Location and Map of the Forbidden City in Beijing
The Forbidden City, or the Emperor’s Palace, is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Beijing and the entire country of China. It is located in the city core of Beijing, where the ‘inner city’ is sited in the central region of the capital. A map will show that it lies almost horizontally at the center, just south of the city’s world-famous Tiananmen Square. The palace, the largest and best preserved of the old imperial palaces, is surrounded by a wall that measures 10 meters in height and is approximately 9,000 meters in circumference. The palace is made up of an outer court, the central part, and an inner court. Inside the walls is a complex and intricate maze of palaces, gardens, shrines and imperial quarters.
The Forbidden City marks the center of Beijing in all its directions. Though the city has grown over time and the palace had to make way for the expansion of administrative areas, the structure of the Forbidden City’s grounds has remained largely unchanged since its original construction in 1420, during the Ming dynasty. The Forbidden City is open to public viewing very year and has become a significant part of China’s national heritage, as well as one of the most important cultural sites in the world.
History and Evolution of the Forbidden City
The Forbidden City was built with a purpose of being the heart of Imperial power and home to the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. It was built over the course of about two decades, starting in 1406. Since the city was considered sacred, it was forbidden for any common people to enter the inner palace and grounds. For this, a tall wall was built around the city, marking it as an exclusive and forbidden area. Over time, the palace was expanded with many ornate halls, chambers, gates and pavilions, and it finally acquired the complex and intricate character it has today.
The palace was damaged in the mid-17th century during the invasion by the Manchu Qing dynasty, but it was soon restored and renovated and continued to be a home of the Chinese emperors until the 20th century. After the collapse of the Qing dynasty and during the first decades of the Republic of China, the palace complex remained a fortified area, later becoming a museum in 1925. In 1961, the Forbidden City was declared a National Heritage Site, and in 1987, it was included in UNESCO’s list of World Cultural Heritage sites.
Architecture and Layout of the Forbidden City
The Forbidden City covers 74 hectares of land, divided into two parts: the Outer Court and the Inner Court. The former was reserved for ceremonial courts, and the latter had a variety of imperial quarters and chambers with their own distinct functions. The architecture is a blend of classical Chinese, Mongolian and Tibetan styles. The city was designed in a symmetrical way with four gateways, three large halls and numerous other pavilions arranged in four main courtyards lined up along a north-south axis. Inside, a series of moats, walls and gates serve to define the boundaries of the palace and its internal structure.
The Forbidden City also features a series of gardens and parks, a lake and other architectural wonders, the most popular among them being the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Preserving Harmony, the Hall of Central Harmony, and the Hall of Military Eminence. The buildings in the Forbidden City are exquisitely decorated with carvings, paintings and sculptures, as well as a variety of bronze and stone objects.
Significance of the Forbidden City
The Forbidden City has been a symbol of imperial power and grandeur for centuries and has thus held a particular appeal for visitors from all over the world. It ranks alongside the Great Wall of China and Beijing’s Summer Palace as one of the most important sites in Beijing and a must-see spot for travelers to the capital. It also serves as an important cultural and historical reference point, as well as a reminder that the city was once a powerful center of power and the heart of the Chinese empire.
Today, tourism is a major factor in the preservation and growth of the Palace, and it is open to the public during certain hours of the day. It houses several museums and attractions, including a small opera house, and it is quite common to witness various activities taking place in the courtyard and around the walls. The palace grounds also feature a variety of restaurants and souvenir shops, as well as many small stores offering local handicrafts.
Cost and Fees for Tourists Visiting the Forbidden City
Admission fees to enter the museum and the palace can vary depending on which sections of the palace you decide to visit. Prices range from 10-20 RMB (1.50-3 USD) for adult entry, depending on the season and the sections visited. The full ticket will give access to all sections, interactive activities and exhibitions. Discounts are available for senior citizens, students, and children under 1.4 meters (4.5ft). Special group discounts are also offered.
The Forbidden City has become one of the most eminent sites of Beijing and a constant reminder of the power and grandeur of Chinese history. The city has been carefully preserved over the years and remains an exemplar of Chinese culture and architecture. Exploring the grounds of the Forbidden City offers a unique insight into Chinese imperial life, and the palace grounds are the ideal place to get an authentic experience of the heart and soul of the Chinese capital.
Other Attractions Near the Forbidden City
The Forbidden City is located in the very center of Beijing and is surrounded by many other significant tourist attractions. Nearby sites include the Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, the Grand Canal and the Panjiayuan Antique Market, among many others. All these sites offer a unique insight into Chinese culture, and they can be explored and experienced in a single day or over multiple visits.
Apart from the sites listed above, one can also explore the many side streets in the area and find a wide range of restaurants and other services. The area surrounding the Forbidden City also offers a unique insight into Chinese culture as well as an experience that cannot be found in other cities.
Transportation Around the Forbidden City
The Forbidden City is easily accessible from any part of the city, making it convenient to visit. Public transportation options such as the subway, buses and free shuttle services are available for tourists to reach the palace. Taxis are also a convenient and fast option. The nearest subway station is located just a few minutes away from the Forbidden City, and the line runs directly to Tiananmen Square and other major sites in the city.
Accomodations Near the Forbidden City
A wide range of accommodation options are available near the Forbidden City. There are budget hotels and hostels that are located very close to the palace, as well as more luxurious hotels throughout the city. Most accommodations offer a variety of services, such as complimentary Wi-Fi, air conditioning and 24-hour reception services. Visitors planning to stay in Beijing for a longer period of time can find a host of short-and long-term accommodations.
The Forbidden City is a unique experience for both visitors and Beijing locals alike. It is a reminder of a powerful and prosperous past, and it is a must-see for anyone looking to explore the heart of the city. With so many attractions, accommodation options and transportation options in the surrounding area, it’s easy to access and explore the Forbidden City and get a taste of true Chinese culture and history.