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Forbidden City

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Introduction
The Forbidden City is located in the center of Beijing City,"the Forbidden City" in Chinese named Zijin Cheng which means "Purple Forbidden City".It was built from 1406 to 1420,and consists of 980 buildings with an area more than 180 acres.It was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty(1420-1912).It served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government for almost 500 years.The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere.Since 1925 the Forbidden City has been under the charge of the Palace Museum, whose extensive collection of artwork and artefacts were built upon the imperial collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties.The Palace Museum in Beijing is the most worth visiting art museum in the world.The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

History
When Emperor Yongle Emperor moved the capital from Nanjing to Beijing, and the construction of the Forbidden City began in 1406.The Construction took 14 years and required more than a million workers. Material used include whole logs of precious Phoebe zhennan wood found in the jungles of south-western China, and large blocks of marble from quarries near Beijing. The floors of major halls were paved with "golden bricks", specially baked paving bricks from Suzhou.

old forbidden city_03.jpgFrom 1420 to 1644, the Forbidden City was the seat of the Ming dynasty, it was captured by rebel forces led by Li Zicheng, who proclaimed himself emperor of the Shun dynasty. He soon fled before the combined armies of former Ming general Wu Sangui and Manchu forces, setting fire to parts of the Forbidden City in the process.

In October, the Manchus had achieved supremacy in northern China, and a ceremony was held at the Forbidden City to proclaim the young Shunzhi Emperor as ruler of all China under the Qing dynasty.The Qing rulers changed the names on some of the principal buildings, to emphasise "Harmony" rather than "Supremacy",made the name plates bilingual (Chinese and Manchu), and introduced Shamanist elements to the palace.

In 1860, during the Second Opium War, Anglo-French forces took control of the Forbidden City and occupied it until the end of the war.In 1900 Empress Dowager Cixi fled from the Forbidden City during the Boxer Rebellion, leaving it to be occupied by forces of the treaty powers until the following year.

In 1949, the People's Republic of China was founded, some damage was done to the Forbidden City as the country was swept up in revolutionary zeal. During the Cultural Revolution,further destruction was prevented when Premier Zhou Enlai sent an army battalion to guard the city.

The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 by UNESCO as the "Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties", due to its significant place It is currently administered by the Palace Museum, which is carrying out a sixteen-year restoration project to repair and restore all buildings in the Forbidden City to their pre-1912 state.

In recent years, the presence of commercial enterprises in the Forbidden City has become controversial.

What to see in Forbidden City

Forbidden City.jpgRinged by 3.5km of scarlet citadel walls at the very heart of Beijing City, the Unesco-listed Forbidden City is China’s largest and best-preserved collection of ancient buildings, and the largest palace complex in the world. Steeped in stultifying ritual and Byzantine regal protocol, this other-worldly palace was the reclusive home to two dynasties of imperial rule, sharing 900-plus buildings with a retinue of eunuchs, servants and concubines, until the Republic overthrew the last Qing emperor in 1911.
Treasure Gallery: In the northeastern corner of the complex is a mini Forbidden City known as the Treasure Gallery, or Complete Palace of Peace and Longevity.During the Ming dynasty, the Empress Dowager and the imperial concubines lived here. Today it comprises several atmospheric halls, pavilions, gardens and courtyard buildings that hold a collection of fine museums.

The complex is entered from the south,not far from the unmissable Clock Exhibition Hall. Just inside the entrance, you’ll find a beautiful glazed Nine Dragon Screen, one of only three of its type left in China.

5471c2be00feed808bcd615bc486419b.jpgHall of Supreme Harmony: Raised on a three-tier marble terrace, meaning king are the Three Great Halls, the glorious heart of the Forbidden City. The recently restored Hall of Supreme Harmony is the most important and largest structure in the Forbidden City. Built in the 15th century and restored in the 17th century, it was used for ceremonial occasions, such as the emperor’s birthday, the nomination of military leaders and coronations. Inside the Hall of Supreme Harmony is a richly decorated Dragon Throne (龙椅; Lóngyǐ), from which the emperor would preside over trembling officials. The entire court had to touch the floor nine times with their foreheads (the custom known as kowtowing) in the emperor’s presence. At the back of the throne is a carved Xumishan, the Buddhist paradise, signifying the throne’s supremacy. Look out for an innocuous plinth displaying a bronze, boxy object called a Jiā liàng. It’s a measure used to portion five standard unit sizes of grain, a prosaic reminder that here was the absolute crux of Chinese power, ruling over a vast empire.

Information
Opening Hours: 8:30-16:10( April to October); 8:30-15:30( November to next March); The museum closed on Monday.
Admission: CNY60(peak season, from April to October); CNY40(off season, from November to next March); Treasure Gallery(CNY 10 in Palace of Tranquil Longevity, including the Opera Museum and Stone Drum Museum
Address:#4,Jingshan Street, Dongcheng Distrit, Beijing City

Transportation
How to get there
Entry is allowed only through the Meridian Gate, the south gate of the museum.
Subway:
1.Take subway line 1, get off at Tiananmen East Station (Exit A) or Tiananmen West Station (Exit B), find the Tiananmen Tower, and then walk north to the Meridian Gate;
2.Take subway line 2, get off at Qianmen Station (Exit A), walk north through the Tiananmen Square, pass the Tiananmen Tower, and then find the Meridian Gate further north.

Bus: 
1.Take bus no. 1, 2, 52, 59, 82, 99, 120, 126, Tourist Line 1, or Tourist Line 2, and get off at Tiananmen East Station;
2.Take bus no. 1, 5, 52, 99, Tourist Line 1, or Tourist Line 2, and get off at Tiananmen West Station.

How to leave
Exit is allowed only through the Gate of Divine Prowess in the north of the museum, and the East Prosperity Gate.
1. Leaving from the Gate of Divine Prowess:
(1).Take bus no. 58, 101, 103, 109, 124, 685, Tourist Line 1, or Tourist Line 2 at Gugong (Forbidden City) Station.
(2).Take bus no. 58, 111, or 124 at Jiangshan East Gate Station.

2.Leaving from the East Prosperity Gate:
(1).Take bus no. 2 or 82 at Donghuamen Station.
(2).Take Tourist Line 2 at Gugong East Gate Station.

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