Lying at the city center the forbidden city is called GU Gong in Chinese. It was the imperial palace for twenty-four emperors during the Ming and the Qing dynasties. Ancient Chinese Astronomers believed that the Purple Star Polaris was in the center of heaven and the Heavenly Emperor lived in the Purple Palace. The Palace of the emperor on earth was also called the Purple City and It was forbidden to enter without special permission of the emperor. Hence it got the name the Purple Forbidden City is simply known as the Forbidden City.
Now known as the Palace Museum, it is to the north of the Tiananmen square. Rectangular in shape, it is the world’s largest palace complex and covers seventy four hectares and it is surrounded by a fifty two meter wide moat and a ten meter high wall. With more than eight thousand seven hundred rooms. The wall has a gate on each side. Opposite the Tiananmen Gate, to the north is the Gate of Divine Might Shenwumen, which faces Jingshan Park. The distance between these two gates is nine hundred and sixty meters, while the distance between the east and west gates is seven hundred and fifty meters. There are unique and delicately structured towers on each of the four corners of the curtain wall. These afford views over both the palace and the city outside. (image by : Septimus Low)
It is divided into two parts. The southern section, or the Outer Court was where the emperor exercised his supreme power over the nation. The northern section, or the Inner Court was where he lived with his royal family. Until 1924 when the last emperor of China was driven from the Inner Court, fourteen emperors of the Ming dynasty and ten emperors of the Qing dynasty had reigned here. Having been the imperial palace for some five centuries, it houses numerous rare treasures and curiosities and the Palace Museum is now one of the most popular tourist attractions world-wide.
Construction of the palace complex began in 1407, the 5th year of the Yongle reign of the third emperor, Emperor Chengzu, Zhu DI of the Ming dynasty. It was completed fourteen years later in 1420, and then the capital city was moved from Nanjing to Beijing the next year. It was said that a million workers, including one hundred thousand artisans were driven into the long-term hard labor. Stone needed was quarried from Fangshan District, It was said that a well was dug every fifty meters along the road in order to pour water onto the road in winter to slide huge stones on ice in the city. Huge amounts of timber and other materials were freighted from faraway provinces. Since yellow is the symbol of the royal family, it is the dominant color in it. Roofs are built with yellow glazed tiles, decorations in the palace are painted yellow, even the bricks on the ground are made yellow by a special process. However, there is one exception. Wenyuange, the royal library, has a black roof. The reason is that it was believed black represented water then and could extinguish fire.(image by : Kara Korab)
Nowadays, it is open to tourists from home and abroad. Splendid painted decoration on these royal architectural wonders, the grand and deluxe halls, with their surprisingly magnificent treasures will certainly satisfy modern civilians.
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Feature image by : LvYou Ai