The Forbidden City, once off-limits to ordinary citizens and foreigners, will host a British history exhibition starting Friday.
The exhibition, named "Britain Meets the World 1714-1830," will be held at the Palace Museum in Beijing from March 9 to June 10.
The exhibition will explore Britain's engagement with the world during the Georgian period when the nation was emerging as an international power.
The three-month exhibition will showcase 111 artifacts from the British Museum, including paintings by Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael, many of which have never been exhibited outside of the British islands.
The Palace Museum will also display 13 of its own collections during the exhibition.
It is the first time the Palace Museum and the British Museum have co-curated an exhibition.
The Forbidden City, which became a museum in 1925, houses a collection of over 1.5 million artifacts, mainly from the ancient imperial court.
The labyrinthine complex, home to 24 emperors, their families and courtesans, and reputed to have 9,999 rooms, is one of China's best known icons and most popular tourist attractions. It is visited by 7 to 8 million tourists every year.
UNESCO listed the Forbidden City as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1987.
Entrance fee: 20 yuan (free for Forbidden City ticket holder)
(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2007)