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The Forbidden City – Listed on the Guinness Book of World Records

The iconic Meridian Gate entrance to the Forbidden City in Beijing, a symbol of imperial power.

The Forbidden City is the name given to a palace complex in central Beijing, China. It is now a world-famous tourist attraction, well known for its unbelievably large land area, and medieval architecture. It harbors the famous Palace Museum of China.

Neither is it forbidden nor is it a city!

Why was the Forbidden City built?

It was built as a residence for Emperors and their families. Though it also played the role of a central political and ceremonial center in China during the mighty Ming and Qing dynasties.

"Panoramic view of the expansive Forbidden City, showcasing traditional Chinese architecture and red walls.
Marvel at the panoramic view of the Forbidden City, a sprawling complex that epitomizes traditional Chinese architecture.

Who built the Forbidden City?

Building this place was started under Emperor Chengzu of the Ming Dynasty. After he suddenly thought of moving the capital to Beijing, upon his ascend to the throne in 1402.

Laborers, artisans, engineers and architects took 14 long years to get this magnificent palace complex designed and constructed. It was built from 1406 to 1420. Since then, it has been home to 24 of China’s Emperors.

Why is the Forbidden City forbidden?

As of now, it is not forbidden, but it used to be in the past. Common people were prohibited from entering the palace complex without permission, and only imperial families and relations, along with invited officials, were allowed entry. So you are lucky to have been born into this era.

Ancient artifacts and imperial treasures on display inside the Palace Museum of the Forbidden City.
Discover a treasure trove of ancient artifacts and imperial relics inside the Palace Museum at the Forbidden City.

The meaning of numbers in the Forbidden City

Numbers play a special role in the architecture of this monument. The key to this originates from the philosophy of Yin and Yang. The Yang is the opposite of Yin and is not the male element associated with the emperor, but also the element of odd numbers.

Thus, the numbers three, five and seven are found particularly often in the architecture of the Forbidden City.

For example, five marble bridges lead across the Golden Water, three terraces support the three halls of harmony. In total, the Forbidden City is said to have 9999 rooms. And since nine times nine is supposed to bring special luck, many doors have 81 brass knobs.

Is there a best time to visit the Forbidden City?

The ideal time is from late March up to early June as well as from late August to early November. The goal is to avoid vacations and public holidays so that you get to face a considerably lesser crowd.

The iconic Meridian Gate entrance to the Forbidden City in Beijing, a symbol of imperial power.
Step through the Meridian Gate, the majestic entrance to the Forbidden City, and experience the grandeur of China’s imperial past.

How to get to the Forbidden City?

The only possible way of entry is from the Meridian Gate. You can easily get there by subway or a bus from around the city. Talking of the tickets, you can purchase them online as well as on the spot. For on-spot purchase of Forbidden City tickets, don’t forget to bring your passport along with you. The exhibits of the Treasure Gallery and the Clock and Watch Gallery demand additional tickets.

Make sure to visit this area with a local guide – Not only will that bring the place to live, but also save you from the crowd.

Some spicy Facts about the Forbidden City

Planning a visit to Beijing? Here are some lesser-known Forbidden City facts:

According to estimates, it took over a million laborers to construct this humongous palace complex!

This area is the largest imperial palace in the whole world and thus holds a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The complex harbors a total of 8,728 rooms distributed in 980 buildings!

It is spread over an area of unbelievable180 acres!

According to theories, the Majestic Outer Court is completely devoid of trees for a reason – It would ensure that assassins get no place to hide and the family lives happily ever after

The beautifully preserved interiors of the Forbidden City, revealing insights into ancient Chinese royalty.
Delve into the beautifully preserved interiors of the Forbidden City, offering a glimpse into the life of ancient Chinese royalty.

Where to stay when visiting the Forbidden City?

Depending on your preference you might find below the most recommended places to stay.

Beijing Downtown Travelotel: If you are on a budget this is a perfect base with good value for money and see what the “real” Beijing is like.

The PuXuan Hotel and Spa: A modern Chinese style hotel which provides exceptional luxury amenities to relax after a long day visiting the Forbidden City.

Hotel Cote Cour Beijing:  A very nice boutique hotel, furniture with old-world charm upscale Hutong style. We liked the rooftop terrace very much.

Conrad Beijing: For a high-end luxury stay, this brand new hotel will elevate your China experience to higher levels.

The UNESCO acknowledges it as the world’s largest assemblage of preserved antique and ancient wooden structures. As of 1987, the Forbidden City was finally declared as a World Heritage Site.

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