Explore the Forbidden City
China › Forbidden City, Beijing, China
Added by Lucas Pols
The forbidden city is the largest palace complex in the world as well as China's largest and most well-preserved collection of ancient buildings.
The Forbidden City is the incredible palace of the Ming Dynasty. It housed the Chinese government for almost 500 years and is located in the middle of Beijing. The palace is massive and extremely unique. Visiting the palace gives you a sense of how developed the Chinese culture was even hundreds of years ago.
The entire palace covers 180 acres and will take you a few hours to get through. When you walk through the Meridian Gate, you see the Gate of Supreme Harmony directly in front of you, which opens into the Hall of Supreme Harmony.
The Hall of Supreme Harmony is the direct center of the palace. This building is one of the most visually intense parts of the complex. You can feel that at one time this truly was the center of the world. This civilization made advances in all areas before Europeans could even dream of them.
Behind the Hall of Supreme Harmony you will find the Palace of Heavenly Purity, and to the right of that, the Palace of Tranquil Longevity. Both are definitely worth visiting, and in front of the Palace of Tranquil Longevity, you will find the Nine Dragons Screen, which is also worth a look.
One final note is to make sure you visit the Imperial Garden behind the Palace of Heavenly Purity. The walk is a pleasant one, and it's quite exciting to see.
There isn’t a quota on the number of people who can visit the Forbidden City, but I happened to get there in the early afternoon and ended up waiting for around three hours in line to see it. I would advise getting there early to miss the crowds!
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Stunning for the First Time
The size of this thing is massive. It's (obviously) a must see in Beijing. My one tip would be to make sure you also look out for and explore the side passageways and courtyards which deviate off to the east and west of the main halls which tourists normally see. Some of these side courtyards are quite majestic and offer you a space to get away from the crowds. There is also now a quota for the amount of people allowed to visit each day, so try to go early.
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