Why Was The Forbidden City Made

Historical Drivers for the Creation of the Forbidden City

The Forbidden City in Beijing is one of the most astounding pieces of architectural design and showcases the genius of traditional Chinese artistry. This impressive structure has been the political hub of China since its inception, and it has served as the imperial family’s residence since then. It was during the Ming Dynasty that the Emperor Zhu Di began to construct the palace complex and the Chang Ping Gate, in 1420. Over the next two centuries the Forbidden City would continue to grow and develop, eventually rivaling the palace complex of Versailles in its majesty. But, why was the Forbidden City special enough to be created and why was it befitting for the Emperor Zhu Di and his family?

In order to answer this question, first it is important to understand what life in China was like during the Late Middle Ages. Conflict had become a daily reality for many, and warlords would often use their privileged status to take what they wanted. At this time the power of the monarch was still deeply respected and the authority of the Emperor was strong. The construction of the Forbidden City was Zhu Di’s way of using grandeur and pomp to further demonstrate his authority and garner the respect of his people. The Forbidden City was to be a lavish display of his power and a sign of his absolute rule.

The Forbidden City was also a project of a military and strategic nature; the palace walls were designed to be resistance to siege and attack. The walls were over 18 meters high, 8.62 metres wide at the base, and 3.7 metres wide at the top. Additionally, the design of the city itself was a strategic move as it forced all other major structures such as the residences of various court officials, consulates from other countries, and temples, to remain outside its walls. The Forbidden City also held a functional aspect in its layout; the walled in palace complex was located so that the roads in and out of it for the commoners would be long, convoluted, and arduous. This would have forced visitors to carefully plan out their routes of entry and exit when approaching the emperor and would have meant that anyone who had travelled this distance would have been deeply invested in the proceedings.

Finally, the Forbidden City served as an architectural and artistic symbol of the Ming Dynasty and its rulers in China. Zhu Di called upon the best experts in painting, architecture, engineering, music, and sculpture to create this magnificent palace. They used bright colour glazes and yellow tiles to decorate the city walls, making the Forbidden City stand out even more and to demonstrate the strength and splendor of Chinese art.

Intellectual Viewpoint on the Intent of the Forbidden City

From an intellectual viewpoint the Forbidden City represents a philosophical approach to understanding human behaviour; a conscious attempt to establish a relationship between architecture and the human existence. It’s an attempt to balance between aesthetic beauty and the human condition. The Forbidden City was designed to lead to harmony and peace between the inhabitants and the world, between the emperor and his subjects, and between the gods and the humans. The Imperial Palace was designed to be a visual representation of order, security, balance, and balance.

The construction of the Forbidden City was also rooted in philosophical beliefs. Confucianism, the prevailing ideology of the time, helped to shape the design of the city and the importance its occupants would place in it. Confucianism believed that the emperor’s authority should be respected and that there should be a clear power structure within the palace. The walled-in complex of the Forbidden City provided this sense of security and authority and made it clear that the palace was only for the imperial family and their court.

In essence, the Forbidden City integrates the ideals of Confucianism and the aesthetics of traditional Chinese art and architecture with a highly effective military strategy to demonstrate the power, might, and authority of the Ming Dynasty’s rulers.

Modern Implications of the Forbidden City

The Forbidden City is a very important symbol of the Chinese people; it serves as a reminder of the nation’s past and a reminder of the greatness it has achieved. The Forbidden City’s intricate design and grandiose features demonstrate the immense cultural, political, and economic power of the Chinese people at that time, and also serves to remind them of the hardships they went through in order to create this beautiful testament to human ingenuity and craftsmanship.

Today, the Forbidden City serves as an attraction for tourists who want to learn more about Chinese history, culture and to marvel at its grandeur. In 1987, the Forbidden City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it currently get over 16 million visitors annually.

The Forbidden City stands to this day as a symbol of Chinese resilience and might, and as a reminder of the past. Its monumental design, gargantuan size and its intricate architecture have made it one of the greatest achievements of the Chinese people and a symbol of Chinese ingenuity and craftsmanship.

Environmental Impact of the Forbidden City

The Forbidden City is a lasting evidence of the impact of human activity on the environment and gives an insight into the plight of conservation and sustainability. In the past, the area surrounding the Forbidden City was a thriving piece of land full of trees, grass, and other vegetation. Over the years the area has been gradually wiped away as a result of urban development and the introduction of large amounts of construction materials. This has had a significant impact on the local environment, with animal life and vegetation in the surrounding area being wiped out and replaced by concrete structures. As a result, air quality has diminished significantly, leading to adverse health effects for those living and working in the area.

The Chinese government, in recent years, has taken steps to address this issue and has introduced regulations that limit the amount of pollution caused by construction and urban development. Additionally, they have also implemented planting schemes to reintroduce vegetation to the area and to restore some of the damage that has been done. However, it is true that construction and urban development in China still continues to heavily impact the environment, but it is clear that a lot has been done to lessen the impact and to make sure that the Forbidden City will last to inspire us for centuries to come.

Social & Cultural Significance of the Forbidden City

The Forbidden City is much more than a physical structure; its grandeur and art have made it a place of great cultural and social significance in Chinese history. It gave the Chinese people a bright beacon of hope in troubled times and its architectural splendor has been celebrated for centuries. It was a symbol of unity, magnificence, and strength and it showed that the Ming Dynasty had control of the entire country. In a time of great turmoil and unrest, the Forbidden City showed that the Chinese people could stand up to their invaders. This sentiment has been carried over to modern day, where the Forbidden City has become a beacon of hope for the Chinese people and a reminder of the great achievements the nation has made.

Additionally, the Forbidden City serves as a symbol of Chinese culture. Its wise construction and intricate details point to the intelligence and refinement of the Chinese people and their society. The Forbidden City speaks to the Chinese people’s respect for tradition, their commitment to excellence, and their commitment to understanding the importance of history. It also provides a reminder that society must be designed in a way that fosters unity and strength and helps to ensure that the nation will thrive for centuries to come.


The Forbidden City is a historically significant architectural masterpiece that has stood for centuries as a reminder of the Chinese people’s bravery, ingenuity and craftsmanship. Over the years its walls have displayed the strength of the Ming Dynasty, its rulers and its people. The palace complex unifies aesthetic beauty with philosophical and military strategy, providing a balanced approach to understanding human behaviour and relationships. Its cultural and environmental significance cannot be overlooked as it serves as a reminder of the ever shrinking natural world. Lastly, the Forbidden City is a symbol of the aspect of Chinese culture and a place of reflection of the great achievements of the nation.

Herman Shaw is a passionate traveler and avid photographer who has seen many of the world's most awe-inspiring monuments. He has developed expertise in various aspects of world architecture and culture which he enjoys sharing with his readers. With deep historical knowledge and insight, Herman's writing brings life to these remarkable artifacts and highlights their importance in the grand scheme of human history.

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