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? / How Many Rooms are there in 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). The folk legend says that there are totally 9999.5 rooms in Forbidden City. According to the latest counting, now Forbidden City has 9,371 rooms.

 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.

 See more
Forbidden City Architecture

Layout of Forbidden City - Outer Court and Inner Court in Perfect Axisymmetry

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.

 See more: Forbidden City Opening Hours

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 Forbidden City built?
 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

What is the Forbidden City famous for? 

Are there Toilets in the Forbidden City?

- Last updated on Dec. 14, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Top 20 Forbidden City FAQs
Asked by Joseph D Kelley from UNITED STATES | Apr. 28, 2020 15:20Reply
It says that there are 9999.5 rooms at Forbidden City. How did they figure in a half room?
Answers (1)
Answered by Aaliyah from CANADA | May. 06, 2020 00:16

Since ancient times, there is a folk legend that the Forbidden City has 9999.5 rooms in total. However, based on the latest counting, Forbidden City has 9,371 rooms, not the legendary 9,999.5 but very close.
Asked by mei from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 12, 2020 03:56Reply
exit from the forbidden city
Where is the exit from the North exit along the central axis?

Where is the nearest subway station near the north exit.

Answers (1)
Answered by Gary from THAILAND | Jan. 13, 2020 18:49

The nearest subway station is National Art Museum Of China (line 8), 1.2km away from North exit.
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.
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