Forbidden City

Forbidden CityThe Palace Museum, known as the Forbidden City, was the imperial palaces of the Ming and Qing dynasties. In early 15th century, large-scale construction involved 100, 000 artisans and one million civilians. The construction took 14 years and was finished in 1420. In the following year, the capital of the Ming Dynasty was moved from Nanjing to Beijing. Twenty-four emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties ruled from the Forbidden City. The last dynasty fell in 1911, but Emperor Puyi still lived in the inner court. It was not until 1925that the complex was converted into a museum. Since then the palace has been opened to the public.

Palace Museum is located in the centre of Beijing, covering an area of 72 hectares. It is rectangular in shape, 960 metres long from north to south and 750 metres wide from east to west. There is a10-metre-high wall, encircled by a 52-metre-wide moat. In the Ming Dynasty, the timber needed for building the palace was brought mostly from Sichuan, Hunan and Guizhou provinces, while in the Qing Dynasty, it was cut from northeast China. Most of the stones were quarried from the suburban district of Fangshan and other districts. Construction of the Forbidden City brought tremendous hardship to the labouring people.

Palace Museum is the largest piece of ancient Chinese architecture still standing. Some of the buildings were damaged by lightning and rebuilt in the Ming and Qing dynasties. The palace had been expanded several times, but the original layout was preserved.After liberation, some costly renovations were done and the Palace Museum is listed as one of the important historical monuments under special preservation by the Chinese Government.

Before seeing the artifacts in the treasure halls you may enjoy the two pinus bungeanes ( lacebark pines) in the courtyard. They lose their barks all the year round but not their leaves. There are three treasure rooms, one behind the other.

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