Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Forbidden City / Palace Miuseum

The Forbidden City served as the Chinese Imperial Palace for twenty-four emperors, covering almost 500 years of the Ming and Qing dynasties.  This is the world's largest palace complex, spread out over 180 acres (74 hectares) in the center of Beijing, with more than 8,700 rooms.   Originally, no one could enter the Forbidden City without the express permission of the emperor, but now, we can all enter the No-Longer-Forbidden City, now also known as the Palace Museum, after a brief wait in the ticket lines.

 Entrance to the Forbidden City

 Lines to purchase entrance tickets

As soon as I enter, the first palace and grounds around it show the immense scale of this grand area. The Forbidden City is divided into an Outer Court, consisting of three major halls where the emperor held formal ceremonies, and an Inner Court, where the emperor lived and dealt with routine government business.

Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Outer Court

Hall of Central Harmony (Outer Court)

 Inside the Hall

Palace of Heavenly Purity

The visit is supplemented by technologies not available to the emperors.

Free Wifi!

In the Inner Court, many of the small palace living areas are restored for us to view.  Life in these 3-4 room palaces must have been like living in a fishbowl.

 Palace living areas in the Inner Court

Past the small palaces is the Imperial Garden for contemplation and relaxation.

 Imperial Garden

And, weary tourists resting as they near the end of their visit.

Resting a bit

As we all exit the Forbidden City to the north, through the Gate of Divine Prowess, we see a map of what we have just wandered through.

 Heading out the Gate of Divine Prowess, more tired tourists

Map of the 180 acre complex

Wow, this is a lot to take in all at once.  I only see a few parts of this incredible complex.  But, more exploration calls and I'm on my way to my next adventure across the street.

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