The Forbidden City (Imperial Palace) in the heart of Beijing is the largest and most complete imperial palace and ancient building complex in China, and the world at large. Its construction began in 1406 and was completed 14 years later, having a history so far of some 580 years. Twenty-four emperors from the Ming and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties lived and ruled China from there. Most of the buildings in the Forbidden City were rebuilt many times, although they maintained the original architectural style.
The buildings of the Forbidden City fully embody the artistic features and style of ancient Chinese palace architecture, and can be called a masterpiece in Chinese, even world, architectural history. Today, as the largest museum of cultural relics in China, the Forbidden City, also called the Palace Museum, collected and displayed some one million precious historical relics from the Shang Dynasty (16th century -771 BC) through to the Qing Dynasty. It was made part of the world cultural heritage list in 1987.
(Map of the Forbidden City)
1. At Meridian Gate, visitors can rent a guide tape in different languages with a player, which introduces the history and architecture of the palace. The tape and player can be returned at the north gate of the Palace Museum.
2. Don't forget to visit the Jingshan (Coal Hill) Park, on the opposite of the palace's north gate, from where you can see the splendid layout of the palace.
Opening hours: 8:00-16:00 (May-September); 8:30-15:30 (October-April);
Entry ticket: 60 yuan/person (busy season), 40 yuan/person (slow season);
Some of the museums have additional charges;
How to get there: Subways: Line 1: get down at Tian'anmen East, Loop Line: get down at Qianmen; Bus No. 1, 4, 5, 10, 20, 22, 52, 57, 802; It is within walking distance from Wangfujing, Xidan or Qianmen.
(China.org.cn May 24, 2007)