Located in the centre of the Chinese capital, Beijing – the forbidden city remains an iconic element in Chinese history.
Built by an approximate 1 million labourers for 14 years from 1406 to 1420, consisting of 980 buildings, over 9000 rooms that cover 720,000 square meters making it the world’s largest imperial palace.
A visit to China would never be complete without a visit to one of the most visited sites in the World – which is not totally forbidden as its name claims, the name is translated from the Chinese word “紫禁城“, which literally means “Purple Forbidden City”.
Declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1987 for preserving the ancient world in this present age.
Here are some facts about why visiting China should be on your list this summer:
The Forbidden City has 14 million visitors annually, so you too can add to that number. Every year during spring ( April – May) and autumn (September – October) people visit the city with the majority visiting during summer from (June – August) and experience ancient China.
A masterpiece of Chinese architecture, culture, and heritage, the forbidden city was home to the Chinese Emperors, their families, staff and government officials. It was occupied by emperors from Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is one of the most significant symbols of the ancient Chinese government.
The detail of its architecture is mind-blowing. Every detail meticulously featuring traditional Chinese architecture. Bar the Donghua Gate ‘East Glory’ Gate, all gates in the Forbidden City are decorated with a nine-by-nine array of gilded door-studs. All the doors have 81 nails, that is 9 rows of 9 nails each. Nine implies supremacy and eternity in typical Chinese culture. The Donghua Gate has only 8 rows. Since coffins were also carried through this gate, the number of nails needed to be an even number.
You can visit the Forbidden City without a visa! The Beijing area became 144-hour visa-free in 2017 for 49 European countries,6 American countries, 6 Asian countries, two Oceania countries with tourists taking advantage of the opportunity to spend 6 days in the capital city. Africans, can, however, visit with a tourist visa.
90% of the roofs are finished with glazed yellow tiles. Yellow was the official colour of Chinese Emperors which stands for respect. Pillars, windows, doors, and walls are mostly red which symbolizes happiness and celebrations, popular with the Chinese.
A Forbidden City trip is not complete without a visit to Jingshan Park – a few minutes’ walks from the Forbidden City’s exit where you can enjoy a hilltop view of the whole complex.