No trip to China would be complete without a visit to the Forbidden City. The imperial palace built by the Ming dynasty is the symbol of China. When the Yongle Emperor moved the capital from Nanjing to Beijing, he ordered the construction of a massive 180 acre palace complex. Construction began in 1406 and lasted 15 years. One million laborers and 100,000 artisans worked on the Forbidden City. It was home to 24 emperors throughout the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The monarchy finally fell for good in 1925, at which time the Palace Museum was established to administer the site.
The Forbidden City was home to China’s emperors and their families, eunuchs, and concubines. The hall of Great Harmony is the largest and most significant of the throne halls. Here the emperor celebrated the New Year and the coming of winter, as well as wedding coronations. It is the biggest wooden hall in China and features numerous carvings and ceramic figures. The Hall of Clocks and Watches contains beautiful pieces made of sandalwood, ceramics, and ivory adorned with innumerable jewels. The Gallery of Treasures is a storehouse of various objects found within the royal household (seals, candlesticks, hair pins, tea sets, etc.). The beautiful imperial gardens beyond the Gate of Earthly Tranquility are a good place to relax a bit and reflect on the wonder of the Forbidden City.
Located across from Tiananmen Square, it is most easily reached via subway (Tiananmen East). The Forbidden City is China’s most popular tourist attraction, drawing more than seven million guests per year.
08:30-16:30 (November 1-March 31)
08:30-17:00 (April 1-October 31)
Y40 (November 1-March 31)
Y60 (April 1-October 31)