Travel

Forbidden City 故宫第一篇

北京故宫 · 紫禁城

I arrived at 8 eight in the morning. Swarm of tourist already packed the front gate, both locals and foreigners. I have done my homework the night before but standing here in the crowd just make me feel lost. The only distinctive feature I saw is Mao’s portrait on the huge red wall, the patriotic couplet poem, and China flags.

Forbidden City front gate
Tian An Men 天安门, Beijing Forbidden City front gate

Gates to enter Forbidden City 紫禁城门

Guided by the crowd entering the Tian An Men, inside the red wall, there you will see the front door of the palace, Duan Men 端门. Continue walking straight, here you will arrive at Wu Men 午门 The Meridian Gate. Wu Men from top view looks like 凹 this Chinese character and it’s the main gate of the palace, build on top of the palace moat 濠.

Front door of Forbidden City Beijing

After entering Wu Men, there lies the largest and famous gate of the palace, the Tai He Men 太和门, with 5 bridges connect across a drainage trench. Here the Tai-He Hall 太和殿 is where the Emperor meet his ministers for parliamentary discussions, accept pilgrimage by the ministers, hold important ceremonies and make major country announcements.

内金水河自西向东蜿蜒流过,河上横架五座石桥。明朝時,太和門是“禦門聽政”之處,皇帝在太和門接受臣下朝拜及上奏,頒佈詔令,處理政事。 清朝初年,皇帝也曾在太和門聽政、賜宴 。

This gate is so famous that it became a symbol of the majestic palace whenever it appears in movies and Chinese dramas.

Pu Yi, the last Emperor of China

The Forbidden city 紫禁城 was built in 1420 during the Yuan dynasty and lasted for 3 dynasties before China convert to republican. It’s a home for 24 emperors and all the events that had happened in the four walls remain intact to the bricks on these walls.

The Forbidden City palace complex 紫禁城
The Forbidden City palace complex 紫禁城
Tai He Men 太和门
Tai He Men 太和门

12th February 1912 marks the end of the Ching Dynasty. Pu Yi 爱新觉罗·溥仪 was the last Ching Dynasty emperor of China 清朝末代皇帝. He spent his childhood in the Forbidden Palace. March 1961, he and his colleagues went to visit the Forbidden Palace, without anybody knowing the last emperor had come to visit. He has to buy a ticket to enter his house. Throughout the tour, he had explained many unknown facts like a house owner explaining to his guest on the furniture and the paintings. A funny incident happen when he was visiting Guang Xu Emperor’s room. He realizes the portrait is not Guang Xu himself. P/S: Guang Xu Emperor had had no son, hence he succeeded the throne to his brother’s son, Pu Yi. Pu Yi then told a palace worker about this mistake, but the palace worker replied to him that this portrait examined and approved by an expert. Shortly after, the expert came over and defended the portrait. Pu Yi had no choice but to say: “Bro, this is my dad, the brother of Guang Xu Emperor, Prince Chun.” During the tour, Pu Yi sat on the Dragon Chair. He leans over, stretches his hand into the side of the chair and took out a cricket cage, his favorite toy which he had hidden a long time ago. Finally, he went into silent, recalling all the memories while this place was still his house.

Pu Yi never steps foot into the Forbidden Palace for the rest of his life after this tour. This is the one and only time that Pu Yi enters his house again after the government took over the palace.

The Dragon Chair in Bao He Dian 保和殿, The Hall of Preserving Harmony.

The Dragon Chair 龙椅 is being displayed in The Hall of Preserving Harmony – Bao He Dian 保和殿. The Hall of Preserving Harmony is one of the three halls of the Outer Court of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, along with the Hall of Supreme Harmony and Hall of Central Harmony (source from Wikipedia).

Ning Shou Palace 宁寿宫门, The Palace of Tranquil Longevity

The Wall of Nine Dragon 九龙壁

Nine 九 is the supreme number out of singular number, and five 五 is in the middle. Thus Chinese often refer to the Emperor as The Most Respectable Jiu Wu to represent imperial majesty, which leads to the tales of Nine Dragon Wall 九龙壁.

There are 4 famous Wall of Nine Dragon within China. This one located inside the Forbidden City, in the garden of Ning Shou Palace . One in the park near the palace, Beihai Park. One wall located in Ping Yao, Shan Xi. Another wall which had the longest history is located opposite Prince Datong’s palace, at Datong

  • 北京紫禁城宁寿宫区皇极门外.
  • 北京北海九龙壁.
  • 山西平遥九龙壁.
  • 大同九龙壁. 位于山西省大同市和阳街.
The Wall of Nine Dragon 九龙壁
The Wall of Nine Dragon 九龙壁
Forbidden City Palace Complex
Forbidden City Palace Complex

How to get to the Forbidden City?

If you are traveling by subway, take the underground Metro Line 1 to Tian An Men East station. Exit via Gate A or B. Be-aware not to exit Gate C and D because they are located at the opposite side of the main road.

Forbidden City Ticket Info

Foreign tourists needs to present their passport upon purchasing a ticket at the ticketing booth. For ticketing info, here is the main website of the Forbidden City: https://gugong.228.com.cn/

Forbidden City Layout
The plan view of the Forbidden City, Beijing