidden city ticket). But it is getting harder to get a ticket online due to the high demand, especially for weekend travel. If a visit of Palace Museum is a must for you, please consider book a guided Beijing tour, because the Palace Museum gives priority to early-birds who have confirmed a package tour in Beijing.
Tips for Visiting Forbidden City
1. The architecture of the Forbidden City is a masterpiece of Chinese imperial architecture. The buildings are designed in a traditional Chinese architectural style, featuring ornate roofs with upturned eaves, colorful decorations, and detailed carvings on the beams, pillars, and walls. The details are also very impressive.
2. Capture the panoramic view of the entire Forbidden City from the top of Jingshan Park is strongly recommended. The park is on the north side of the Forbidden City, right across from the Shenwu Gate where you finished Forbidden City Tour.
3. The shop in the Forbidden City sells many interesting cultural and creative products that you can’t find elsewhere in China.
4. If travel Beijing like a local, take Metro Line 1 and get off at "Tiananmen East" station (天安门东). Walk about 900 meters and you can enter the Forbidden City from the South Gate.
5. Enter through the southern Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tiananmen) and walk north along the central axis, then exit the Forbidden City through the northern Gate of Divine Prowess (Shenwumen).
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