Now known as the Palace Museum, it is to the north of Tiananmen Square. Rectangular in shape, it is the world's largest palace complex and covers 74 hectares. Surrounded by a 52-meter-wide moat and a 10-meter-high wall are more than 8,700 rooms. The wall has a gate on each side. Opposite the Tiananmen Gate, to the north is the Gate of Divine Might (Shenwumen), which faces Jingshan Park. The distance between these two gates is 960 meters, while the distance between the east and west gates is 750 meters. There are unique and delicately structured towers on each of the four corners of the curtain wall. These afford views over both the palace and the city outside.
Construction of the palace complex began in 1407, the 5th year of the Yongle reign of the third emperor (Emperor Chengzu, Zhu Di) of the Ming dynasty. It was completed fourteen years later in 1420, and then the capital city was moved from Nanjing to Beijing the next year. It was said that a million workers including one hundred thousand artisans were driven into the long-term hard labor. Stone needed was quarried from Fangshan District. It was said a well was dug every fifty meters along the road in order to pour water onto the road in winter to slide huge stones on ice into the city. Huge amounts of timber and other materials were freighted from faraway provinces.
Ancient Chinese people displayed their very considerable skills in building it. Take the grand red city wall for example. It has an 8.6 meters wide base reducing to 6.66 meters wide at the top. The angular shape of the wall totally frustrates attempts to climb it. The bricks were made from white lime and glutinous rice while the cement is made from glutinous rice and egg whites. These incredible materials make the wall extraordinarily strong.
Since yellow is the symbol of the royal family, it is the dominant color in it. Roofs are built with yellow glazed tiles; decorations in the palace are painted yellow; even the bricks on the ground are made yellow by a special process. However, there is one exception. Wenyuange, the royal library, has a black roof. The reason is that it was believed black represented water then and could extinguish fire.
Nowadays, it is open to tourists from home and abroad. Splendid painted decoration on these royal architectural wonders, the grand and deluxe halls, with their surprisingly magnificent treasures will certainly satisfy 'modern civilians'.
From April 1st, 2013, the Forbidden City will be closed on the afternoon of every Monday (except the public holidays and July 1 – Aug.31) for the examination and maintenance of the ancient palace architecture and the cultural relics. On Monday, it will open from 8:30 to 12:00, with the ticketing time ending at 11:00 and the last entry at 11:10.
It may restrain the number of passengers in peak holidays, such as the May Day, National Day Holiday in the first week of October and summer holiday. The number is limited up to 80,000/day during those periods, half-and-half for group and individual visitors. Some areas inside it may be closed at the same time. Please refer to the latest notice issued before the holidays.
The ticket office at the Gate of Divine Might (north gate) is closed. It carries out unidirectional itinerary. Visitors can only enter through the Meridian Gate (south gate) and leave from the Gate of Divine Might.
|Admission Fee:||CNY 40 (Nov. 1 to the next Mar. 31); CNY 60 (Apr. 1 to Oct. 31) |
CNY 10 for the Treasure Gallery; CNY 10 for the Clock and Watch Gallery
|Opening Hours:||08:30 to 16:30 (Nov. 1 - the next Mar. 31); tickets not available after 15:30 and last entry at 15:40. |
08:30 to 17:00 (Apr. 1- Oct.31); tickets not available after 16:00 and last entry at 16:10.
08:30 to 12:00 (on Monday except public holidays and July 1 – Aug.31); tickets not available after 11:00 and last entry at 11:10.
|Recommended Time for a Visit:||3-4 hours|
Subway Line 1: get off at Tiananmen West or Tiananmen East Station, walk north through the Tiananmen Tower (Gate of Heavenly Peace), and then you'll find the Meridian Gate (south gate)
|Bus Routes:||Take bus 101, 103, 109, 124, 202, 685 or 814 and get off at Gugong Station. |
Take bus 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 52, 120 or 802 and get off at Tiananmen Xi or Tiananmen Dong Station, walk north through the Tiananmen Tower (Gate of Heavenly Peace), and then you'll find the Meridian Gate (south gate).
Take bus 9, 17, 44, 48, 59, 66, 803, 808, 特4, 特7 or Tuanjiehu Special Line and get off at Qianmen, Qianmen Xi, or Qianmen Dong Station, and walk north through Tiananmen Square and you'll find it in front of you.
Beijing Bus / Subway Search