Top 20 Forbidden City FAQs

 1. What is the Forbidden City?
 It was the imperial palace and the political heart of China during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368 - 1911). Now, also known as the Palace Museum, it's a top attraction throughout China.

 2. Why is it called the "Forbidden City"?
 In the past, commoners were prohibited from entering the Forbidden City without permission and only imperial families and invited high officials can enter. Hence the name.

Palace of Heavenly Purity
Palace of Heavenly Purity
Forbidden City
Meridian Gate

 3. Where is the Forbidden City? How can I get there?
 The Forbidden City is situated to the north of Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing. The only entrance is the Meridian Gate (South Gate). Tourists can get there easily either by subway or by bus.

 4. Is it far from Tiananmen Square?
 No. The Forbidden City is next to Tiananmen Square. You can walk there from the square in a few minutes. First, find the Tiananmen Tower with a portrait of Chairman Mao, pass through the tower and you will see the Meridian Gate.

 5. Who built the Forbidden City?
 Upon ascending the throne in 1402, Emperor Chengzu of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) intended to move the capital from Nanjing to Beijing, so he ordered the construction of the Forbidden City. 230,000 artisans and millions of laborers participated in the construction.

 6. How old is the Forbidden City? / When was the Forbidden City built?
 It was constructed from 1406 and completed in 1420. The age is about 600 years old.

 7. Why is the Forbidden City important?
 The Forbidden City is the largest and best-preserved imperial palace complex in the world, inscribed as a world cultural heritage by the UNESO in 1987. Moreover, it was the home for 24 emperors of China.

 8. How big is the Forbidden City?
 The Forbidden City is very large. It runs 753 meters (823 yards) from east to west, and extends 961 meters (1,051 yards) from north to south, covering an area of about 72 hectares (178 acres).

 9. Can you visit the Forbidden City?
 Yes, it’s now open to the public.

 10. What can I see in the Forbidden City?
 You can see magnificent palaces, splendid halls, grand towers, wonderful pavilions and beautiful belvederes. The perfect designs of these ancient buildings will leave a deep impression on you. The exquisite decorations on the roofs, eaves, walls, railings, pillars and furniture will make you amazed and fascinated! Moreover, there are numerous precious cultural relics on exhibition.

Hall of Supreme Harmony
Magnificent Architecture
Headgear of the Empress of Ming Dynasty
Headgear of the Empress of Ming Dynasty

 11. What are the top attractions in the Forbidden City?
  Outer Court: Hall of Supreme Harmony; Hall of Central Harmony; Hall of Preserved Harmony; Meridian Gate
      Inner Court: Palace of Heavenly Purity; Hall of Celestial and Terrestrial Union; Palace of Earthly Tranquility
      Must-see Exhibition Hall: Treasure Gallery

 12. When is the best time to visit?
 The best time is from late March to early June and late August to late November. Avoid summer vacations in July and August and China's public holidays, when there will be a sea of people.

 13. How long should I visit? What is the recommended route?
 Three hours to a whole day is recommended. If your schedule is tight, you can spend three hours touring from the south entrance to the north exit along the central axis. Time permitting, you can spend a whole day there. Apart from the central axis, you can also visit the palaces and halls on the East Wing, the East Outer Wing, the West Wing and the West Outer Wing.

 14. Is it open on weekends and during public holidays? What about during the Chinese New Year?
 Yes, it is open on weekends and during public holidays, including the Chinese New Year. The opening time is 8:30 - 17:00 from April to October, and 8:30 - 16:30 from November to March. However, it is closed on Mondays except public holidays.

Photography in Forbidden City 15. Is photography allowed in the Forbidden City?
 Yes, it is. Photography is permitted for private use outdoors throughout the Forbidden City, except sites or areas with "No Photography" signs, but the use of tripods and flash is prohibited in both special and permanent exhibition halls.

 16. How many cultural relics are on exhibition in the Palace Museum (Forbidden City)?
 There are nearly one million articles, including some 350,000 ceramics; 150,000 jade pieces, cloisonné, glass, stationery, carvings and lacquer ware; 130,000 embroideries; nearly 100,000 pieces of jewellery, accessories, martial weapons, musical instruments, clocks and daily-use appliances; 100,000 paintings and calligraphy works; some 60,000 inscriptions; 30,000 metal wares; as well as some 20,000 sculptures.

 17. What was the purpose of the Forbidden City?
 It was built as the palace for emperors and their households to live in, as well as the political and ritual center of China during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

 18. Who lived in the Forbidden City?
 Fourteen emperors in the Ming Dynasty and ten emperors in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) worked and lived there with their imperial families.

 19. Which palaces did emperors live in?
 Fourteen emperors of the Ming Dynasty and two emperors of the Qing Dynasty lived in the Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qianqinggong). Eight emperors of the Qing Dynasty lived in the Hall of Mental Cultivation (Yangxindian).

 20. How many rooms are there in the Forbidden City?
 It's said that there are 9,999.5 rooms in the Forbidden City, only 0.5 less than the rooms of the Jade Emperor’s Palace in the heaven. However, according to a filed survey conducted in 1972, there are altogether 8,707 rooms in the Forbidden City.

 Further Reading
Facts & History of Forbidden City

- Last modified on Nov. 12, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on Top 20 Forbidden City FAQs
Asked by Mar Tan from PHILIPPINES | Sep. 11, 2018 02:02Reply
How long does Forbidden City take to get around?
I have a day to spend in Beijing. How long does it take to get around Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City. How many hours should I allot?
Answers (1)
Answered by Alex from NEW ZEALAND | Sep. 12, 2018 19:43

Generally, you can spend about 2 hours in Tiananmen Square and 4 to 6 hours in the Forbidden City.
Have a nice day!
Asked by Lisa from CHINA | Feb. 21, 2018 04:57Reply
Which subway line and exit should I use to access the Forbidden City?
Answers (1)
Answered by Henry from NEW ZEALAND | Feb. 21, 2018 20:02

Take line 1 and get off at Tiananmen West (exit B) ot Tiananmen East (exit A). Then you can walk for 5 minutes or around to the palace museum.
Asked by Bill from USA | May. 29, 2017 13:09Reply
Why did they have 9999 rooms inside it?
Answers (1)
Answered by Jeam | May. 29, 2017 13:11

Hi Bill, I believe it was because of the fact that the number 9 was supposedly for prosperity, and was only used by imperials.
Asked by Bodey Lassiter from UNITED KINGDOM | Nov. 20, 2016 16:04Reply
Why were common people not allowed in the Forbidden City?
Answers (1)
Answered by Rotia from CANADA | Nov. 20, 2016 20:23

In ancient China, it was the place where the emperor and his imperial family lived. To protect the safety of them, common people usually were not allowed to enter. This also is the embodiment of the social classes.
Asked by B jones from USA | Nov. 02, 2016 07:04Reply
Is the Forbidden City wheelchair accessible?
Answers (1)
Answered by Wyatt from CANADA | Nov. 02, 2016 20:50

Yes, you can tour around with the wheelchair. Don't worry. There are several convenient facilities inside the scenic area for disabled people. :)
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