Carlos Melia – Following the Emperor’s steps at The Forbidden City
One of the main highlights of my recent trip to China, was other than visiting The Great Wall of China, spending a full morning following the Emperor’s steps at The Forbidden City in Beijing. This was a Half-Day Private walking morning tour, which also included Tiananmen Square. We were picked up at our hotel, Rosewood Beijing, and driven to main gates of The Forbidden City or also known as Imperial Palace.
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty. It is located in the center of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. The Forbidden City was designed to be the centre of the ancient, walled city of Beijing. It is enclosed in a larger, walled area called the Imperial City. The Imperial City is, in turn, enclosed by the Inner City; to its south lies the Outer City.The complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 ha (180 acres). The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1987,and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.
The capital of Imperial China was off-limits from its completion in 1420, until the fall of the Last Emperor in 1911, hence its name ‘The Forbidden City’. It was home to the Emperor and his family along with thousands of imperial staff, had unique traditions, customs and rituals all designed to glorify the Emperor as ‘The Son of Heaven’. (photo above is the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the center of the Forbidden City).