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Friday, January 24, 2014

BEIJING - WHAT IS THE FORBIDDEN CITY? - 1ST POST OF OUR CHINA PROJECT



"The Palace, popularly known as the Forbidden City is certainly the most wonderful building in Beijing. 

The dark pink walls, the orange pagoda roofs , the emerald green decorations and the white stone sculptures are a wonderful mix producing an effect of majesty I have never experienced visiting any other royal or imperial palace around the world".


What is the Forbidden City?

The Forbidden City is one of the most impressive places in China.

The Forbidden City is the Imperial Palace in Beijing, although it is famous as The Forbidden City.

The Forbidden City is with the Great Wall one of the most emblematic monuments of the whole China and certainly it deserves to open our China Exploring Project (if you haven't read about our project please click here to read.

This amazing monument, that you have probably seen in Bernardo Bertolucci's movie "The Last Emperor", starring Peter O'Toole, is not just interesting because of its beauty but because with its symbolism represents a great part of Chinese culture, tradition, art and history.

Visiting the Forbidden City you feel all the grandness of a country that dominated the Asian history and the scientific, cultural and technological progress for centuries. 

It is a great fascinating contrast with the modern Chinese buildings and skyscrapers.






What is to see in the Forbidden City?

Wondering in the different courtyards and imagining how the should have looked in the eyes of the people of the XV century you can easily understand the importance and the semidivinity status the Emperor enjoyed.

No wonder the huge Tienanmen Square, symbol of the contemporary Communist power, is situated just in front of the Forbidden City. Not casually Chairman Mao Zedong famous speech that started the Cultural Revolution in China was pronounced from the large gate of the Forbidden City.

Instead than making a boring description of the palace, that you can find in every book and in every site on Internet, I want just to give you some keys to understand it when you will visit it, in person or maybe just through our photos this marvelous monument, see the questions below.





Why the forbidden city so big?

The Forbidden City was the Imperial Palace for twenty-four emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It was first built throughout 14 years during the reign of Emperor Chengzu  in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It represent the strength and the richness of one of the biggest empires in history.


Why its walls are purple?

The purple was the color of the the Polar Star (Polaris) according with the old Chinese astronomers. The Polar Star was believed to be in the Central of Heaven. Because the Forbidden City is the house of the heavenly Emperor on heart its color had to be purple.


And why its roof and decoration are yellow?

Yellow is the color of the Imperial family, in the honour of the Imperial family the roof is yellow.


Why the Imperial Palace is called The Forbidden City?

One time few people were admitted in Palace. So for most of the people the entrance was forbidden. And the ones who entered illegally...  were beheaded!

Why the huge portrait of Mao Zedong at the front gate?

To commemorate the Chinese leader and his speech in front of Tienanmen Square





And finally some tips you may find useful to visit the Forbidden City...

1) Allow a full day to visit the Forbidden City. Some people dismiss the Palace saying its only a series of large courtyards, one similar to the others.

2) Bring some food with you. The restaurant inside is not as great as advertised.

3) Don't visit the Forbidden City in a Monday as the Forbidden City closes in the afternoon and you don't have enough time to visit it.

4) Try to admire the large courtyards not just from the middle, but from the corners of the large squares as this would give you a very different prospective (as you see in the photos in this page).

5) Visit the Forbidden City as the first monument in Beijing and possibly in China. This will help you to acquire a better insight and prospective about the city and the entire country.

6) Hire an official guide. It is the best way to understand this marvel.

7) Visit also The Summer Palace in Beijing if you want to have a deeper understanding of the Imperial Chinese life (we will visit on this site too)






Are you interested in China or are you planning to travel to China?


Read my page My China Project where you can find the list of all of my posts and the destinations covered in this blog in China.

Read also the page Visit China and the page What to know before to travel to China.


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