Also known as the Imperial Palace,
the Forbidden City contains 150,000 square meters of floor space
within an area of 720,000 square meters to constitute the largest
and most complete ensemble of traditional architecture in the world.
The most impressive buildings on
the palace ground are Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe Dian), Hall
of Central Harmony (Zhonghe Dian) and Hallof Preserving Harmony
(Baohe Dian). Viewed from afar, these palaces built on eight-metre-high
white marble foundations take on a grandeur that is almost mythological.
The Hall of Supreme Harmony, the most elegant of the three, also
known as "Hall of the Golden Throne", is the place where
grand ceremonies were held. It is 30.05 metres high, 13.96 metres
wide from east to west and 37.2 metres from north to south and its
roof is supported with 84 huge pillars, each a metre in diametre.
Six of them, decorated with gold dragons, surround the throne which
rests on a two-metre-high platform. Sculptures of divine cranes,
incense burners and tripods stand in front and a meticulously carved
screen behind. The hall is filled with priceless gold art and jewellery
on display. The Hall of Central Harmony is where emperors rehearsed
for ceremonies and took short rests before going into the Hall of
Supreme Harmony. Behind it, the Hall of Preserving Harmony is where
on Lunar New Year's Eve emperors feasted nobles of ethnic minorities.
The last two halls, built entirely of wood, have eaves covered with
Beyond the Hall of Preserving Harmony
is the inner palace. Here, Hall of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing Gong),
Hall of Union (Jiaotai Dian,) and Hall of Earthly Tranquility (Kunning
Gong) stand on the central axis and are flanked by six eastern and
six western courtyards. The inner palace is the area where emperors
conducted daily routine work and lived with their empresses and
Construction of the palace took 14 years (1406-20) during the reign
of Ming Emperor Zhu Di (r. 1402-24) and 24 emperors of the Ming
and Qing dynasties ruled the country from here. A visit to this
huge palace and its precious exhibits in various halls will help
visitors learn something of the palace life of China's emperors.
Cloud Taoist Temple
Center "Water Cube"
Stadium "Bird's Nest"