Code: FC03

Forbidden City along the Eastern Route

In order to match the splendor and venerable status of a royal palace, buildings in the Forbidden City were arranged symmetrically. Leaving Qiongyuan East Gate in the southeast corner of the Imperial Garden, you will enter the six eastern palaces, which reflect the six western palaces on the west of the central axis. Visitors can admire rich exhibitions of jade, bronzes, clocks, gold and silver wares of the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), while exploring the residences of the Crown Prince and other royal family members.

Forbidden City, Beijing

Forbidden City, Beijing

After taking the East Street southward for a short while and passing through the first gate (Dacheng Gate) to your left, you will see the Palace of Accumulated Purity (Zhongcui Gong). According to the Theory of Ying and Yang as well as the Five Elements in ancient China, the east denotes to wood with the symbolic meaning of livingness and vigorousness. Therefore, the Crown Princes of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) lived in this palace as it was located in the east. In the Qing Dynasty, Empress Dowager Ci'an and Empress Longyu once lived in the palace. In 1861, Empress Dowager Cixi allied with Empress Dowager Ci'an to launch a coup to participate in state affairs behind the screen after the death of their husband, Emperor Xianfeng. Cixi had a strong desire for power, however, Ci'an, who ranked above Cixi was not very interested in power. In 1881, Ci'an suddenly died at the Palace of Accumulated Purity. It was said that she was poisoned by Cixi because she held different opinions on some state affairs. Nowadays, this palace is open to tourists with an exhibition of ancient jade articles. Jade has a very long history in China that dates back to the New Stone Age, over 8,000 years ago. As jade symbolizes auspiciousness and happiness, it was loved by emperors in ancient times. Jade reached its peak in the Qing Dynasty, especially during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. Therefore, the exhibits are all the finest art works and will certainly live up to your expectations.

Forbidden City, Beijing

Treasures Gallery in Forbidden City

The Palace of Great Brilliance (Jingyang Gong) is a few meters east of the Palace of Accumulated Purity across the Second Eastern Street. It was a residence for concubines in the Ming Dynasty and became a place to store calligraphy and paintings in the Qing Dynasty. Now the palace displays gold and silverware from ancient times, most of them having belonged to the imperial families of the Qing Dynasty. These exquisite gold and silver wares were used in daily life, ceremonies, and religion rites.

Return to the Second Eastern Street and walk southward, you can find the Palace of Celestial Favor (Chengqian Gong) to your right. In both Ming and Qing Dynasties, the emperors' concubines resided here. This palace now exhibits bronze works from ancient times. However it was closed for restoration on 10th of May, 2010 and the reopen date has not yet been announced.

Treasure Gallery in Forbidden City

Treasure Gallery in Forbidden City

Directly opposite on the other side of Second Eastern Street is the Palace of Eternal Harmony (Yonghe Gong), which houses more than 4,000 bronze mirrors from the Warring States Periods to the end of the Qing Dynasty. In ancient times, bronze mirrors were not only useful tools in daily life, but also exquisite room decorations. These precious bronze mirrors demonstrate the outstanding bronze-making technology and achievements in ancient China.

The two palaces further south are the Palace of Great Benevolence (Jingren Gong) on the west and the Palace of Prolonging Happiness (Yanxi Gong) on the east.

The Palace of Great Benevolence still keeps its original layout of the early Ming Dynasty. As soon as you enter the main gate of this palace, you will see a stone screen wall, which is said to be a relic from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Inside the palace, many rare cultural relics are exhibited.

Forbidden City

Treasure Gallery in Forbidden City

As soon as you enter the Palace of Prolonging Happiness, you will find an unfinished western-style building standing out in sharp contrast against the surrounding buildings. The original building was burnt down in 1845, and later in 1909, a western style building was put into construction here, but it was finally left unfinished due to lack of money.

When you leave the Palace of Prolonging Happiness, you have finished all the six eastern palaces. There are two more halls along the Eastern Route that deserve your attention: the Hall for Abstinence (Zhai Gong) and the Hall for Ancestral Worship (Fengxian Dian).

You can walk west from the south end of the Second Eastern Street to reach the Hall for Abstinence first. Built in 1731 during the reign of Yongzheng in the Qing Dynasty, the emperors would fast in the hall before worshiping heaven and earth. The emperors had to follow the rules of no killing, no banquet, no sexual conduct, no drinking and no meat dishes as a devotional act during their fast at this palace.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Coming out of the Hall for Abstinence and going eastward, you will soon arrive at the Hall for Ancestral Worship. With a hallway connecting the main hall in the front and the bedroom at the back, it was the royal family temple for worshipping emperors' ancestors during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Now the Hall for Ancestral Worship has been turned into Clocks and Watches Exhibition Hall, where about 200 selected foreign and Chinese clocks and watches are on display. These clocks and watches give time signals in diverse ways: some have small robots to beat drums, some play beautiful music with bells and chimes, and some have opening flowers or butterflies dancing to music. There are two presentations arranged at 11:00 and 14:00 for visitors to enjoy how the hourly chimes of these clocks and watches.

Afterwards, you can return to the main axis and walk north to the Gate of Divine Might to leave the palace.

 More Routes: 
Forbidden City along the Central Axis 
Forbidden City along the Western Route
Forbidden City along the Outer Eastern Route
 
Memorable Itinerary with Forbidden City:
Best Beijing: 4 Days to Forbidden City, Badaling Great Wall, Summer Palace...
Questions & Answers
Asked by Betty from USA | Dec. 11, 2017 04:35Reply
Beijing south train station to the airport
Hello what is the best way to get from Beijing south train station to the airport. We get there at 7:30am and our flight is 12:35

Any help is greatly appreciated!
Answers (1)
Answered by Cecilia from ITALY | Dec. 11, 2017 20:53
00Reply


I think you mean the Capital Airport?
You can take Shuttle Bus Line 2 directly to the airport. It takes about 50 minutes and CNY30.
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